Cookies are more than a baked treat to Christine Walsh. She sees them as almost magical; a treat that can take you back in time, warm your soul, sweeten hard days and even create a better, more equitable world.
Christine harnesses the power of cookies today as co-founder of Majik, an Oregon-based producer of fine THC-infused edibles. She created Majik in 2017 with her husband, Jason Tinsley. Together, they have hand-made more than 200,000 small-batch cookies with cannabutter, high-end ingredients like pure Tahitian vanilla and a lot of love.
Racial and gender gaps persist
Christine is an Indigenous Hawaiian and is blazing trails in an industry dominated by white men. Women own just 20% of cannabis businesses in the United States, according to a report by MJBizDaily. Indigenous people own even less: between 0.4% and 2.5% of cannabis businesses.
Christine faced roadblocks as an indigenous woman launching and sustaining a business. She came close to closing Majik’s doors in the fall of 2021 when shifts in the cannabis market made it nearly impossible to compete. But she didn’t give up.
Helping diverse entrepreneurs grow their cannabis businesses
She saw a news story about an Oregon-based organization called NuProject helping diverse entrepreneurs grow their cannabis businesses with funding, financial coaching, and network connections. NuProject has funded more than $2.33 million in loans and grants and delivered nearly 2,000 hours of entrepreneur coaching to a network of 135 founders to date.
Christine called NuProject’s executive director, Jeannette Ward, and laid her heart on the table. “Jeannette picked me up, brushed me off, and said, ‘Let's talk about it,” Christine recalled. Christine and Jason received an economic justice grant from NuProject, which they credit for saving their company.
Love Camp for diverse founders
She went on to attend NuProject’s Love Camp for Founder Wellness, an all-expenses-paid wellness retreat for Black, Brown and female founders. The retreat is a curated wellness experience for diverse founders to be coached and connected with mentors and funders.
Christine met Joy Hudson and Marissa Rodriguez at the retreat. They had recently co-founded Nimble, an Oregon wholesale cannabis distribution company and served as mentors at the retreat.
“Love Camp exists to bring people together and create an ecosystem for connection, and it couldn’t have happened without Joy and Marissa,” Jeannette said. “Nimble’s ongoing financial support has made Love Camp possible. And the beautiful partnership that evolved organically between Majik and Nimble starting with a connection at camp is exactly why we do it.”
Building reparations into the bottom line
Beyond mentorship, Nimble has donated nearly $75,000 to NuProject (and counting) as reparation for the harm done by the war on drugs to communities of color. It directs 50 cents of every pack of KITES sold to NuProject. KITES, Nimble’s flagship brand, is a 10-pack of pre-rolls sourced from producers who share the company’s values. “We’ve built reparations and giving into our cost of goods schedule from day one, allowing NuProject to receive a reliable line of funding and us to make a tangible impact,” Marissa said.
Growing an ecosystem for a better world
Joy and Marissa’s connection with Christine was instantaneous, and Nimble began distributing Majik’s products in October of 2022.
Joy and Marissa refer to their partnership with Majik and NuProject as an ecosystem building a better, more equitable world. “Partnering with Majik is this really perfect completion of our global vision for Nimble of doing well and doing good,” Joy said.
With Nimble and NuProject’s support, Christine and Jason are creating new and innovative cannabis edibles, including plans to unveil a shortbread THC-infused cookie later this year. Boasting a longer shelf life, Majik’s shortbread will be the first of its kind in the United States, solving long standing issues around THC-infused baked goods.
“Everything has turned around for us in the short time we've worked with Nimble and NuProject,” Christine said. “They’ve been there to save us, support us and now they’re helping us grow.”
Majik is poised to grow as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently recommended cannabis be reclassified as a Schedule III controlled substance, allowing Christine and Jason to sell their cookies nationwide.
“Exporting our products outside of Oregon will allow us to spread the magic we’ve created with Nimble and NuProject to a broader audience,” Christine said. “Women, Black and Brown communities will see that together, we can forge our industry forward and create the space we want and the world we envision.” Now that's magic.