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A NYC cannabis community space is harming their workers and Black-led businesses

Black and brown women working in cannabis accuse New York City-based Medly of mistreatment and threats to steal intellectual property

byAlexandra Martinez February 24th, 2023

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When Danielle Cruz first learned of Medly, a New York City cannabis brand, she was convinced that it was an LGBTQIA+ and brown-led cannabis company based on their marketing and website. It was May 2021, and the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which allows recreational adult-use cannabis in New York, had just been signed into law two months prior. Despite Medly lacking a license to sell—New York did not begin approving licenses until November 2022—Cruz was excited to help form part of an industry that was freshly legalized and being run by a progressive and BIPOC-friendly company. But, after four months of packaging, preparing, and delivering orders for the company, Cruz realized that the company’s image was artificial and that they engaged in harmful practices toward Black, brown, and immigrant workers.

“I was on board right away,” Cruz said. “But they said that I will have no space in this cannabis industry because all I want to do is save the hood.”

The first time Cruz felt uncomfortable with Medly leadership was when she says they told her that she is only creative because she “grew up in poverty.” But, according to Cruz, she did not grow up in poverty, and she says the leadership team had made a racist assumption because she is Puerto Rican and born in the Bronx. As of Feb. 23, Medly’s website and social media no