The first Latina-owned cannabis retail to open through the city's Cannabis Equity Program.
On October 9, 2020, STIIIZY had its fourth flagship store open in the heart of Union Square in San Francisco by the city’s first Latina to be accepted through the city’s Cannabis Equity Program: Cindy De La Vega.
De La Vega started from humble beginnings: having lived her life in the Sunnydale Housing Projects which is considered one of San Francisco’s most dangerous, run-down areas in the city. Throughout all of her trials and tribulations, she has become San Francisco’s first Latina woman to own a cannabis retail store through the city’s Cannabis Equity Program.
San Francisco’s Cannabis Equity Program is designed to help lower barriers and create business opportunities for those negatively impacted by the War on Drugs. De La Vega is using her life experience and knowledge to run the STIIIZY Union Square location while also helping create new pathways for those who have been locked out of the city’s prosperity circle.
Choosing STIIIZY as her first cannabis retail was an easy pick since she saw herself reflected not only in the employees, but in the leadership roles of Shryne Group as well (having 51% LatinX/several women in leadership positions etc.).
“When you look at the people doing something, if you don't see yourself, you think, this is not for me. That’s true for people of color like me, and it’s true for women.” Said De La Vega. “When I walk into a room and it’s all guys, it’s so easy for me to cut myself short and think there’s no path for me here. But that’s something I have an opportunity to help change, to be one of [many] women [who are] letting the next generation know there is a place for them here.”
Having a Latina-owned cannabis store matters, especially in the heart of San Francisco. She is a beacon of hope to those who grew up in similar if not same situations and shows that they too can pave a career in a male-dominate field, especially within the cannabis industry. Some industry experts even suggest that more competitive markets favor businesses with men in ownership/leadership positions (Eli McVey).
Both Cindy De La Vega and STIIIZY hope to change this.