If I had a gram for every time some well-meaning person ecstatically approached me about the latest celebrity cannabis or CBD brand, I’d have pounds for days. In fact, I’d probably be Kush Queen’s supplier rather than a member of the team.
Much of the media’s focus on cannabis has thankfully shifted away from the propaganda and PSAs of years past. Unfortunately it still misses the mark by elevating celebrity-backed companies and organizations whose marketing campaigns promote justice and advocacy, while their execution of those intentions demonstrates questionable tactics.
Kush Queen’s values have always centered around representation, inclusion, and justice. As Black History Month comes to a close, we are holding space to acknowledge and uplift the Black leaders in cannabis who are creating real change, every day, in their communities and across the globe.
Which they’ve been doing all along.
Supernova Women, Bay Area, CA
Founded by and created for women of color in the cannabis industry, Oakland-based nonprofit organization, Supernova Women has been fighting for social equity since 2015. Offering educational workshops on licensing, business development, and advocacy to women of color in cannabis, Supernova fosters important conversations through networking and events while taking action at the legislative level in the Bay Area and beyond.
Their charitable project, Cannabis Equity Relief Fund, distributes grants and resources to cannabis businesses owned by women and people of color.
The Hood Incubator, Oakland, CA
Demanding a seat at the table and empowering Black community members to become cannabis industry stakeholders is The Hood Incubator’s love language. They launched the first ever cannabis business accelerator for people of color in Oakland, CA in 2016, resulting in 30+ Black-owned cannabis businesses to date--impressive AF.
They are currently building the Cannabis Justice Policy Platform for a Spring 2021 launch. Fill out their Cannabis Justice Survey.
National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA), Los Angeles, CA
LA based nonprofit, NDICA, has been bridging the gap between the harms of the War on Drugs (WoD) and the new opportunities born in the era of legal cannabis. Hosting everything from educational workshops to expungement clinics, and vocational training to social equity programs, NDICA was the first cannabis organization to be awarded a grant funded by cannabis tax revenue from the state of California, and deservedly so.
In partnership with LARRP (Los Angeles Regional Reentry Program, NDICA continues to pay it forward by funding grants for people exiting the carceral system.
National Expungement Week, National
What began in 2018 as a weeklong, multi-city effort to host expungement clinics providing free legal aid to formerly incarcerated individuals has grown into a national, year long resource for communities impacted by the WoD. While NEW is not a cannabis organization, it is aligned with and widely supported by cannabis brands and grassroots organizations, including Kush Queen and our community partners at The Social Impact Center.
Get involved! Help NEW bring legal services to a community in need.
Social Equity Owners & Workers Association (SEOWA), Los Angeles, CA
Comprised of social equity applicants in the world’s largest, and most corrupt legal market, SEOWA was formed to address the systemic flaws in LA’s cannabis licensing process that disproportionately impacts Black cannabis industry stakeholders. While the organization is young, its members have been on the frontlines of the battle to secure licenses for years.
Many applicants have been funneling resources into not-yet-approved-to-open businesses to meet the requirements for the highly coveted social equity licenses, only to discover that the game is rigged. Well, SEOWA sued, and the city opened up 100 more licenses last year.
As you move through the rest of 2021, don’t forget that celebrating Black history should never be confined to a month.
Take your activism farther this year. Channel your energy into supporting Black-led grassroots organizations. Donate funds if you have the means. Volunteer your time if you don’t. Do both if you can.
Black history is being written NOW.
Team Kush Queen