• Che

&Convo with Ulysses Youngblood

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

“I’m about people. Connecting with people. Being a resource. Being a conduit of information.”

Ulysses Youngblood is a connector of people akin to a telephone operator for if you call him with a query, task or need, he will use whatever tools available to help himself or connect you with a more knowledgeable source. The Founder and President of Major Bloom, a cannabis dispensary in Worcester, attributes his desire to help and connect people to his time in the private sector. “In my corporate experience, people try to hide information especially from black people, and so I wanted to be as helpful as I could” states Ulysses, an unfortunate experience that too many black and brown executives have experienced. It was during his time in sales that he recalls running into an abundance of systemic issues before pursuing an opportunity to be his own boss and move beyond some of the systemic problems, yet his experience with cannabis does not start there.

Born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Ulysses recalls an enjoyable, carefree childhood. He grew up playing sports, which cultivated a competitive drive and desire for excellence that continues in his work today. His cousin introduced him to cannabis as a teenager, and Ulysses didn’t initially see it as a viable business opportunity. It wasn’t until 2012 that he remembers trying to speak to owners of pharmacies hear him about engaging in the cannabis industry, which was met with confusion and rejection. In 2016, he graduated from business school and started to look at the boards of major corporations and cannabis companies and was disheartened to not see himself or anyone who remotely resembled him. It was then that he decided to start his own company to ensure people who look like him would see themselves in the space.

Major Bloom started as ‘Major Native’ but being sensitive to the current climate in the United States, he proactively changed the name to not garner questions about the utilization of the term ‘native’ (Ulysses does identify as part Cherokee Native American). ‘Major’ was included as he thought it was authoritative, and ‘bloom’ was added in reference to the flower he would be selling.

When asked about the intersection of cannabis and cuisine, Ulysses says his favorite edibles come from Incredibles. “They have chocolate and dried cherry edible that is so fire. I love it. I also have a friend in Holyoke who makes an infused coquito that’s amazing” {note from Che: he hasn’t told me who this mythical coquito creator is yet, but I’m on him}. When asked about his overall relationship with food, Ulysses discussed his relationship as one of fandom saying “I love food because I can’t cook so I’m a supporter. We built a kitchen in our new space so great cooks can do their thing. When you find someone really good at cooking you got to let them do their thing. I do all the dishes because my wife is a great cook”.

As a child, he said he would enjoy bologna and cheese grilled cheese, but as a family who grew up in the church, he was often at church potlucks. They would often make memorable stuffing, collard greens, fried chicken, and mac and cheese, which would make him look forward to thanksgiving meals after service. Now he says his favorite meals come from Accra at the Worcester Market, and I honestly can’t blame him – you should check them out!

Speed round with Ulysses Youngblood

Che: What’s the last good meal you ate, and where was it from?

Ulysses Youngblood: I had a jerk chicken sandwich and mac and cheese from Unique Cafe

Che: Who is someone that inspires you right now?

Ulysses Youngblood: Nipsey. Nipsey Hussle bro. He was all about his community and giving back and teaching people. and Hov (Jay-Z), he’s the same way. Master P too. Master P understood the importance of being vertically integrated and control your distribution. Those guys are inspiring. Allen Iverson too. He wasn’t the biggest, but he still made the Hall of Fame and he’s a cultural pillar. Also, every year I read Reginald Lewis’ book [Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?]. He was a black billionaire in the 90s and told people how it was better to acquire companies and not starting companies.

Che: You get to make your own strain of cannabis with any celebrity, who is it, and what do I name it?

Ulysses Youngblood: Beyoncé for sure. I have to name it? Man, I’m not sure, but something super empowering. Some queen shit.

Che: What’s the story behind your name?

Ulysses Youngblood: I’m a junior. My dad was named after his uncle who passed at a young age. It’s a family name. It’s not after Greek mythology, it’s some southern shit.

Che: If you could only consume cannabis to one artist’s music, who would it be?

Ulysses Youngblood: HOV, the catalog is there, and he still puts out hard bars so definitely Jay-Z. There are a lot of others, but Jay-Z is still going to him for sure.

Che: Any exciting events or projects?

Ulysses Youngblood: Opening Major Bloom. We just got our plumbing inspection done. Electrical soon. We’re hoping to be open by end of May.

Che: Any advice for a person of color looking to get into the cannabis space?

Ulysses Youngblood: I’m not the best with advice. I always give experience. So, I’d say don’t feel like you need to acquire capital early on. Do as much as you can in-house. Network. Solidify and build your team. Do research & development and design work”

Learn more about Ulysses Youngblood on his Instagram here or Major Bloom on their website here.

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