We live good business practices with a priority on equity, inclusion, and social responsibility.
What We Do
We represent one of a handful of Illinois licensed operators with cannabis cultivation, processing, infusion, transportation and retail dispensary capabilities.
We are one of the only fully integrated companies that is not currently under the control of a current Illinois operator or multi-state operator (MSO).
This distinction provides the competitive advantage of being able to create an entity, brands, and products that uniquely represent the consumer-base of Illinois and the broader Midwest region.
The Impact of
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 laid the foundation for federal criminalization of marijuana, a common plant that had been long used for its medicinal properties. It was fueled by widespread racial discrimination against Mexican-Americans and Blacks and was instigated by a desperate need for funding by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
At the time, the US federal government lacked the power to ban cannabis, so it levied a tax so punitive that no one could pay it. The effects of cannabis prohibition, inequities in executive and legislative enforcement, and mass incarceration are a direct cause to the current state in many of our families and communities.
It is important to understand this history and to be deliberate about how we leverage this industry to truly address the harms and chart a path forward that is more inclusive and equitable.
Our Community Engagement Platform
In order to appropriately address an issue, it is critical to define the problem. The core problem: Communities that have been negatively impacted by the war on drugs have disproportionate economic opportunities. The types of trauma experienced as a result of the war on drugs is an interrelated cause and effect loop that includes highly complicated issues such as mass incarceration, abandonment, child abuse and neglect, and violence (e.g., gun violence, domestic violence, sexual violence).
Although this problem does not exist in isolation, it is important to acknowledge its pervasiveness and broad-reaching impact spanning generations. The 1937 Foundation’s program plan serves as a roadmap to aid in addressing this problem.
It is for this reason that the “Grow Through Adversity” program is founded upon raising awareness about the innate need to heal. The 1937 Foundation plans to engage the community by establishing dedicated resources to address trauma-related post-traumatic stress (PTS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to provide an individualized pathway toward economic viability for individuals who have been negatively impacted by the war on drugs.
The primary goals of the “Grow Through Adversity” program are:
Improve the mental health of individuals impacted by trauma and participants recently incarcerated;
Reduce the recurrence of violent offenses and recidivism into the criminal justice system by participants; and
Increase employment and business ownership by participants.
Chief Integration Officer
Eric Ice-Gipson is a United States combat veteran who possesses over 20 of experience within the IT industry. He acquired his Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Design from Western Governors University in 2007. Eric Ice-Gipson went on to achieve his Master of Business Administration from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2019 with specialization in Entrepreneurship, Business Predictive Analytics.
Eric Ice-Gipson has been integral to the IT build-outs of seven (7) of the eight (8) sites at an Illinois Federally Qualified Health Center as well as a major Research and Teaching Hospital’s Adult Emergency Department and Cancer Center. He has implemented technological protocols at all organizational levels, from the C-suite to front-end staff.
Chief Operating Officer
Jonathan Valdes is an owner and operator of two security and locksmithing companies serving the Chicagoland area. He entered the cannabis industry as a licensed cultivation caregiver in Michigan after meeting Ambrose Jackson, while both studying at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
In 2019, adult-use cannabis was legalized in the state of Illinois. Jonathan was connected with Ambrose Jackson, and together they built a team to apply for multiple license types as Social Equity Applicants. Jonathan's management skills, relationship development strengths, and attention to detail paid off, as his group was one of only three groups who won a licenses in three separate categories out of over 7,000 total applicants.
Brandon Van Asten
Brandon Van Asten currently serves as the Corporate Controller for a large multi-state cannabis operator. He is a CPA and previously a consultant to the cannabis industry serving over 400 cannabis license holders with regard to 280E tax, application assistance and outsourced bookkeeping. In this role, he performed financial projections for Applicants across the U.S., was an outsourced CFO to several U.S. cannabis companies, and consulted on cannabis accounting issues, including 280E.
Outside of inventory accounting, he has audited financial statements for cannabis companies in New York, Hawaii, Illinois, and Arizona (states that require audits) as well as several companies that need financial audits for their investors or Canadian parent companies.
Chairman and CEO
Ambrose Jackson is Chairman and CEO of The 1937 Group, a leading minority-owned cannabis operator based in Chicago, IL. As a voice for the social equity movement nationally, Ambrose has actively worked to create opportunities for increased participation and inclusion in the cannabis industry.
Prior to this, Ambrose Jackson spent 15 years managing hospitals and physician practices across California, Illinois, and Ohio. As a Lean Practitioner, Ambrose has extensive experience leading organizations in areas of organizational leadership, continuous improvement, regulatory compliance and consumer experience.
Judge Sonia A. Antolec devotes her career to actively working to remove barriers to justice for marginalized communities and advocates for social equity in everything she does. Judge Antolec is the first single mom and multicultural woman appointed as a Judge to the Illinois Court of Claims when Governor J.B. Pritzker appointed her in March 2021.
Prior to that, she was the Director of People and Legal for The Mom Project, and she spent 13 years working in government, including two terms in the Cook County State's Attorney's office. In her second term, she was the Director of Legal Hiring and Recruiting. She was also Deputy General Counsel and Chief Administrative Law Judge for Illinois Healthcare and Family Services. She is a 2017 Chicago United for Equity Fellow.
Chief Strategy Officer
Alex Al-Sabah's cannabis experience spans 20 years, beginning as an owner operator under California's Proposition 215.
Alex has assembled an extensive network of colleagues and relationships within the cannabis industry, which will be leveraged to further The 1937 Group's operating and growth strategies.
Alex has served as an advisor and investor to several cannabis startups in multiple states across the U.S. and together with his different partners own a collection of 16 licenses spanning 4 states and growing. One of his most notable accomplishments was in 2015 where he was part of one of the first ever Cannabis IPOs, an ancillary company formally known as Kush Bottles, Inc.