Member Spotlight: Justice Cannabis Co.

Member Spotlight: Justice Cannabis Co.

About Justice Cannabis Co.


Ashley Peterson

Justice Cannabis Co.: 


Ashley Peterson is Executive Vice President of Operations and the Regional Head of Illinois at Justice Cannabis Co., a cultivation center that started in Illinois and has branched to seven other states.

Tell us about your company?

Justice Cannabis Co. (formerly Justice Grown) is a cultivation center based in Illinois, with operations in seven other states. We employ about 250 people across the country, including roughly 50 in Illinois. As our company name suggests, we’re founded on principles of civil rights and social justice and actively work to instill those principles in our business and in the industry. We host expungement education events, employ those who have been incarcerated and work to bring those who have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of cannabis into the industry.

What role does your company play in serving the cannabis industry?

We grow what we refer to as “craft cannabis”, which is thoughtfully produced, high quality cannabis. We steer clear of synthetic pesticides and have implemented sustainable practices because we think it creates a better product for our customers.

Ashley Peterson, Executive Vice President of Operations & Regional Head of Illinois, Justice Cannabis Co

Ashley Peterson is Executive Vice President of Operations and the Regional Head of Illinois at Justice Cannabis Co., a cultivation center that started in Illinois and has branched to seven other states.

What drew you and your company’s founders into the cannabis industry?

Our CEO, Darin Carpenter, is a veteran who served as an Army medic, and he saw countless other veterans struggling to return to civilian life after returning from Afghanistan. And because of his medical background, he knew how cannabis could help, but at the time it was still stigmatized and hard to access. So Darin saw an opportunity to help this industry grow so that it could provide the product to help these who needed it.

On a personal level, I’ve benefited from using cannabis to address anxiety and insomnia. In my early twenties I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis and all of a sudden, I found myself lying awake, not being able to get out of bed and go to work in the morning. I tried anti-anxiety medication, but the side-effects were too severe. Switching to cannabis has been a lifesaver because it relaxes me and helps me sleep without interacting with my other medication or any other side effects.

So, these types of personal experiences really showed us how important cannabis could be in helping people and got us excited to enter the cannabis industry.


What excites you about the cannabis industry?

It’s thrilling to be in on the ground floor of the industry, where we’re all really shaping what exactly it’s going to look like. And what so many people in the cannabis industry are focused on is addressing barriers to entry for people of color and women and ensuring growth opportunities. But just wanting to create opportunities or have the conversation about it is not enough, which is why Justice Cannabis Co. is so focused on the principles of civil rights and social justice. We have the opportunity and the ability to make this industry inclusive and beneficial for generations. That’s the kind of thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.

One of the ways we’re working to make a difference is our work with non-profits. In keeping with our company’s commitment to community partnership and involvement, all employees are granted 16 hours each year to volunteer at a registered non-profit that we have partnered with. It is a program we developed in 2021 and will be available for employees to utilize in 2022.


What are the biggest challenges facing your business?

The first thing that always comes to mind is the banking aspect of it: because cannabis is still illegal on a federal level, banks don’t want to get involved in funding or providing financial services for the industry.

More locally, the Illinois hemp and cannabis industries should work more closely together to provide safe, regulated, tested products to consumers.


How is operating in other states different than in Illinois?

In addition to Illinois, we operate in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, Utah, Missouri and California. Illinois was our first state and it made us feel that, if we could operate in Illinois, we could operate anywhere. The regulations in Illinois are a bit stricter than in other states and it can be a little more difficult to navigate through the regulatory environment. But all in all, that’s a good thing because it means that Illinois has exceptionally high standards, which is exactly where you want to be for a burgeoning industry.

Connect with Ashley and

Justice Cannabis Co.!


12/10/21 CBAI Response to Sun Times Article on Product Testing Standards


The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois has advocated for the continued development of testing standards and is committed to engaging with all stakeholders to bring patients and consumers the highest-quality products. See our statement on testing regulations in the State of Illinois below.

Statement from Pamela Althoff, Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois:

The safety and quality of cannabis products and the well-being of patients and consumers are top priorities of Illinois’ medical and adult-use cannabis industry.

Illinois law requires state-approved, independent laboratories to conduct random-sample testing of cannabis before any product can be brought to market. Every product sold to consumers is backed by a Certificate of Analysis verifying it has met quality assurance testing, as mandated by State law.

The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois will continue to work with regulators and other key stakeholders on the continued development of testing standards to ensure consumers are protected and continue to enjoy the highest-quality products.

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