Former Hawthorne California Mayor Chris Brown, 38, has a mission. Several years, it was helping aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs open businesses in the state. Now that mission has extended to helping thousands of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder generate income by selling CBD products via Brown’s existing state licenses. The latter challenge—getting a license–has been especially difficult to attain given that not every municipality and county in the Golden State wants a dispensary in town, legalization notwithstanding.
But Brown, who served his term as an elected public official from 2014 to early 2016, is used to transcending obstacles and forging his own path. The first African-American Mayor of the City of Hawthorne, Brown’s administration created over 2,000 new local jobs and “and set a long term vision for making Hawthorne a destination place for new companies like Space X, Tesla, and Surf Air,” says his LinkedIn bio. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all rosy for Brown as he left office debt-ridden, facing bankruptcy and foreclosure.
Clearing up his credit, Brown was able to able to rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. He began working with the Foxx law firm in Altadena, California and there became involved cannabis legislation. Having seen firsthand how CBD provided relief to relatives recovering from cancer, Brown became bullish about cannabis. Soon he’d carve a niche for himself, serving as a middleman between cannabis companies seeking to gain a foothold in the California landscape and smaller cities looking to score additional tax revenue. And, rather than take a fee, Brown took a cut of the business.
He’s looking to apply a similar business model with PTSD-afflicted veterans. “I started thinking, besides regular users, who benefits the most from the use of cannabis?” he asked rhetorically. “People fighting cancer and people fighting PTSD.”
There are differences between this effort and Brown’s earlier initiative. Firstly, now he has a license, three in fact; secondly, his focus is on CBD, which became legal in the U.S. in late 2018 as a result of the passage of the Farm Bill. And lastly, instead of concentrating on California, which Brown said has become more restrictive in the awarding of licenses since the state legalized cannabis in 2018, nationwide distribution is the goal.
To put his plan into action, Brown has teamed up with Las Vegas-based HempWorkx, a producer and seller of hemp-derived CBD. “Veterans can make as much income as they want as a distributor,” he said, adding that HempWorx pays between “50 to 85 percent commissions on all products sold.”
Brown said that a significant portion of the proceeds he earns from HempWorx will be donated to HouzVets.org, a nonprofit he launched to help veterans restore their credit (if needed), start businesses and become homeowners. HouzVets also helps veterans struggling with PTSD.
Currently, Brown is seeking veterans to partner with him on this venture. Because of their service and steadfast dedication, Brown feels they have tremendous entrepreneurial potential.
“We keep pumping them with pills,” bemoaned Brown. “Veterans are better organized [than many others]. That’s why they were able to serve our country.”