Written by Emma Richter
Cannabis is a fast-growing industry that is mainly operated by men. According to Mj Biz Daily, women hold only 37% of senior cannabis positions. In Tennessee lies Jades Elevation, an artisan online hemp boutique that’s woman-owned and operated. The boutique offers a range of hemp products, from spa products to smokables, edibles, hash, and resins.
Jades Elevation’s Roots
Meet Danielle Buntyon, owner of Jades Elevation LLC, located in Memphis, Tennessee. Buntyon is a 36-year-old mom who’s on a mission to spread awareness about hemp.
There is still a lot of stigma toward cannabis in the South, explains Buntyon. She admits that being a part of the cannabis industry in the South was difficult for her. Many of her fellow Southerners knew very little about the industry, leaving room for judgment.
But, she dove deeper and discovered that hemp, in particular, was the most affordable part of the cannabis industry to launch a business.
So — after lots of research and legal advice — Buntyon sold her house, and put that money towards her dreams in the hemp industry.
“I went to Tennessee State University and was a part of what they call The New Farmer’s Academy,” she explains. There, she spent a year and a half “ learning about the greenhouse, growing outside, growing inside, and really studying the research that they had.”
The Brand’s Story
Jades Elevation takes its name after the two loves in Buntyon’s life: her daughter Jade, and cannabis.
With Buntyon in her outdoor, soon-to-be indoor greenhouse, she and her brother personally extract each plant. She dries the hemp and presses it into a hash, and he works with the CO2 (carbon dioxide extraction).
From sourcing her plants in the beginning to growing them all on their own now, Buntyon stresses that it’s important for her and her company to personally extract the plant so they can really know where it’s coming from.
Jades Elevation’s Products
Buntyon says that the company’s most popular products include Jades Elevation’s pain cream, which they formulate with full-spectrum hemp extract.
Full-spectrum hemp products include all the naturally occurring plant compounds in hemp, including cannabinoids like CBD and less than .3% THC. These compounds work synergistically in a process researchers call the entourage effect.
Another hit product is the company’s Jaded Effect Infused Pre-Rolls, which test results show have high concentrations of CBD and CBG. Recently, they have started to offer Delta-8-THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid that gives users more of a “balanced, euphoric feeling,” states Buntyon.
Buntyon’s personal favorite, however, is Jades Elevation’s concentrates.
A mountain that Buntyon and her business are still trying to conquer since the inception of the company is reaching the conservative atmosphere that the South is known for. It took her some time, and there is still a lot to be taught to the population. But Buntyon learned to embrace it, rather than let it set her back.
“So I went to my 81-year-old grandmother. [She’s] conservative, and a drug rehab counselor […] and explained what I was doing,” Buntyon explains. She then made her grandma a custom pain relief cream. Since her grandma did not want THC in the formula, Buntyon removed it and developed a broad-spectrum (aka THC-free) formula.
However, her grandmother did not notice any changes in her leg pain after using the cream a few times. So Buntyon went back to the drawing board. This time, Buntyon used a full-spectrum formula.
“I just want[ed] her to try THC,” Buntyon says. “So I did a blend, and she was like this is the best blend ever.”
Now, her grandmother swears by the hemp pain cream, and even rocks her Jades Elevation merchandise.
In addition to her grandmother, Buntyon also says her products are gaining popularity within her church community.
“My church ladies are my biggest supporters, and I really love them for having an open mind,” she says.
Where Jades Elevation Goes From Here
Besides plant education, Buntyon also makes sure to give back to her community — particularly to fellow Black-owned businesses.
“Through our company, we provide education, and we really take our time to sit down with people of color, or anyone who wants to get into the industry — women, minorities, LGTBQ, we go out of our way to help them,” she says.
Jades Elevation does so by providing classes, workshops, and donating to different organizations. For instance, she gives back to a fellow Black-owned non-profit, My Cup of Tea by buying and incorporating their tea into her hemp products. Based in the Orange Mountain Community, the non-profit helps single mothers through agriculture and starting their own businesses.
Jades Elevation- Only Going Higher
With plans to expand in the future, and take her business to new heights, Buntyon plans on continuing with the very same energy she started her business with. Creating Jades Elevation before cannabis was officially legal in Tennessee, Buntyon persevered.
“I picked a very hard industry, and I tell everyone it’s not for the faint of heart,” she adds. “You have to keep going.”