About Bridge City Collective
Bridge City Collective: BridgeCityCollective.com
Portia Mittons serves as co-chair of CBAI’s Minority Access Committee, where she works to help social equity applicants thrive in the cannabis industry. She is a partner at Bridge City Collective, and the company’s Vice President of Retail in Illinois, as well as the co-owner of the cannabis dispensary Coughie Pot in Sumpter, Oregon, and a board member of the Oregon Retailer’s Cannabis Association.
Tell us about your company?
Bridge City Collective is a multi-state cannabis business with a focus on education and wellness that has a presence in Oregon, Massachusetts, Ohio, Missouri, New Jersey and Illinois. Our tag line is “the new approach to wellness.”
Tell us about your role on the Minority Access Committee.
The Minority Access Committee helps social equity applicants get into and thrive in the cannabis business in Illinois. Many of these companies and individuals are facing a steep learning curve, so the committee serves as a resource to help them navigate the application process and grow their business.
My role is to assist social equity applicants to the best of my ability, capability, and capacity, with whatever they need: resources, connections, information, you name it. As a previous applicant myself, I have the benefit of experience that I can share with other social equity applicants: the opportunities I took advantage of, the errors I made. I’ve met a lot of people whose feelings and fears and frustrations I can relate to because I’ve gone through the process myself. And as I meet and talk to other people, I learn about their challenges and successes, which helps me to better help other applicants going forward. Bringing our experiences together makes us all a bit smarter and stronger and – maybe – a little ahead of the eight ball.
Portia Mittons, Partner, Bridge City Collective
Portia Mittons serves as co-chair of CBAI’s Minority Access Committee, where she works to help social equity applicants thrive in the cannabis industry. She is a partner at Bridge City Collective, and the company’s Director of Retail Operations in Illinois, as well as the co-owner of the cannabis dispensary Coughie Pot in Sumpter, Oregon.
How would you like to see the Minority Access Committee grow or evolve?
My goal is to make CBAI and the Minority Access Committee a hub of information on how to be effective in the cannabis space: how to get involved, how to run a successful business and how to grow that business. We want to foster connections to others in the industry, including ancillary businesses like construction, accounting or IT, and share educational resources on things like the latest industry developments or new technology. The bottom line is we want to be a continued resource for social equity applicants here in Illinois.
What role does your company play in serving the cannabis industry?
We provide a holistic approach to the cannabis space, focus on quality products and helping people become better educated about how cannabis can contribute to their health and well-being.
What drew you into the cannabis industry?
One of my father’s friends in Oregon had been jailed for cannabis possession, but when he got out of jail, cannabis was legal. He worked to become a medical cannabis grower in Oregon and, after a while, he reached out because he was looking to help support the cannabis community and see it grow to benefit communities that had been disproportionately impacted by its criminalization. He could not secure a commercial license because of his conviction for cannabis possession, but he was adamant that the Black community should be an active participant in the cannabis business. So, with his help, support and encouragement, I moved to Oregon and opened my own dispensary in 2017.
What are the biggest challenges facing your business?
I’ve learned a lot about the importance of teamwork and the benefits of having a diverse group of people with different skillsets. I’ve also received a fast education in real estate and zoning, the order in which those things need to happen and navigating each municipality’s different rules and ordinances.
What excites you about the cannabis industry?
One of the biggest things that excites me is the health and wellness benefits people see from cannabis, especially among older generations and those who suffer from anxiety and PTSD. It’s interesting to see people shed the notion that cannabis makes people lazy and unproductive and understand that it can really be a benefit in their lives. What also excites me is the opportunity for black and brown people and those who were affected the most by the war on drugs to have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of this industry to help right the wrongs that were done to them through legislative work & making money in the industry as business owners/operators.
Connect with Portia and
Bridge City Collective!