Brad Bogus

Black History Year - Jeanette and Jesce Horton - NuLeaf Project and LOWD

There are very few true power couples in the cannabis industry. However, if you had to compile a list, you’d likely have Jeanette and Jesce Horton right at the top. They both exude that energy Beyonce tapped into with these lines about Jay Z and herself: “You might just be a Black Bill Gates in the making. I might just be a Black Bill Gates in the making!”

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Jeanette’s background spans 15 years running communications and marketing at Fortune 100 companies, including Coca-Cola, before joining the cannabis industry in 2015 as VP of Marketing at MJ Freeway for 3 years. 

Since then, she founded the NuProject (formerly NuLeaf Project, with her husband Jesce) to help repair the economic impact of the criminal injustice system on Black families by stewarding state funds destined for new social equity licensees.

Social equity business owners all appreciate the advice, guidance, tools, and assets provided to them through various state and industry programs. But what they ask for over and over again is cash money. They need capital. Bottom line. Unfortunately, most find themselves with very few investors and very little money available from the state to support their entrepreneurship.

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That’s where Jeanette and NuProject step in. From inception, this organization has focused on putting capital into the hands of social equity businesses. They do that as well as providing mentorship and access to tools and resources. This was the vision from jump, and it aligns exactly with the story Jesce tells of his life and business needs when getting started in cannabis.

Jesce’s family was impacted by the War on Drugs when his father was arrested and served 7 years for under an ounce of weed. He was at the height of his career and all of that growth and ability to generate wealth was suppressed by those 7 long years. Even still, Jesce was lucky; his father was able to save up enough to give him a small boost of under $50k to start his business.

Very few families in similar situations have this good fortune, if you can call losing that many years of your life to prison for less than a zip good fortune.

Jesce wanted to reclaim the economic opportunities taken from his family when recreational cannabis was legalized in Oregon, and in 2019 founded LOWD. The company was originally backed by all Black investors, a VERY RARE thing in our industry. 

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Since then, LOWD has become a multi-million dollar cannabis brand. Jesce is also working on Ben’s Best, a collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s, and through NuProject has given $1 million in grants and 0% loans to Black cannabis entrepreneurs. Jesce also helped create the Minority Cannabis Business Association, an organization still growing to this day, that has touched the lives of so many amazing figures we have profiled and will continue to profile in this series over the coming months. 

Follow Jeanette (LinkedIn, Instagram) and Jesce (LinkedIn, Instagram), they’re doing the real work.