Troy Datcher, pioneering Black marijuana executive, dead at 55

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Troy Datcher, board chair of Gold Flora Corp. and a prominent Black leader in the marijuana industry, died Feb. 26 after a brief hospitalization.

He was 55.

Originally from Alabama, Datcher leaves behind a wife and daughter.

Datcher was the “first Black CEO of a major publicly traded cannabis company,” California-based Gold Flora said Friday in a news release announcing his death.

He entered the cannabis industry in late 2021 as CEO of The Parent Co. (TPCO), which was created in 2020 through a special-purpose acquisition company and welcomed Shawn “Jay Z” Carter as chief visionary officer.

Before TPCO, Datcher spent 20 years in high-level and C-suite posts at consumer packaged goods giant Clorox, including serving as general manager of the company’s Kingsford subsidiary.

Datcher was only half-joking when he told MJBizMagazine that he expected to retire from Clorox, but the opportunity to work in an emerging industry focused on social equity was too good to pass up.

He also acknowledged that he was a rare exception in business as a Black executive.

“It’s not a new situation I’ve been placed in. If you look at corporate America, less than 4% of C-suite executives are Black,” Datcher told MJBizMagazine in October 2021, adding that he was only the second person of color at Clorox to hold a C-suite post in the company’s century-plus history.

But the cannabis industry was heading into a downturn when Datcher joined, and TPCO lost millions of dollars through January 2023, when it restructured to cut costs.

One month later, TPCO merged with Gold Flora Corp.

Datcher was designated chair of the newly created company, and Gold Flora CEO Laurie Holcomb was appointed chief executive officer.

The new entity was called New Parent but operates as Gold Flora Corp.

“His vision for an industry based on diversity, equality and community was an inspiration to all of us who benefited from the opportunity to work with him,” Holcomb said in a statement.

“He broke barriers as the first Black CEO of a major publicly traded cannabis company and strove to elevate others alongside himself.”