What Our Brands Are Doing for Social Equity
At Sava we are committed to helping end inequity in the cannabis industry, as well as combatting systemic racism, homophobia, and sexism. A year ago, we published a list of commitments we are making as a company towards these goals (recently updated for 2021), as well as a compilation of what our brands are doing for Black lives.
This list expands on the previous one, widening our perspective to include broader social equity commitments and actions our brands have developed over the past year. We've included brand submissions on the topic, so if you'd like more details on their actions or ownership structures please contact them directly.
If you'd like more insight on where to spend your dollars, you can sort by BIPOC-, LGBTQ-, and women-owned brands under "Values" on our website.
What actions are our brands taking?
* denotes equity brand
Chiah Rodriques, President of Arcanna: I’m a current member of Women Employed in Cannabis (WEIC), since 2019. We work with women-run companies in several other areas of our business. Our testing lab, some of our partner dispensaries, our marketing and advertising team are all women-owned.
WEIC’s mission includes a pledge every member vows, which we call The Four P’s: a pledge to make it a priority to Pay, Promote, Protect and Partner. I always start with this network when reaching out and connecting with folks.
We work with equity licensed dispensaries and women owned dispensaries—two specifically owned and operated by African American license holders. Our farm is an equity grant-funded farm, and 50% woman-powered!
I am one of the six women featured in the film Lady Buds, which covers this topic so well. Lady Buds is a documentary that just came out by queer filmmaker, Chris Russo. I am proud to be representing women in this industry and the film has been a super important teaching tool towards the inequalities in the cannabis industry. I hope to use it to help further education to the greater world about the issues facing women in all facets of the industry.
Part of our policy and community organizing commitment is to work with small farmers in our region who are a dying breed. We work directly with policy makers, trade associations, and local government by pushing for equity in the cannabis license holders in the Emerald Triangle. By founding Mendocino Generations in 2015, our goal was to elevate small family-owned farms to help them have a fair footing in the marketplace when faced with large corporations moving into our area, pushing small legacy cultivators out of business. This is a challenge for my family as well, and it’s an issue dear to our hearts.
We are committed to supporting and empowering women and encouraging diversity in the cannabis industry, and by doing so, we become closer and more successful in business. We see this as a family, much like our own, and we have seen the benefit come full circle.
We are humbled to run Artet, and yet, we recognize the privileged position we occupy in doing so. As a small family business, we are committed to building a company representative of the cannabis industry we want to see. Beyond our three family founders, our entire team (creative director and design team) is 100% Latinx and as we continue to grow, we commit to hiring practices that will provide opportunity to the BIPOC communities who have been harmed by the war on drugs. From our inception, we have used our platform to develop partnerships with organizations committed to helping BIPOC communities at different levels. The first organization is The Last Mile, which prepares incarcerated individuals for reentry through job-training. The second organization we support with quarterly donations is Boston University's Center for Anti-Racist Research founded by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, whose goal is to use data-driven research to foster policy innovation that ensures equity and justice for all.
We donate 2.5 % of quarterly revenue to organizations like The Last Mile, which help formerly incarcerated individuals get job training to set them up for a successful and stable re-entry to society, and The Anti Racism Policy Center.
Aster Farms supports Success Centers Org and Equity First Alliance with monthly recurring donations. We also volunteer our time, teaching workshops at Success Centers Org and will be mentors at Our Academy workshop series for equity applicants. We work closely with equity retailers in the Bay Area, including Eco Cannabis and Vapor Room and supply Kushagram's compassionate use program with deeply discounted products. In 2019, we hosted Humble Bloom's "Healing Earth & Community," a weekend of education and inclusive conversation with a focus on BIPOC voices in the industry - we hope to do this again as soon as group gatherings are safe again. In June of 2020, we partnered with Sweet Flower delivery and CoolHaus ice cream on a campaign that donated 100% of sales as well as a matched donations by all three parties involved to support LGBTQ+ BIPOC rights (we're not allowed to say the organization as they could lose federal funding for accepting cannabis money).
As a black woman owned social equity brand, Biko's existence and success is embodied by working toward ending systemic racism and inequalities in the cannabis space. Our values are expressed through our hiring practices as well as in our marketing efforts. The Biko Creators Circle program offers monthly microgrants and support to independent BIPOC and Queer artists. Biko's founder and CEO, Timeka Drew, is also the co-founder of Our Academy, a mentorship program that empowers minorities in the cannabis industry.
Calexo is a company founded by black, queer, female, asian and immigrant folks. We commit to our hiring practices a continued emphasis on women and people of color above other candidates. We prioritize working with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities in our supply chain. We have and continue to make financial contributions to organizations like G.L.I.T.S, Black Earth Farms, Critical Resistance and the ACLU to address the legal and cultural hurdles in front of us and make meaningful change to make all of us feel safe, nourished and welcome in the communities we live. Creative expression is at the heart of what Calexo stands for. We continue to provide a platform for artists to share their stories through our audio/video experiences, Some Kind Of, hosted most recently in partnership with See Black Women arts collective.
We are rooted in California cannabis and make a point to hire from very diverse backgrounds. We stand with and support all movements that push for equality.
We have committed to monthly financial contributions to organizations that promote equity in cannabis, offering special discounts to Black-owned dispensaries, amplifying POC voices weekly on our social media platforms, and reviewing 50%+ POC resumes for all open positions.
Cann is part of Cannabis for Black Lives, and supports the various organizations that CfBL chooses to support every other month. One example of this is, we are donating $1 for every Cann product sold on Sava to Copper House Detroit in May/June 2021, which is an organization focused on providing a safe space for Queer and Black cannabis communities in Detroit.
We have a meaningful Equity partnership based in Oakland. We are working together to build up a local, black-owned business with purpose to support our collective community and bring the change that is so urgently needed. Get excited, there is a really special collaboration and products coming soon. We have partnered with Sweetleaf Collective because first and foremost, cannabis is medicine and we are committed to making sure people in need have access. We are en route to be plastic free by the end of 2020. We recently became a member of OSC2 - which is working toward a regenerative global economy and are committed to working with Sun & Earth certified farms. We believe environmental justice is social justice.
We started Cannabis for a Cause with our Project Fusion line where we give 1% back to Sun+Earth certification and 1% back to Supernova Women. We are currently expanding our Cannabis for a Cause campaign to our entire product line, with updated packaging coming soon.
We're a small brand so we are working on small ways to better serve our patients communities:
A commitment to provide better inclusive health resources - So far this has included a focus on the incidence of fibroids in black cis female populations (and how to protect against them) and this week we'll be covering cannabis, COVID and health risk factors (and again, health / lifestyle) factors that are specific to communities of color.
Using our social platform to promote awareness about the BLM movement and social injustice (we were one of the first cannabis brands to do this).
Specials with retailers to donate a portion of profits for specific weeks. The week of the 15th, we donated 10% of our sales with Cornerstone Collective in LA to National Expungement week and we donated money to Minneapolis Freedom Fund the week of June 8, 2020.
Working in our spare time on causes that matter to us. Nicole has been donating legal research to the Police Accountability Project.
Built from Country’s founding values of hard work and hospitality, we created the Good Neighbor project as an effort to support folks throughout our communities who are rolling up their sleeves to lend a helping hand.
Organizations the Good Neighbor Project actively supports:
- Weed for Warriors is a social justice program supporting holistic rehabilitation for veterans through community-based projects, proactive care advocacy, cannabis education and compassion. WFWP urges change for the empowerment of the people.
- Momentum, a business accelerator developed by Eaze to support and empower underrepresented founders. Momentum’s goal is to help build a diverse industry that addresses the War on Drugs and support small businesses in becoming more profitable and sustainable.
We've partnered with BIPOC-owned brands since before the Equity program existed and we're very proud to support Equity in cannabis today by continuing to partner with Equity brands. We put our dollars directly into the Equity pipeline when we source flower from our partners Cloud 9 Cannabis in Oakland. We further support our Equity partners by promoting their brand and cultivation in all our messaging, as well as offering them free space to promote their brand at Doc Green's events. We have a diverse team here at Doc Green's and work to keep it diverse by continuing to make sure we offer employment opportunities and advancement in the company to BIPOC. We represent diversity and inclusion in our marketing materials and content; and we educate on the disproportionate harms the War on Drugs caused for communities of color and why it is our responsibility to do our part to make our industry more equitable and accessible.
Let’s start here: We are a white-led company in an industry built on the criminalization of Black and brown people. Without socially equitable initiatives and a commitment to change, every dollar made from legal cannabis is complicit in contributing to racism in the industry. We believe a more just and equitable future is possible both for our company and our industry. So we joined forces with our peers to form Cannabis for Black Lives, a coalition of companies committed to ongoing support of Black Lives Matter and continued work to build accountable, equitable businesses and a more just industry. Immediate financial support of the movement is a necessary first step. But it is just the beginning of our work as we strive to build a company and an industry that is committed to justice.
GIFT OF DOJA*
Gift of Doja's creator Nina Parks helped to create Cannabis Equity Programs and is continuing to serve as a volunteer regulator as the Chair for the San Francisco Cannabis Oversight Committee. Nina is also a part of the Cannabis Trade Certification and Cannabis Equity Trade Alliance program that is building an Ecosystem of Equity Business and Allies to continue to help our community of new business owner thrive. Nina is also part of Cannabis Regulators of Color an Alliance of BIPOC regulators that are pushing for Equity based national legalization.
GREEN BEE BOTANICALS
At Green Bee Botanicals, we've committed to:
Hiring a minimum of 40% BIPOC staff (currently our number is 50%) and BIPOC consultants (currently 100%).
Using our social media, blog, website, newsletter, personal conversations, and white privilege to support and promote Black-owned and equity-owned cannabis businesses, and diversity and inclusion.
Participating in Black Lives Matter protests, as individuals and as a company.
Donating to organizations that help free those jailed for cannabis offenses, get their records expunged, and assist them with reentry into society.
Developing a Commitment to Anti-Racism Contract with our staff.
Taking Rachel Cargle's The Great Unlearn anti-racism course, and learning from diversity coaches to mitigate our unconscious biases in hiring, promoting and decision-making.
Creating a safe space for our staff to discuss, call out, and demand consequences for racist behavior.
Basing our participation with vendors and events on how inclusive and diverse they are.
Humboldt Apothecary is designing a program to implement donations of 20% of our proceeds on certain days in specific dispensaries to programs that specifically support POC that have been incarcerated for cannabis crimes and programs that advocate for dismantling structural inequality and work for racial justice across gender, race, and class.
We purchase oil from Wildseed oil, who donates a percentage of proceeds to an organization that works to advocate for people of color that have been incarcerated for cannabis crimes.
Black Lives Matter. We condemn racism and social injustice and stand with those fighting for change. At Kikoko, we're committed to doing our part towards creating a better future and taking tangible steps to challenge racism and support our colleagues, retail partners and communities. So, we will be making a donation to Campaign Zero, an organization that works to end police brutality in America. Kikoko also donates to the noble Last Prisoner Project. While those of us enjoy the safety of a now-legal cannabis market, over 40,000 people—the outrageous majority of them Black—remain in prison on nonviolent cannabis charges. Last Prisoner Project will not rest until every one of them is freed. Kikoko is devoted to being a part of the solution and we hope you join us.
Kiva has made donations to The Last Prisoner Project and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to act in solidarity with the fight against systemic racism and the historic oppression of the black community, and the liberation of those wronged by the indefensible War on Drugs. We are continuing our support of The Last Prisoner Project's mission and recently raised over $2,100 online via Instagram Live. Kiva's employees have together raised an additional $10,355, which Kiva is matching dollar for dollar. These additional funds will be going to the following organizations, in amounts selected by the employees contributing: Color of Change, Black Lives Matter, Equal Justice Initiative, Campaign Zero, The Bail Project, and the ACLU, as well as the Last Prisoner Project and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Our internal committee/group KNOW-ALL (KIVA Network of Women and Allies) is building out the ways we support equity partners and communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.
We're donating a portion of the proceeds from our 2021 Camino Pride gummy to benefit several designated LGBTQIA+ organizations throughout CA.
We have been supporting monetarily ACLU for years. We regularly donate to Last Prisoner Project and to SF Equity Group working project led be Nina Parks. Most importantly, LEVEL is a safe and equitable workplace for all BIPOC with starting salaries of $19 / hour - free health insurance for all full time employees and zero tolerance for discrimination or racism.
As an Oakland Cannabis Equity brand, MAAT Apothecary has been dedicated to neutralizing the effects of systemic racism and harm from the War on Drugs. A portion of all MAAT Apothecary sales support restorative justice, poverty alleviation, and experiential wellness in historically traumatized communities.
MAISON BLOOM is an LGBTQIA+ majority owned and operated boutique infused beverage house specializing in plant magic and progressing thinking and doing. From bloom to bottle and beyond we believe we have a responsibility to not just make “better for you” craft beverages, but to take an active role in crafting a better world for us all. We are guided by radical transparency and our charters for making a more compassionate cannabis industry including The Promise: Diversity, Equality, Equity, and Inclusion.
MAISON BLOOM is on a mission to create a world where everyone belongs, and we do this by looking inwards first. We are proud to have created an operating structure and round table culture where there is space for everyone to have a seat and have raised the bar higher with our values through continued education, recruitment, marketing, and social engagement efforts. We lean into advocacy and advancement through action continuing our work with Human Rights Campaign to integrate a nationwide corporate equality index for benchmarking policies, practices, and benefits pertinent to underrepresented people across our industry.
When all is said and done, this is about your health and well-being. It’s about your power to vote with your dollars, to support and nurture an equitable industry, and to eradicate the stigma around this plant. It’s about making cannabis accessible to everybody.
Organizations we’ve partnered with:
Women's Prison Association
National Bail Out
Last Prisoner Project
The Hood Incubator
MOON MADE FARMS
As a BIPOC female cultivator in a rural homogenous male dominated culture, I have strived to create a platform for social change by offering work opportunities to a diverse and alternative group of marginalized and underrepresented people over the years. Moon Made Farms partners and employees have gone on to become land owners, business owners, creative entrepreneurs, and radical activists. Our goal is to directly impact the economic and cultural disparity in the greater cannabis culture and beyond.
Nouera has partnered with Social Equity owned companies and organizations since 2017. As part of the first cohort of the Social Equity accelerator, Momentum from Eaze, Nouera has partnered with many other social equity brands and activists to build an ecosystem of supportive businesses and partners to share best practices, resources, and knowledge. Nouera has participated in and supported the activist groups shaping and shifting the narrative to support black and brown communities imprisoned and oppressed by the “War on Drugs.” Nouera is an active voice in speaking out against the violence of the continuing role of the US born “War on Drugs” in Asia and in Asian American communities.
OJO DE LA SOL
Ojo De La Sol exists within an ecosystem of the cannabis industry that promotes solidarity and reciprocity to dismantle the systems that uphold extractive economies, extractive farming practices, and extractive relationships often at the exclusion of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. For over ten years Ojo De La Sol has remained loyal to its principles, vision, and values centered in Indigenous knowledge, equity and collective liberation. The Sol System is comprised of 8 elements: Land + Water Play + Movement Stories + Interconnection Rituals + Practices Family + Community Reciprocity + Solidarity Love + Justice These guiding elements help direct all decisions within the company - from business partnerships, to collaborations, farming practices, hiring and messaging. Ojo De La Sol centers partnerships with small, BIPOC family-run businesses from farm to packaging.
We commit to donating proceeds of Lavender CBD Salts to BLM, donating proceeds of OM undies to period., donating cases of salts to Black healing event, using IG for political calls & education on BLM, newsletters with calls to action for donations & petitions to 8K recipients, and amplifying Black-owned businesses.
PAPA & BARKLEY
Papa & Barkley is actively updating our people practices. This includes:
Increasing our presence within diverse communities of professionals to ensure our job opportunities are reaching underrepresented groups
Including implicit bias resources and assessments in our interview training for hiring managers to raise awareness of the role bias can play in the hiring process
Bringing outside speakers to lead educational presentations for our employees to provide our workforce with the opportunity to learn more about issues related to inequality and systemic racism
Creating an informational BLM tab on our company intranet to help employees educate themselves on racial inequality.
Deepening our analysis of our own supply chain to ensure our spending aligns with our values. To progress change outside of our company we have donated to three meaningful organizations that resonate with our team: 1) The Loveland Foundation 2) Black Lives Matter 3) ActBlue Split Your Donation.
We are committed to the following actions: providing internal resources and education to PLUS employees and their families, starting with a four-part lecture series about race in America; creating space for and encouraging honest and open dialogue in both formal and informal forums, such as virtual company lunches; and using our platform to amplify and celebrate under-represented voices, such as featuring BIPOC members of the LGBTQ+ c ommunity during Pride month. Recently, we donated $1 per tin sold of our limited edition Pride gummy to the SF Queer Nightlife Fund, an organization that provides direct financial relief to workers in queer nightlife in the Bay Area who face financial insecurity as a result of COVID-19. Funds raised by SF QNF are allocated exclusively for lifeline expenses; for example multiple grants have enabled individuals to pay rent and stay in their homes during a time of incredible uncertainty.
At Potli, we are rooted in our culture and mission to bring #FeelGoodFoods for everyone to enjoy.
Potli is proudly an Asian-owned, female-led boutique crafting highly-functioning superfoods infused with sungrown cannabis & hemp. As pioneering purveyors of cannabis infused foods, Potli believes activism and social equity are essential ingredients to reimagine & heal collectively as a society.
Our commitment to diversity, championing inclusivity, and breaking bread with the community is at the heart of everything we do. Potli's impact can be seen in our latest partnership with Black-owned, social-equity brand SF Roots for the 'Protect Our Elders' infused pre-roll and Courage Over Comfort campaign for AAPI Heritage Month.
Learn more on our website:
We believe that cannabis and other drug-related laws have disproportionately hurt the most marginalized people in society — including people of color, people from working class backgrounds, women, and LGBTQ people. As a compliant cannabis company, we believe that these communities must be centered in the work we do. Hence, actively center people with these identities, or who are members of other marginalized communities, in our hiring practices and business partnerships.
Pure Beauty has, for some time, worked directly with organizations that work with currently and post incarcerated populations. We not only make monetary contributions, but work directly with the program and the individuals it is serving. In addition to our ongoing contributions we recently donated $10k to Black Arts organizations that are in our immediate community, including The World Stage, The Umoja Center, and Summaeverythang. We will continue work with organizations like these that align with our interests and values. We are also developing an apprenticeship program that will bring social equity applicants into our cultivation and will include exposure to other sectors--e.g. distribution, retail and manufacturing. The goal being to increase diversity in cultivation specifically and the industry more broadly. We know there is so much more to do and will continue to make social justice a core part of our mission.
Purple City Genetics
We are rooted in the movement for Compassionate use (Prop 215) in California. Our ethics stem from those days. The criminalization of this magical plant and the drug war devastated our community. The rapid commercialization and industrialization of cannabis is threatening to do the same. We are deeply committed to equality in everything we do, from our nursery staff to the farms where our little plants and seeds realize their full potential. We have a responsibility to right the wrongs plainly visible in the history of cannabis as well as resist it’s subsumption into a bankrupt agriculture system.
We are a social equity brand that focuses on women and families that have been affected by the war on drugs. Prescription and street drug use has become a real epidemic in our marginalized communities. Currently children of color are taken from their homes at 5x the rate of white children. As a foster mom to at risk youth it is our mission to help get women back on their feet and keep our families together. We currently donate to as many charities as we can including Safety Harbor Kids, The Good Shepard Center, and the Friendly House.
At Quim, we've been using our social media channels and mailers to uplift Black voices, and promote Black Lives Matter movement content. We've made donations to The Last Prisoner Project, Black Lives Matter, B.A.J.I., Black Trans Travel Fund, and the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund. As a small company, we're exploring a few options that would allow us to amplify our donations on an ongoing basis. Our founders have taken part in an anti-racism workshop in order to gain the tools needed to ensure Quim is an actively anti-racist environment, and will continue doing related work.
ROSE LOS ANGELES
We’ve been turning our attention to help support local Black-owned companies in the industry, one of which was significantly impacted by the looting following the George Floyd murder.
We have committed to continue hiring a diverse group to support Sonder. 28% of our 7 person team are POC, 71% of our team are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and 71% of our team identify as women.
We have 1 gay Black man on our C Suite.
We have been committed since day one to partnering with Black-owned businesses. Our distributor is Black woman-owned, our manufacturing partner is Black-owned, our engineering partner is Black-owned.
We are committed to helping Black women-owned businesses in cannabis and cannabis adjacent companies by mentoring them, sharing our services and expertise, and sharing our community of investors and partners.
SONOMA HILLS FARM
Our partner company, Big Rock, donates to and hosts events for the Last Prisoner Project; Emphasis on hiring minority employees; pro bono advising for minority founders.
Besides hiring more BIPOC associates we’ve started a grant program to support BIPOC creatives and projects to help bring their dreams to life. We’ve already funded murals in NY, a queer Muslim short film, and a recently arrived Afghani family.
Sundae School was conceived with the mission of elevating the minor voices. Founded by Korean American immigrants, we marry our heritage with the Brave New Cannabis Culture. We partner with forward-thinking artists, organizations, non-profits and many others who are aligned with our mission to expand our platform.
Donating: Giving a percentage of revenue to advocacy organizations working to end systemic racism and unjust cannabis-related sentences, especially in Black & Brown communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. We will also donate to LGBTQ youth advocacy organizations.
Equity: Engaging in conversations with local BIPOC-owned cannabis companies to better understand how we can help financially. If you are a BIPOC cultivator, manufacturer, retailer or women-owned brand, we have some ideas and want to talk.
Hiring: Continuing to hire a diverse workforce and engaging in anti-racist education and training.
Visibility & Access: Elevating BIPOC voices and visibility on our channels and sharing time, knowledge, and skills with other cannabis entrepreneurs.
Compassion: Working with retail partners and cannabis organizations to revitalize the Compassion allowed during Prop. 215 era to donate free products to financially-challenged patients again.
THE FARMACEUTICALS CO.
The Farmaceuticals Co. stands firmly with the Black Lives Matter movement. We acknowledge the systemically racist systems that uphold and exonerate the injustices done to Black people, and as a queer white woman owned company, we recognize our part in these systems. As a company, we staunchly believe that when diverse voices are at the table, we are better and stronger for it. We will continue to make hiring choices that specifically bring in black and brown voices and talents. We will also continue to make recurring donations to BLM and to amplify BIPOC-owned businesses. The racist systems in this industry work to help white people make a profit, while there are countless black people still incarcerated on cannabis charges. Additionally, the resources to build a cannabis business are extremely limited to BIPOC. These injustices are in no way specific to the cannabis industry, and we pledge to do everything we can to end these injustices in our industry and in the world at large.
We donate a portion of our profits every month to important causes. In August of 2021, alongside our new product launches, we will be donating to The Last Prisoner project, BLM, Anti Police Terror Project, and The Trevor Project. .
During 2021, we're doing a compassion program, whereby we donate product to HIV positive and other low income patients via the Brownie Mary Democratic Club.
Continued efforts and education are being promoted and pursued with a department and WYLD employees focusing on organizations dedicated to social justice/reform and ongoing learning.