There is a new certification program available to help you support social equity brands in Weed

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With a new government-recognized certification program, cannabis users can easily determine if their weed purchases are helping entrepreneurs from under-represented and drug war-affected communities.

Original Equity Group, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, developed the equity brand after members of the company discovered that even when they got their projects up and running, BIPOC owners of cannabis public companies were still struggling to get the product local cannabis retailers to buy. Shelves.

Now cannabis companies from across the country can apply for certification to make them more visible in the industry (such as B2B) and the public.

OEG’s three-person board of directors is made up of longtime proponents of stocks like Nina Parks, vice president and prominent cannabis advisor in the Bay Area. and Ramon Garcia, the company’s chief equity officer and founder of the company’s delivery service, Padre Mu. The group decided to partner with a law firm to develop the equity brand to make equity-made products easily identifiable on store shelves for cannabis users to make conscious purchasing decisions more fluently.

OEG is an ideal group to build this type of certification program. Not only are they immersed in the social justice community, they’re familiar with the intricate world of justice in cannabis – and they’ve even hosted effective workshop training for stock candidates in San Francisco. (You can check out their extremely useful resources on the drug war and other structural racism issues here.)

According to the federal intellectual property registry, here are the specifications of who qualifies for the Equity Trade Certification Mark:

“The certification mark [confirms] that the provided goods were manufactured by a company that meets the standards of a social justice program in the US, county or city that addresses social inequalities and political concerns about gender and sexuality, race, age, mental or physical Seeks to eliminate disability, class, ethnicity, language, education, civil rights, socio-economic status or religion by requiring that a company’s ownership structure, business, employment practices or donations show a commitment to justice and equality. “

In a press release announcing the equity brand, OEG also announced that it is “building strategic partnerships with local retailers (” allies “) who will devote 20 to 40 percent of their shelf space to equity brands.”

“We reached out to our network of stock applicants and passed the information on and told them to start approaching retailers,” OEG co-founder Edward Brown told MERRY JANE. He adds that local brands like SF Roots and Kingston Royal were some of the first to highlight their equity status on shelf space at new retailers.

For California cannabis customers looking to purchase Equity Trade products, Brown recommends colleagues at Original Equity Group, Garcia’s Bay Area delivery service Padre Mu, which “has probably the most stock brands of any retailer in the state,” and SF brands SPARC, Mission Organic and Berner is on Haight. In Southern California, he reviewed the Culture Cannabis Club in Long Beach, which has Kingston Royal and other stock brands.

According to Lauren Mendelsohn, an attorney who co-developed the certification program for NorCal-based cannabis law firm Omar Figueroa, “The Equity Trade Certification Program matters because, to the best of our knowledge, it is the first time a certification mark has been displayed that a certain product is manufactured and not only created by a public company but also officially recognized by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). “

As great as a handy logo is for finding out who’s making your weed product, no one says it will be enough to ensure that cannabis stock candidates receive appropriate support in a post-war on drugs era (whenever that comes.)

Perhaps the bigger problem with ensuring justice with cannabis, Brown said, is licensing. Although social equity programs are built into the cannabis regulatory systems of many jurisdictions (many are severely criticized), Brown says too many cities rely on something called a “multi-round beauty contest”. Such application processes prioritize lip service over equity issues and non-underrepresented candidates, whose success would help ensure that diversity in the cannabis space is valued.

“If these businesses are open in these cities, what are their motives for promoting social justice?” Asks Brown. “To be honest, none. If our government does not recognize the problem and importance of social justice, why should they? “

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