2 Minutes With … Madison Shockley, CEO of Cadre and Founder of the Cannabis Equity Policy Council

On creating experiences that leave a deep first impression

Madison is chief executive officer of Cadre and founder of the Cannabis Equity Policy Council. Cadre is a brand that advocates for equitable opportunities across the cannabis industry, offering products while uplifting marginalized communities. The CEPC is a non-profit made up of cannabis equity entrepreneurs and social justice organizations, unified to address gaps in funding, educational resources and legislative advocacy. 

We spent two minutes with Madison to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Madison, tell us ...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I'm grateful to be able to live as an adult in the neighborhood that I grew up in: West L.A. 

How you first got interested in cannabis.

It was shared with me in a communal environment with my friends. I loved the way it smelled, and I fell in love with it the first time I smoked. 

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.

I starred on Issa Rae's YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl. This was one of my favorite projects because we changed the world with this show. The reaction, love, appreciation and support we got from our fans was huge. 

A recent project you're proud of.

I developed The Cadre when I learned about Los Angeles' social equity program. I began to apply my entrepreneurial skills by creating a company that would give an economic boost to people who otherwise lack gainful opportunities. Recently, we raised $150,000 from friends and family. I am proud of the diversity represented by our ownership. We also successfully launched our first dispensary called Off the Charts Powered by Cadre. We had over 500 people in attendance and received a congratulatory commendation from the City of Los Angeles.

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today, and how to approach it.

The price competition in the illicit market is the biggest challenge that cannabis marketers face. Off the Charts offers the lowest prices of any dispensary in the state, guaranteed. I also successfully helped advocate for a 20 percent reduction in state excise taxes, exclusively for social equity retailers. That allows us to provide lower prices for the customer. 

One thing about how the cannabis industry is evolving that you're excited about.

Because of social equity there are more Black and brown owners than ever. I'm excited about the opportunity it creates to build our communities through revenue generated by cannabis. 

Someone else's work, in cannabis or beyond, that you admired lately.

Genine Coleman, the executive director of Origins Council, has really impressed me with how she has organized small outdoor farmers in rural communities and made important changes that will help their businesses survive a turbulent time. Her ability to wield their collective political influence and build coalitions with other interest groups is something I admire.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

The Godfather of Harlem. It depicts some of the greatest leaders—like Che Gurevera, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali—and shows them in moments where they are fighting for change together. It paints a dynamic tapestry of the strategies and different approaches to creating change. The episodes center around historical events and remind me of how far we've come and all that we are capable of accomplishing. It was inspiring because it portrays how change was made in the '60s and '70s. It inspires our work in the cannabis industry today. 

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Taz Arnold and Kendrick Lamar. I admire their creative partnership and how they fuse music and fashion. 

Your favorite fictional character.

Huey from The Boondocks. He was named after Huey Newton from the Black Panthers because he sees white supremacy in everything. He is always on point when it comes to civil rights and the Black perspective.

Someone worth following on social media.

LaRussell is my favorite person to follow on social media, because he releases so much great content with substance. He produces it himself. He's funny, informative and poignant. He covers all the bases.  

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

My greatest strength is in branding and creating experiences that leave a deep first impression, as well as weaving cultural events and moments into the DNA of a company.

Your biggest weakness.

Being undercapitalized.

Something people would find surprising about you.

People are surprised that I never received a college degree. 

One thing that always makes you happy.

Smoking and cruising while listening to music in L.A. Something about this is soothing, peaceful and meditative to me.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Not everybody knows about cannabis social equity. Even several years into this movement, it still is not widely understood.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.

I would probably be building a startup in some other sector. I would always be developing a startup.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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