The age of the clueless stoner is very much over.
These days, to partake in cannabis is to be acutely aware of the pervasive effects of prohibition. More people understand that one easy step toward becoming a conscious cannabis advocate is to research who produces and sells your pre-roll packs and pop-top eighths and then buy from businesses owned by individuals from communities that have traditionally been targeted by drug laws.
You can also support any number of organizations whose goals range from policy reform to racial justice, including Portland-based NuProject, which works to uplift BIPOC cannabis entrepreneurs; the Oregon Handlers Fund, which provides low-income candidates with money for marijuana worker permits; and the Last Prisoner Project, a nationwide group that gives legal aid to nonviolent cannabis offenders.
I am a total bleeding-heart cannathusiast, so naturally, in advance of National Nonprofit Day on Aug. 17, I rounded up yet another list of cannabis and cannabis-adjacent nonprofits working toward an equitable future for each generation affected by the War on Drugs. Here are a few organizations to consider supporting next time you have a little extra money in your weed budget:
Cannabis Workers Coalition
This nonprofit is a de facto union for cannabis workers—particularly cannabis workers of color. Employees who are not members of a collective bargaining organization, or have been legally excluded from coverage by U.S. labor laws, can rely on the Cannabis Workers Coalition to help them handle everything from incident reports to employer investigations. The group also aims to improve work conditions through the implementation of training programs and direct outreach. Interested parties can donate directly or take part in one of CWC’s expungement or hiring events.
Marijuana Policy Project
Marijuana Policy Project is the largest organization in the nation with the mission of changing federal law to allow states to determine their own cannabis policies. Founded in 1995, MPP has been instrumental in establishing medical and recreational legalization that changed the landscape of contemporary cannabis culture. The organization was the driving force behind ballot measures in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana and Nevada. It continues to focus on regulating cannabis like alcohol in several other states, while also lobbying for medical cannabis bills in Nebraska, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Women are a powerful force in the cannabis industry, and Supernova Women is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed to further boost their involvement and influence, particularly women from the BIPOC community. The organization prioritizes education, advocacy and network building through the development of the groundbreaking Social Equity Workforce Development Cohort, a highly specialized program that assists community members impacted by the War on Drugs. Supernova also commissions an annual social equity impact report of hard numbers that illustrate the group’s efficacy.
For users who want to contribute to a more equitable cannabis industry but lack the extra funds to funnel into a favorite nonprofit, Cannaclusive has a great guide of minority-led cannabusinesses in every state to help buyers make smart purchasing decisions. Bookmark its InclusiveBase page and use it as a reference when you shop at your neighborhood dispo or travel to other legal states.
Another stellar program that supports women in cannabis is Women Grow. Established in 2014 as a way to invest in the next generation of femme leaders, the group hosts seminars to help founders continue their cannabis education and arranges events to build strong community networks. Women Grow envisions a future in which cannabis prohibition ends on a global scale, and it wants women to be ready to lead in all facets of the industry once that happens.
Americans for Safe Access
Americans for Safe Access arose to support safe, legal access to cannabis for both research and therapy. Founded in 2002 by marijuana patient Steph Sherer as an advocacy vehicle for other patients, ASA has since grown to include over 150,000 active supporters in all 50 states, including medical professionals, scientists and everyday stoners.