What is the Higher Collective?
The Collective is dedicated to creating an inclusive and equitable cannabis industry, and our retail concept, which operates under the name “Higher Collective,” embodies just that. These thoughtfully designed and intentionally curated adult-use retail stores champion social equity while providing a space where people can feel welcome and comfortable exploring their relationship with cannabis. In addition to providing exceptional customer service and high-quality products, our team provides a unique and welcoming environment for everyone. What’s more, each Higher Collective retail store represents a different story that grew from our collaboration with each store’s social equity partner, thereby taking the first steps toward a more equitable future in the cannabis industry
We are dedicated to creating an inclusive and equitable cannabis industry, and our retail concept, which operates under the name “Higher Collective,” embodies just that.
Social Responsibility and Inclusivity
A commitment to promoting social equity and justice in the industry as we believe in equal opportunities and resources for all. We value diversity and aim to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all members of our community.
A dedication to supporting the local community via partnerships, charitable donations, and other initiatives, while also valuing diversity and striving to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all members of our community.
A commitment to educating customers and the public about the benefits and risks of cannabis use and best practices for safe and responsible consumption.
We operate with honesty, transparency, and accountability and strive to build trust with our customers and the wider community.
We are committed to empowering underrepresented groups to succeed in the cannabis industry and to promote their voices and perspectives.
Founding Member, The Collective
CEO, Higher Collective
The Collective and its retail component, Higher Collective, were founded by Patrik Jonsson, who developed a unique business model for working with minority, veteran, and women-owned companies. A cannabis industry veteran since 2013, Patrik has dedicated his career to advancing cannabis’ potential to transform healthcare and improve the lives of patients and adult-use customers. He began his journey in the cannabis industry in Massachusetts where he became the state’s first operator with five licensed dispensaries and joined Curaleaf, the largest vertically integrated cannabis company in the world. From there, he assumed the role of Regional President for Curaleaf’s Northeast region, overseeing Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont,. Patrik’s personal passion has always been supporting social equity in the cannabis industry, and with his leadership, the Higher Collective promises to promote social equity and foster a more inclusive cannabis industry.
Head of Retail - Founder of 4s Cannabis
Ricky Figueroa is a business leader, community advocate, and ally of the cannabis industry. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he has a strong sense of cultural identity and pride in his diverse ancestry. Ricky brings over 20 years of experience to Higher Collective. He previously worked for cannabis companies like Dosist, Curaleaf, and Ascend Wellness Holdings. His goal is to assist social equity applicants in entering and succeeding in the industry by providing resources and breaking down barriers. Higher Collective is the culmination of Ricky’s passions: helping others, a constant guiding principle in his life, and cannabis, which stems from his family legacy and the belief that it can create positive change. By providing exceptional customer experiences and promoting diversity and inclusion, he is committed to shaping the future of cannabis retail as part of The Collective.
Head of Retail - Operations, Higher Collective
With over three decades of experience in the supermarket, wholesale, and cannabis sectors, Dave is a seasoned professional in shaping operational strategies for retail stores. He began as a grocery clerk and progressed to various leadership positions, demonstrating expertise in creating customer-centric businesses. Notaly, Dave oversaw the opening of 65 stores over a 5-year period during his time as Vice President of Retail at Fresh Thyme Market. His commitment to creating positive change in people’s lives through cannabis was realized when he joined the industry in 2019 as the Director of Retail in Maine for Curaleaf, where he streamlined operations and provided exceptional customer experiences. In addition to his professional pursuits, Dave actively supports causes including veteran suicide awareness, workforce re-entry programs, and addressing the homeless crisis, aligning with Higher Collective’s mission to make a positive impact on the cannabis industry and the community.
Head of Brand & Marketing, Higher Collective
Bri blends design, marketing, and PR to shape brands, with a background spanning multiple sectors including cannabis, wellness, beauty and design. Her portfolio boasts esteemed companies such as L’Oreal, P&G, Unilever, Google, Orangetheory, Charlotte Tilbury, OPI, and Sony. While at Kiehl’s, Bri led the launch of their Sativa Seed Oil line. This eye-opening experience, coupled with the transformative impact of cannabis on a family member’s life, ignited her passionate advocacy for the plant and its various applications. Consequently, she joined the team at Select in 2018. Following Select’s acquisition by Curaleaf, Bri excelled as the Senior Director of PR and Senior Brand Manager on the company’s entire brand portfolio across all 23 markets. Outside her professional endeavors, Bri is a wish granter for Make-A-Wish and is an Advisor for the Women in Leadership Program at UC.
Head of Human Resources, Higher Collective
Kerin brings over 20 years of diverse experience in human resource roles across the cannabis, food and beverage, and professional services industries. She has demonstrated exceptional capabilities in driving organizational success, and she possesses extensive expertise in executive leadership, change management, labor relations, and employee relations. For the past five years, Kerin has played a pivotal role in shaping HR strategies and practices specifically tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Her in-depth understanding of the regulatory landscape and HR management intricacies within this space has enabled her to navigate complex compliance issues and foster a positive work environments for employees. With her collaborative and strategic approach, she has facilitated smooth restructuring transitions, promoted change initiatives, and fostered positive team dynamics, serving as a trusted advisor to executive leadership.
Head of Compliance
Government and Community Relations Advisor, Higher Collective
Dispensary Owner - Higher Collective, Hartford
Kevin T. Henry is the founder of KTH Advisors, a concierge professional advisory practice established in 2014. He has negotiated and provided counsel for a wide array of business and real estate clients during his 17 years of practicing law. Kevin received his B.A. from Hamilton College and J.D. from the University of Connecticut. He has always been committed to advancing economic and workforce development opportunities throughout Connecticut and served as Vice President of the Hartford Partnership for the Metro Hartford Alliance Chamber of Commerce, where he was responsible for identifying, developing, and implementing economic development strategies for the Office of the Mayor for the City of Hartford and the Hartford Chamber Board of Directors. He also managed all aspects of the thousand-member Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs, a networking initiative aimed at the retention, recruitment, and optimal utilization of young professionals in the Hartford Region. Philanthropy is part of the fabric of his life and he is actively involved in numerous nonprofit organizations, including serving on the Boards of two organizations that were integral to his own success, the Boys and Girls Club of Hartford and the Hartford Housing Authority.
Store Owner & Manager - Higher Collective, Killingly
Dispensary Owner & Manager - Higher Collective, Willington
Yanira, in addition to being the Dispensary Owner and Manager of Higher Collective’s Willington dispensary, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has devoted her life to helping people address their mental health needs. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Hartford, Yanira strongly supports causes including Mental Health, Women’s Empowerment, Recidivism, Leadership Development, and Cultural Competence within the Latino population. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from UConn and began her career as a mentor in the YMCA’s respite & therapeutic mentoring program. Later, she worked as a Multisystemic Therapist (MST) at NAFI, focusing on youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Additionally, Yanira has served at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Crec Polaris Center, Adelbrook, and Intercommunity. Presently, Yanira operates a private practice in Manchester, Connecticut, making a significant impact on people’s lives. Her compassionate nature and wealth of experience showcase her unyielding dedication to positive change, particularly in the realms of mental health and cultural competence.
Store Owner - Higher Collective, Bridgeport
As a Hartford County native, Keanaha is fueled by a passion for community wellness and is dedicated to fostering inclusivity and diversity in her professional field by opening doors for minority leaders. She actively champions causes like cannabis and healing, holistic medicines, women’s health, and inner-city youth economic development. With a keen interest in healthcare and business management, Keanaha pursued and earned an MBA, becoming a Connecticut Life and Health Broker. Currently serving as a Senior Client Manager at Sun Life, she brings her expertise from previous roles at Travelers Insurance, The Hartford, and Sedgwick. Keanaha’s collaborative spirit and unwavering dedication earned her the prestigious “Collaborator of the Year” award in 2022. Her unwavering commitment to creating an inclusive industry continues to inspire, making her an invaluable asset to our dispensary team.
Store Owner & Manager - Higher Collective
Jose Perez, a Hartford resident that spent over 9 years working for the Hartford school system, with a focus on students with behavioral issues. He is also a small business owner with experience in managing small groups of individuals. At the age of 18, Jose was arrested for marijuana possession. Growing up in a neighborhood negatively impacted by the War on Drugs and experiencing its effects firsthand, he was ecstatic to learn that the State of Connecticut made it a priority to ensure that this new industry would do all it can to partner with members of the communities hit hardest. Jose joined The Collective as an SEJV partner, hoping to connect with other individuals and local organizations that can provide a platform for growth and development in this industry.
Dispensary Owner - Higher Collective, New London
Leah is a veteran cannabis leader with 4 exits since 2015; two public and two via acquisition totaling more than a $1.5B. She is passionate about creating a diverse industry where the companies we build look like the communities they serve. She got involved in the cannabis industry after having been hospitalized more than 35 times due to pancreatic attacks and having had many surgeries, Leah’s doctor suggested trying cannabis in order to reduce inflammation back in 2013. It was from that recommendation her health turned around due to a daily regimen of cannabis, and she has been able to stay away from hospitals since 2016.
Leah then decided she wanted to help people in her state, Maryland, get medical cannabis licenses as her on-ramp to working in the industry. She built a team to pursue and win a medical cannabis business license and while waiting for the license to be granted (an 18-month process) served as CEO of Women Grow. She joined cannabis company 4Front with her license, and was later recruited by Ascend Wellness as Chief Administrative Officer. In 2017 Leah started her own firm, Gemini Twin Consulting, to provide cannabis companies with guidance on scaling, compliance, license applications, HR management, and infrastructure design. Her expert opinions on the industry have been featured in print media, television, and radio.
Dispensary Owner - Higher Collective
Michael Sanders, also known as Michael Mizzwerk, is an American former professional basketball player, author, actor, movie producer, and pro basketball trainer. Born in Waterbury, CT, he played college basketball at Iona College and Shaw University before embarking on a successful 10-year international pro career. In 2015, he founded his own training business called Mizzwerk Training. Throughout his career, Sanders has produced and cultivated numerous professional male and female athletes, both past and present.