The women behind Crystal Nugs aim high as one of the area’s first female-owned cannabis delivery services in the area
Sacramento businesswoman Melina Brown and fashion designer Maisha Bahati walk to a warehouse off Richards Boulevard. The two enter the vacant building, where the first thing they come across is cardboard hanging from the ceiling and concrete walls cracked down to the dirt-covered cement floors. Most people would turn around and run for the hills, but Brown and Bahati’s eyes filled with excitement because it ended a year-long search to find a place for their new business.
It took a contractor, drained bank accounts and nine months to get the dilapidated building up to code. But at last, the new warehouse was ready to store products for what they say is Sacramento’s first all-female owned cannabis delivery service, Crystal Nugs.
Launched in March, Crystal Nugs offers a variety of cannabis products: edibles such as peach and sour grape gummies, pineapple lollipops, cinnamon-and-sugar cookies and, of course, pre-rolls, vapes and flowers.
The two also seek out unique cannabis goods such as THC-infused bath bombs, CBD body butters and cannabis nonalcoholic “beer.” Bahati, who has shown her original threads on the runway during Sacramento Fashion Week, is also designing and producing cannabis-related apparel.
It’s a small team, for now, with Brown and Bahati taking orders and delivering to 14 cities in Greater Sacramento, spanning Woodland to Rancho Cordova and Citrus Heights to El Dorado Hills.
Once California voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, the two began the long process of opening Crystal Nugs. It included countless hours of paperwork to obtain their license and the search for a location that was compliant with California’s strict regulations, not to mention Sacramento city and county zoning rules.
During that time, Brown and Bahati ventured to local dispensaries for ideas about the cannabis industry and came to one conclusion:
“The dispensaries that are open, we didn’t see a huge female or minority presence, and not to say that’s bad, but it’s an avenue to explore,” Brown says.
Bahati and Brown sent letter to the city of Sacramento to seek benefits from its Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity Program, known as CORE, which assists potential business owners who are limited due to cannabis-related crimes or a low income. In May, Bahati and Brown will find out if they qualify.
The two hope to hire more delivery drivers, expand product varieties and offer faster delivery times. They say they want to bring something new to Sacramento’s burgeoning cannabis scene.
“Our goal is to have a dispensary,” Bahati says. “We want to be the first minority-run dispensary” in Sacramento.
As Bahati and Brown reflect on their journey so far into the cannabis industry, they’ve both learned some important lessons.
“Don’t give up, ask questions and don’t be intimidated, which could be hard, especially for women,” Brown says. “But I say don’t be guarded and just do it.”