Seun Adedeji is among Black entrepreneurs pushing for a share of a $16 billion legal pot industry dominated by Big Business

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Seun Adedeji, founder and chief executive officer of Elev8 Cannabis dispensaries, outside his store in Athol, Mass. Photo: Kayana Szymczak for Bloomberg Businessweek

By John Hechinger

In the hinterlands of central Massachusetts, Seun Adedeji works the crowd with an evangelist’s flair. “We’re here to get you guys medicated and elevated,” he says. At his store’s grand opening this month, he and his customers — some in khakis and leaning on canes, others in psychedelic T-shirts and ripped jeans — greet each other with pandemic-friendly elbow bumps.

Adedeji is a cannabis entrepreneur. In his skinny suit, T-shirt, and wing tips with no socks, he looks the part. His shop, not so much. It’s a low-slung brick building that used to be a gas station in the former mill town of Athol, population 12,000. It still could be mistaken for one, except for the bright green marijuana leaf balloons hanging from the ceiling, the pre-rolled joints under the counter, and the rainbow of artisanal glass pipes on top. …

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