Jeannette Ward Horton
Title: Executive director
As vice president of global marketing and communications, Jeannette Ward Horton has helped MJ Freeway become one of the largest cannabis technology companies in the world with clients in 11 countries, but her time in the industry has also allowed her to pursue another passion as the executive director of the NuLeaf Project, “an organization that is focused on solving the capital, education and connection hurdles that cannabis entrepreneurs of color face when entering the cannabis industry.”
“Our goal is to increase success outcomes for cannabis entrepreneurs of color,” Horton says.
The Oregon-based nonprofit received the nation’s first direct investment of municipal taxes into the communities harmed most by the War on Drugs. In January 2019, using money received from the city of Portland, the NuLeaf Project awarded $30,000 in grants to two minority-owned businesses — Green Box and Green Hop.
“Because Oregon is known for being very white, people in the beginning were skeptical that we weren’t going to find cannabis businesses owned by people of color to fund, but that has proven to be unfounded,” Horton says. “We’ve had over a 300% return on investment with these businesses. That, in itself, to me, is a huge milestone — that it wasn’t just a photo of a check. We have real results in dollars and cents.”
Horton says NuLeaf Project’s next milestone will be repeating this year’s accomplishments.
“It’s a big deal,” she says. “Hopefully people are hearing about our success over here and doing this in other places.”