Green Queen Marie Montmarquet of MD Numbers
Marie Montmarquet is the co-founder of MD Numbers Inc., a family of vertically integrated cannabis brands — MD Farms, Marie’s Deliverables, and Legacy Coterie — that provide a range of goods and services to the California supply chain, retail customers, and equity community.
Marie is a legacy cannabis operator who’s been passionate about the plant for over 13 years. Her cannabis business expertise and equity activism have put her in the national spotlight. After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology, she moved to California from Nashville in 2010.
Over the last decade, Marie has created several successful cannabis businesses along with her brother Allen Hackett with whom she co-founded MD Numbers Inc. and its subsidiaries. Marie and Allen are also minority owners of Cannabis Express, having helped build one of the Bay Area’s biggest delivery providers. In addition to developing and scaling successful cannabis businesses, Marie is focused on being an advocate for social justice and equity in the industry. She’s an advisor to the cannabis equity program for Success Centers and offers monthly tours to MD Farms for equity applicants. Marie’s goals for 2020 are to expand MD Numbers and MD Farm’s capacity, develop new properties, and build more equity brands; advising, supporting and championing equity in every way possible.
MD Numbers Inc. encompasses a group of entities that Marie and her brother oversee. She focuses more on the advocacy, distribution, retail and consulting side of the business while her brother focuses more on cultivation, nursery, processing, and wholesale sales.
So we sat down [virtually] with Green Queen Marie to talk about her journey.
Originally, I wanted to become an environmental attorney. I've always appreciated Mother Earth and all that she can produce. Yet, I honestly never thought I would ever sell weed. As I was learning more about cannabis in college, it became a part of my daily routine. I began to explore all the ways this plant helps me personally, as well as many of my friends and family. When I graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2009, there was nothing I wanted to do more than legally sell cannabis.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about a few things. My life has been a testament that you can accomplish anything if you never give up. I faced some life changing experiences in college that required me to look deep and decide: how can I take control of my life and freedom? Where I come from, cannabis is still illegal and used as a means for police to violate personal rights. I am committed to doing anything I can to creating radical change in the cannabis community. I know I am very blessed to be in the position to give back time and energy into the movements I feel connected to. There needs to be more focus on creating equitable changes in the cannabis industry. It is so young, yet has already become dominated by those who risked absolutely nothing to participate in this amazing industry. I'm passionate about changing that in any way I can.
What does authenticity mean to you?
Authenticity, to me, means truth— staying true to yourself, true to the reason this plant has been legalized, true to the community you serve and all those you interact with. In an age where the majority of new cannabis executives are here only to disrupt the industry in any fashion they decide, normally resulting in pushing others down in order to lift themselves up, authenticity is more important than ever. The marijuana industry is saturated with dishonest corporations that have no problem dissolving your contract or company at their earliest convenience. You built it and they steal it. This is not authenticity. The industry needs to protect itself from spurious actors.
What makes you authentic?
I’ve never seen a gray area when it comes to right and wrong. If I’m not transparent and genuine in the experiences I have, there is nothing for me to believe in. Coming from a time where cannabis sales were done on a handshake, good business is everything. My word is everything. I’ve always prided myself on doing the right thing no matter the challenge. Because at the end of the day, I’m a part of the following mindset: I would rather risk potential losses being transparent than be disingenuous and potentially gain more.
What is your mission in life?
My mission in life has evolved— originally, I simply wanted to make my mother proud, to take a trade I knew was frowned upon and turn it into something my family could be proud of. And it means the world that I have accomplished that original mission. Now, my mission has shifted to proving to others that they can be successful on their own terms, the right way, and to elevate everyone in the process. It’s to inspire others and to be a trusted resource for the community that’s been impacted most by the war on drugs. And... continuing to make my mother proud.
Anything tips you want to share?
One important factor of success is always your team. Anything that can go wrong usually does. Partnerships are ruined everyday by those who were not prepared to fail in certain circumstances. When the business is doing well, of course, everyone is excited and motivated. Make sure you surround yourself with a team that can take just as much bad as good.