Breaking Down Barriers: Kema Ogden talks overcoming challenges, misconceptions while pioneering her way in the cannabis business

Breaking Down Barriers

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — August is National Black Business Month, so being a patron of black businesses during its celebrated month is just one way to support the black community.

Kema Ogden is one local businesswoman continuing to make her way as a local pioneer in a new industry that is thriving in southern Nevada. Ogden owns Top Notch: The Health Center, making her one of the only Black female owners in the cannabis industry. She’s also the only owner in Nevada who has any equity in it.

“I think the common misconception is unorganized, cheap, ghetto, and that we are not professional,” Ogden said while listing the misconceptions people have about Black people. “It’s really far from the truth. A lot of times, we have to be more on top of things than anybody else.”

Meaning, often Black people find themselves having to be twice as good as our counterparts to be successful.

“You have to be twice as knowledgeable, more prepared,” she said. “As a woman in general, in a world of male executives, you already have to do that, but as a minority – it takes it even up a notch.”

Hence, why Kema Ogden’s business is Top Notch.

“This industry was built on the backs of minorities.
It was something that we’ve been doing since the beginning of time since we were working the land; [we’ve] always been involved in different industries, and we really don’t get the justice when it comes to being able to be involved in the industry when it finally materializes. The war on drugs incarcerates minority people more than 10 times more than their counterparts.”

Much like that classic 80s sitcom “Cheers,” Top Notch is the local dispensary where everybody knows your name.

“We’re like a big family here, but yet, we compete with some big giants in town,” Ogden said.

As a Las Vegas native and entrepreneur, for Ogden said there was no better place for her to build her business.

“It’s a fast-growing city; opportunity, sometimes you have that good ole boy system. You really have to hit the ground floor with change. Get really involved in legislation to make sure you get a fair shake.”

As a Black or minority business owner – it’s not about you – it’s about your community, and that’s how you stay strong.

“We are very fortunate because we do a lot of community advocacy; that’s why they support us, we support them, and that’s what more businesses really need to embrace,” Ogden said. “It’s not one sided. It’s not how can you make me money? It’s how can we help each other. People know your intentions.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Trending Stories