Cannabis Gives Thanks: The Philanthropic Endeavors of the Industry
Laura Geftman, LCSW
Laura Geftman, LCSW
Laura Geftman, LCSW
If you read any news about cannabis, I surely have seen how much money can be earned in the industry. It’s not millions but billions. BILLIONS. So where is all the money going? Is it just lining the pockets of the people who are selling cannabis hand over fist?
Fortunately that’s not necessarily the case. Some companies are have been finding ways to contribute to the greater good. Cannabis companies have been finding philanthropic endeavors even though there is hesitancy to accept marijuana-related donation. Their altruistic efforts are worth cheering on especially since they aren’t even business expenses that can be written off. These giving companies are truly donating from the heart. Let’s celebrate some of them…
BERKELEY PATIENTS GROUP
The Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) is know to be the longest continuously operating dispensary in California. They have been in operation since 1999. In efforts to support their community, they incorporate giving back into the focus of their organization. Part of their mission is to provide free medicine and ancillary wellness to low-income patients with their “Helping Hands” program. BPG also offers discounts to Veterans and seniors.
BPG hasn’t limited their efforts to their patients but has been giving back to the cannabis community and more. They also contribute to the Women’s Cancer Resource Center, Alameda County Community Food Bank, Berkeley Food & Housing Project, To Celebrate- Breast Cancer Foundation, Center for Early Intervention on Deafness, Berkeley Youth Alternatives, Berkeley Ballet Theater, Transgender Law Center, Lighthouse Charter School- Robotics Team, Berkeley Waterside Workshop, Brown Boi Project, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Toys for Tots- Berkeley Police, Parents 4 Pot- Holiday Toy Drive, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Majority, Cinnamongirl, Inc., and the Veterans Cannabis Coalition.
So much goodness from just one dispensary! Such awesome work by the folks at BPG!
COLORADO HARVEST COMPANY & O.PEN VAPE
The Levitt Pavilion in Denver, Colorado’s Ruby Hill Park is a locally funded and operated venue. Every year the Levitt Pavilion presents 50 free concerts. The website for the pavilion denotes that the “…events are made possible by the generous support of sponsors and donors…” After going through several steps to gain approval by both the city and the non-profit board, The Harvest Company and O.pen Vape finally found a place to donate their money. Tim Cullen, CEO of Colorado Harvest and shareholder in O.pen Vape, has been quoted saying he has “been shocked at how few places will take our money.” The two companies contributed $250,000 to the construction of Levitt Pavilion. I you’re in the area, BYO and pack blanket and check out a show soon!
The Bloom Dispensary with locations in Phoenix, Sedona and Tucson, Arizona treats charitable donations as an integral part of their operation. They include philanthropy in their “Bloom Gives Back” program. They are involved in local neighborhood associations, volunteer at charity events and local food banks, and contribute to the Phoenix Adopt-A-Street program. This includes the BBQ and Beer Festival, Phoenix CHildren’s Hospital and Diamond Children’s Hospital toy drives, Holiday Melas with the Phoenix Rescue Mission, and more. The Bloom Dispensaries welcomes volunteer involvement as well. If you’re interested email your name and phone number to email@example.com
THE GATHERING PLACE
While some nonprofits turn pot profits away, The Gathering Place in Denver, Colorado welcomes donation from cannabis companies. The Gathering Place is a daytime drop-in center serving women, children and transgender individuals experiencing poverty and/or homelessness. Many nonprofits often turn away contribution from cannabis companies for fear of losing federal grant money, The Gathering Place is privately funded.
“Because we’re privately funded, we’re really not worried about that at all,” said Leslie Foster, President of The Gathering Place. She said last year her organization received $30,000 from cannabis companies. She believes donation like that will help women like Ashley Stewart, a mother of four, who just got her GED to attend college.
YOU CAN GIVE BACK, TOO
Yes you can. As we approach the season of giving, it’s important to know there are plenty of ways to give back. If you don’t have money, you can give your time.
For cannabis industry efforts, there are organizations like DoingGood.Foundation and CannaMakeADifference.org dedicated to make philanthropy easy. They will surely help your organization find ways to give back.
For individuals, consider this. If you’ve ever been interested in starting a nonprofit, there are lots of cannabis companies that could provide you private funding.
The monies being made by the cannabis industry can do so much good. While federal laws aren’t just providing roadblocks to banking, transportation, and more, there are work arounds for all of it including philanthropy.
HEY NEWBIES- START HERE!
KEEP IN MIND
Stay calm. Canna-curious is cool! But collect some info first.
If you are:
- under 25 years old
- taking any medication
- at risk for heart disease
- family history of psychosis
- family history of mood disorders
- family history of addiction
…please be sure to consult a medical or mental health professional.