It’s January 2, 2014, and Denver’s Amendment 64 is now in force and legalized commercial sales of marijuana has started. For many people, this presents a new and exciting way to think about investment opportunities, new employment possibilities, health benefit and treatment options; and an overall sense of excitement to re-channel their lives in a different direction.
As a Denver native, I had a front row seat watching my city’s landscape change dramatically and quickly with a rising population of people moving to the city, new neighborhoods being re-created, home prices blowing up and dispensaries becoming as prevalent as 7-Eleven stores.
Who wouldn’t want to participate in the fastest growing industry in Colorado and the United States as a whole?
Count me in!
However, several critical questions weighed heavy on me and I’m sure they resonate with other minorities and people of color universally when trying to venture into a new business arena.
Who can I connect with to get started?
Who has expertise?
Who can I trust?
Who has capital?
Who has ACCESS??
“These questions absolutely describe my mind-set, thinking about my start in the industry as an investor and possible entrepreneur.”
I had been grinding in Corporate America for nearly 30 years, traveled to places I hadn’t considered visiting, much less doing business there and had decades of operational and management experience. I’ve met great people and had mostly fond memories. I was struggling with change, but as the group Soul II Soul sang, “Keep on Moving”, I knew my skills and talents were transferable and it was time to move.
Two years passed, and I was still looking for that access.
In 2016 as fate would have it, in scanning my email I get a message from Facebook.
No, I’m not a big Facebook user, but for some reason that specific day in November, I received the “friends you may know” message in my email and the name Khadijah Adams pops up, “MIPR Holdings, LLC,” a professional consulting firm focused on marijuana investments in new business ventures and facilitating capital connections. The professional industry access I was looking for!
I’m thankful every day for that little message in my inbox and for the person that would eventually become my business partner.
Khadijah already had tenure in the industry, a wealth of contacts and most importantly, an entrepreneur in her own right for many years. She knew the upsides and downsides and what the possibilities are in new legal industry.
After working on a few investments with Khadijah, there was always this ongoing conversation about the lack of diversity in the industry, not just in Colorado, but nationwide in legalized states.
We both knew a paradigm shift was happening in the industry and the movement from the “underground industry” had quickly become full-fledged professional big business.
“There was this continuing conversation about getting more professional minorities in the industry through business development and management, providing communities with entrepreneurship possibilities, being a voice in the social justice struggle, and our number one mission; leaving something behind, a legacy.”
This backdrop was the fuel, energy, emotion and the genesis of C.E. Hutton, LLC., Corporate to Cannabis.
It’s been quite a ride since June of 2017 when the company was founded to when we officially launched February 1, 2018. There were some tough lessons learned and I continue to learn and continue to listen as smart leaders do.
“The lessons and skills I’ve learned over the years is invaluable and extremely excited to see where the C.E. Hutton company is going. We have built a proudly diverse and dynamic team of professionals who are those connectors internal to the marijuana industry and external to the wider business arena. I am beyond GRATEFUL for being blessed with the support that others have given me in my life and now I’m paying it forward. I’m very thankful.”
“Faith, Integrity and Trust (F.I.T.) for the legacy we leave for others.” – C. E. Hutton
Charles E. Hutton is the President and CEO of C. E. Hutton, a minority-focused business development and management company located in Denver, Colorado. C. E. Hutton has 30 years of Operational Management experience with Fortune 50 & 500 companies.
For more information about C. E. Hutton, go to: www.cehutton.com