By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Black entrepreneurs account for less than 2% of the nation’s cannabis businesses — a narrative being changed by Marvina Thomas and her company Fourtwenty Collections, a 100% Black, female-owned business.
With headquarters in Arizona and New Mexico, Thomas, a Litchfield Park resident, is a community-forward entrepreneur who uses her success to give back and provide opportunities to underrepresented communities.
In the cannabis industry, women only maintain 22% of executive roles, and minorities, 13%, cites a recent study. Thomas doesn’t allow these odds to deter her.
“My company, Fourtwenty Collections, consists of CBD skin care, THC-infused medibles, and a fashion line for men and women,” she explains.
Fourtwenty Collections has been serving the cannabis industry in Arizona since 2016 and expanded into the emerging New Mexico market in late 2022. Both locations place an emphasis on providing job opportunities to underrepresented members of the BIPOC community and women, according to Thomas.
“We (Fourtwenty Collections) handcraft luxury skin care and indulgent edibles to enhance our clients’ self-care regime and the lives of those in need,” she says. “A former registered nurse, I am interested in the benefits of CBD and THC to help promote a healthy body and mind. This includes utilizing these products to help those impacted by drug addiction.”
Thomas’ transition from nurse to entrepreneur was inspired by her former patients who battled with addiction.
“One patient still stands out in my memory and heart,” she recalls. “A drug user, her face was badly burned from a pipe that blew up in her face. I had just started making soaps, and I brought her one, and in about two weeks her skin started to heal. That was a pivotal moment for me to move from nursing to full-time cannabis enthusiast and entrepreneur.”
From the beginning, Thomas says Fourtwenty Collections was community oriented.
“I wanted to provide relief to my clients while building an operation that had the ability to give back to those in need. This is what fueled Fourtwenty Collections’ Buy & Give program. The program provides resources, such as personal necessities and health care assistance, for men and women. Each time someone makes a purchase, a donation is made to help others. By using our products, our customers are helping improve the quality of life for those in need.”
In addition to setting an example in the cannabis sector, Thomas self-funds the nonprofit Start Living Inc. Profits from 420 Skin Care and 420 Medibles benefit Start Living with services and resources to reintroduce patients to healthier living. “Educating people on the benefits of medical cannabis and helping them to transition away from opioids has been one of my greatest joys and a key to my success,” Thomas says.
With multiple recovery home facilities in Arizona, the addiction recovery organization will now have locations in New Mexico, helping people in both states impacted from alcohol and substance use successfully reenter society. Fourtwenty Collections offers in-house job opportunities to Start Living Inc. program graduates after successful course completion.
“As a nurse, I saw first-hand the effects of drug addiction on my patients and wanted to provide them with longer-term care and a hand up to get their lives back on track,” she says. “Through the proceeds from Fourtwenty Collections, I’m able to help patients go through these programs and often can employ them after they graduate from the program.
“It’s all about community and helping others. We are thrilled to find success in Arizona and, most recently, New Mexico. Fourtwenty Collections prides itself in giving back to its local communities while delivering original and trusted products to consumers.”