Multi-State Cannabis Connections

June 30, 2022

As the Cannabis industry grows and fluctuates, at Standard Wellness we strive to stay at the forefront. Standard Wellness is a multi-state operator in OH, MO, UT, & MD.

What does this mean? Since cannabis consumption is not recognized Federally, the industry offerings are limited on a national level; interstate commerce is forbidden. However, as State by State, medical or adult use becomes legalized, Companies can file for local licenses complying with state regulations.

A group of Standard Wellness female employees had the privilege of being part of a conversation between, Ally Reaves (Cleveland, OH) and Christina Betancourt Johnson (Kensington, MD) as they set new standards in the cannabis industry. We took advantage of the opportunity as Christina was in OH for an article interview: “The making of an MSO” The purpose of the meeting was to share their journeys navigating the cannabis space. While in different states, and with different operating regulations, as Black/Brown/Latina women there are many intersections of struggles, and achievements! 

Christina runs Conscience Capitalism, is the founder and CEO of Rooted Therapeutics and Standard Wellness, Maryland (SWM), making it the first cannabis cultivation operation in the state of Maryland with a female Black and Latina majority owner. Additionally, she has maintained a commitment to social justice, equality and identifying strategies for wealth building and wellness in Black and Brown communities. As CEO of SWM, she uses her cumulative nonprofit, real estate, healthcare, lobbying and executive management experiences to lead a sustainable and community-centered cannabis brand.
Ally is the founder and president of Midwest CannaWomen—an organization formed by and for women from diverse backgrounds who are pioneering into the Midwest regional cannabis industry. Promoting entrepreneurship opportunities, providing resources, skills training, and unique networking opportunities to women in order to unify, build a base of support for each other, and to connect with opportunities within the industry.

LEFT: Ally Reaves,
Founder and President of Midwest CannaWomen

Christina Betancourt Johnson, Founder and CEO of Rooted Therapeutics and Standard Wellness Maryland

Take Up Space—Being Dynamic

Both women are involved in multiple high-level business and nonprofits in their community, and in the cannabis industry. Ally asks how Christina stays relevant with her hand in various organizations… and being that one minority in the room.

Christina admitted that she was often a “quota filler” for many when she first entered the industry, but she knew her value so when she came into the room she was able to bring substance to her ‘seat at the table.’ She believes it is her job to use her platform as a voice for servant leadership; being authentic, sharing lessons and experience.

“Many times, women find themselves in situations where they could use their experience, network, and relationships to propel themselves forward. However, they feel like they are lacking, typically, in experience.”—Christina Betancourt Johnson
She is also a human that makes mistakes, and a lifelong learner. That is what being relevant is, according to Bentancourt Johnson. “Learn, grow, adapt and be authentic,” Betancourt Johnson said. “Whatever platform is yours, use it to make things better! Use your experience, and hard knocks, be willing to put yourself out there and lead from a place of humility, and strength,” she continued.

Redefining Diversity

“You’ve got to believe in yourself and you have got to be resilient.”—Christina Betancourt Johnson


Talking about their first opportunity working in the cannabis industry:

Both ladies got excited, and their tone changed.


“Very few opportunities like those exist in cannabis for those to build wealth quickly, as in half a generation or less. There are very few sectors where you can do that. The cool thing about cannabis is everyone is kind of finding their way. Most people in the business are growing as the cannabis industry grows.”
—Christina Betancourt Johnson

“You have the opportunity to leave a mark in creating history. The work that you are doing has never been here or been done before. You have the chance to leave your fingerprints on an industry.” —Ally Reaves
Christina explained in great length the difficulties and challenges that were fraught with the licensure process. The License that she acquired is specific to diversifying the cannabis industry in Maryland offering licenses to those meeting specific qualifications regarding qualifying for a minority status such as being a woman, being black, brown, Latino, or indigenous person, and having vendor partners who live in a disadvantaged area.
“In Ohio, one of the struggles, when I pioneered into the cannabis industry, was the lack of representation.” —Ally Reaves
As a true advocate of the underrepresented, Ally used the organic opportunities within the state program and learned from local CEO’s, investors, and founders. A grassroots organization was birthed.

At the end of the day when we think about diversity both ladies suggested that we think about equity, inclusion, and belonging.

“We should expand our traditional definition of diversity. It needs to be more than just about race. It needs to allow for different ages, races, physical abilities, and professions, so that the cumulative group of people at the table represent different views and experiences from all walks of life. Creating healthy diversity builds a culture of innovation and feels good about who is at the table. This is how you keep the energy strong.”—said Johnson
“To get the best out there we need to be creative. It is necessary to have people who appreciate the lived experience of each other and have diverse backgrounds to make decisions and collaborate. This eliminates linear thinking and opens limitless possibilities to meet the needs of cannabis patients or consumers. Asking questions and being interested in the answer. Striving to learn and having a posture of growth creates the most success.”—Christina Betancourt Johnson

“After fighting to achieve your accomplishments, it’s time to switch gears! Going into a business space with the position of defensiveness will keep the defensive cycle going. You must go into the business space from the position of creativity and appreciation and the consideration of others. That is how you succeed.”—added Johnson


While strides are being made to provide cannabis programs in all states, there is still work being done to expand programs making it accessible and affordable to more people. Restorative justice, or expungement of past criminal records due to cannabis use, would seem obvious.

Reaves strives to expand knowledge and education in Ohio around these issues, hosting expungement clinics across the state, to help those who were most affected by the war on drugs, and to provide them with the knowledge on how to enter the industry legally.

Betancourt Johnson explained that as a youth she spent much of her time in courtrooms watching her father defend members of her community that were caught selling cannabis in the streets. One thing she realized during her time in the courtroom, was that many of these defendants had established successful business models that were bringing in large streams of revenue. She also pointed out that these defendants would often take care of their communities financially. Betancourt Johnson said these experiences impacted her when establishing her company’s core values.
Both women are blazing new trails in the industry by providing support, knowledge, education, and networking connections to those who may find it difficult to find their entry point into cannabis businesses.
“As women oftentimes we go into spaces or opportunities not feeling prepared! But the reality is if we weren’t prepared, we wouldn’t be there. Lead with confidence and the rest will follow.” —said Betancourt Johnson
“The plant connects us all. Patient, employee, owner. Always go back to that.” —added Ally Reaves


The energy of the room was encouraging and inspiring, as we wrapped up. As the landscape of cannabis industry is ever growing and changing, we are looking ahead with anticipation!

 We have amazing collaborators making their mark! The future at Standard Wellness and their partners is an exciting story to watch unfold! As markets emerge, and opportunities are chased we continue striving to ‘Set the Standard’. in the Cannabis Industry.


Want to learn more? Click here to read more about Christina & Standard Wellness in Maryland:

“The Making of an MSO”