Derrick Gibbs and his mother have already opened two Budr Cannabis locations in Connecticut. They also plan to open at least four other locations, CT Insider reported.
Gibbs started making plans for the business shortly after the state legalized Cannabis. The Connecticut businessman first applied for the state’s social equity cannabis program in order to get his venture started. However, Gibbs learned that he may not qualify for the program because he earns too much money. At the same time, Gibbs thought he could qualify for the program because he grew up in a neighborhood that was considered to be impacted by the war on drugs.
“I qualified for it in terms of the neighborhood that I grew up in my entire life, but on an income standpoint, I did not qualify,” Gibbs told CT Insider.
The cannabis entrepreneur turned to his family because he needed somebody who meets Connecticut’s social equity requirements.
“Each of the social equity applicants are family members of mine, those being my mother, her sisters and my cousins,” Gibbs said. “My mom still lives in the house she grew up in as a child.”
Gibbs also needed financial partners. That’s why he connected with attorney Andy Glassman, who helped him find the resources he needed.
“We take great pride in knowing that this was not just a file for us. We didn’t just say, ‘Oh, it’s a business opportunity.’ We said, ‘We can help you put the pieces together that you need. We can counsel you on the law and we can make connections for you in the community,'” Glassman told CT Insider. “For us, the fact that we’ve now created this amazingly successful operation that looks like it really has a lot of wind at its back … We take a lot of pride in that.”
Prior to starting his business, Gibbs was opposed to cannabis use. He was especially apprehensive because he felt that marijuana could lead to addiction.
“I ran and still do today, a home health care company that provides services to elderly and disabled folks,” Gibbs said. “We have a pretty large mental health population and one of the things that our mental health population typically suffer from is addiction issues to alcohol or narcotics.”
Gibbs, however, gained a different perspective after attending a seminar where he learned about how cannabis is used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I thought that was very fascinating, because a lot of the patients that I service under my home health care company suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, isolation,” he said. “I think that was what got me over the edge of saying, ‘I think this is a good product and I think it provides a lot of value.'”
Now, together with his family, Gibbs is determined to make a difference with his business.
“What we have been desperately trying to do is figure out ways that we can support these communities through the resources that we now have,” he said