A few years ago, both AGRiMED board chair Bruce Goldman and managing partner Sterling Crockett sought licenses to grow cannabis for Maryland’s medical marijuana program—but at that time, they were competitors.
“We started a company called Botanical Bio-Discovery, and we made some mistakes, a lot of things Sterling had already learned not to do,” said Goldman. “His company, GTI (Green Thumb Industries) got robbed. They finished 12th in the race for 15 licenses. But then they got mysteriously replaced because of ‘geographic diversity.’ So, in a state with a 48.3 percent minority population, no minorities got licenses.”
Shortly thereafter, the two men teamed up to form AGRiMED and, in June, became the only Black-owned firm to win a cannabis-growing license in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The company’s application for a farm in Carmichaels, Greene County scored the highest of any applicant in the state. And as Goldman and Crocket told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview, they plan on making a significant mark in the medical cannabis market, and possibly inspire other Black entrepreneurs along the way.
“Bruce and I came to a spot where it was unfair—but we said, there’s an opportunity in Pennsylvania, and if we focus on Maryland, we’ll miss out on opportunity,” said Crockett. “We adapted and made the right calls to prevail in Pennsylvania because, at the end of the day, we are professional businessmen—and to do that you have to do it in spite of what might be going on around you. We would hope that others could look at this paradigm, see something that would cause them to do the same.”
Crockett, whose background is in engineering and construction development, said their company has an advantage others didn’t, especially when it came to the location—with a total population of just over 37,000, Greene county has about 1,300 total African American residents. Just like home, said Crockett.