Did you know that the cannabis industry is one of the most community-conscious business sectors in the United States? When you’re purchasing this powerful plant, we suggest you support companies that put some of that money where it matters most: back into the local community.
We say Sensi is “where cannabis and culture meet,” and as a company, our Seven Pillars of Culture inform everything we do. A Giving Spirit is a vital pillar that helps us grow, and we believe in advocating for and promoting businesses that align with this mission. We seek to shift the culture and support others who believe in helping others and giving back—rather than focusing solely on increasing their bottom line.
So whether you’re buying a new vape pen or some CBD seltzers, choose companies that value people over profits. From donating meals to providing compassionate cannabis care, these charitable cannabis companies and nonprofit organizations, which are all based in California, help make cannabis and hemp a force for good in their neighborhood and beyond.
When it comes to giving back to the local community, Sacramento-based Perfect Union is no ordinary cannabis shop. It treats communities surrounding its dispensaries as family and strives to support different organizations each month. From collecting toys for the UC Davis Children’s Hospitals Annual Toy Drive to hosting puppy adoption days for local shelters, Perfect Union goes beyond cannabis organizations to make a difference in all facets of its community.
“Perfect Union’s ability to affect positive change with public officials and community leaders is second to none in the cannabis industry,” says Ryan Miller, a Perfect Union partner and founder of Operation EVAC (Educating Veterans About Cannabis). “Where others give lip service, Perfect Union walks the walk to create lasting partnerships and monetary investments–even dedicated staff volunteer days–to deliver tangible benefits in the communities they serve.”
These dedicated staff volunteer days have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many still happen at venues across the city. Each month, Perfect Union hosts a free breakfast in Sacramento’s Friendship Park for those in need, though it’s currently a drop-off program due to social distancing concerns.
Team members also serve a monthly breakfast at the Wellspring Women’s Center, which provides nutrition and safety net resources to women and children in the Sacramento area.
Perfect Union’s community outreach coordinator also partnered with Weed for Warriors and the Bureau of Cannabis Control to donate cannabis products to veterans seeking holistic rehabilitation. perfect-union.com
Rhythm CBD Seltzers
After discovering the benefits of hemp while playing music with his band in the Bay Area, Rhythm founder Ian Monat launched this CBD seltzer brand during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The brand is called Rhythm to pay homage to the company’s musical origins, and its all-natural seltzers are infused with hemp extract and natural flavors. When Monat began looking for a cause for Rhythm to support and donate to, it only made sense to make it musical.
“We interviewed a number of music education charities, and we really liked Save the Music’s mission and emphasis on live music education,” says Monat. “They are actually donating instruments to classrooms, supporting teachers, and have provided over 2,000 schools with grants.”
Save the Music Foundation is a BBB-accredited charity based in New York and dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in America’s schools—a mission Monat can really get behind. Currently, the partnership is unofficial, as the threshold for official partnership is a high bar for Rhythm’s currently small size. As the company grows, they hope to achieve official partner status.
Rhythm currently donates to Save the Music in three ways: a direct annual donation, a donation button on its site, and through apparel sales. Fifty percent of apparel profits are donated to Save the Music, giving Rhythm fans plenty of reasons to buy branded shirts, beanies, yoga pants, or joggers. drinkrhythm.com
Berkeley Patients Group
As the nation’s oldest medical dispensary, Bay Area-based Berkeley Patients Group has a long history of doing good and giving back. In addition to fighting for legalization and advocating for medical marijuana patients through grassroots organization and legal action, BPG also gives through a locally focused corporate giving program.
“BPG was founded to provide a service for the stigmatized and suffering patients at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. That ethos and the principles of corporate social responsibility are embedded into our company’s DNA,” says Sabrina Fendrick, BPG chief public affairs officer. “Our commitment to the community is reflected in every aspect of BPG’s operation.”
In honor of its 20th anniversary, BPG is focusing on making cannabis a force for good in the local community with its $1 Million for Good initiative. This includes monetary donations, marketing support, and volunteer hours benefiting 10 Bay Area nonprofits that provide services and education to residents.
“This program is a natural extension of our philanthropic work throughout the last two decades. As a local institution, we wanted to support local nonprofits that are helping our patients and neighbors. Now, more than ever, we need to uplift those who need it most,” says Lauren Watson, BPG’s director of marketing and social impact.
Nonprofits receiving support and funding through BPG’s $1 Million for Good initiative include: Battle Brothers Foundation, a group focused on ensuring veterans access to medicinal cannabis; Berkeley Free Clinic, which provides free essential health services; Berkeley Humane, a shelter that saves homeless pets; Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), a group tackling the root causes of poverty and homelessness; Kingmakers of Oakland, an organization ensuring the success of Black male youth through education and community; La Peña Cultural Center, a Latin-focused community hub promoting social justice and arts participation; Pacific Center, the oldest LGBTQIA+ center in the Bay Area; Supernova Women, a group empowering POC to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis economy; and Women’s Cancer Resource Center, which helps women with cancer improve their quality of life.
This April, sales of selected products from supporting brands will benefit Planting Justice, a group that builds edible gardens and creates green jobs in the food justice movement. You can also help by making a donation to the nonprofit of your choice when ordering from BPG online. mybpg.com
Jetty Extracts started crafting cannabis extracts in California back in 2013 and is still committed to making products free of pesticides, chemicals, and fillers.
But in 2014, the company branched beyond business to charitable work with the Shelter Project. Its mission was simple: get free cannabis to cancer patients.
“It was our way of giving back to the patients who worked so hard fighting for the medical market and, ultimately, paving the way for the recreational market we all enjoy today,” says Jonathan Forstot, Jetty Extracts’ chief marketing officer. “Since then, the program has helped over 1,000 folks in California get free medicine.”
The Shelter Project began by providing cannabis to a small group of low-income individuals battling cancer to mitigate treatment side effects like anxiety, insomnia, and loss of appetite. But as the program gained momentum, Jetty Extracts peaked at sending over 1,000 patients care packages packed with smokeable vape cartridges and food-grade oils.
Unfortunately, the passage of Proposition 64 made it impossible for Jetty Extracts to donate any oils and forced them to close the program. But a few years later, Jetty was on the front lines to get the Compassionate Care Act (Senate Bill 34) passed into California state law.
“The bill makes it legal to donate precious plant oils to those who are in need, and we are now back up and running,” says Forstot. “As the laws have changed and shifted over time, we have had to adapt in nearly all aspects of the program; from what products we were able to offer, number of participants, even the computer program we use to create care package orders.”
The pandemic caused them to pivot again, reimagining the Shelter Project under new regulations in SB34.
“Our primary goal remains the same; to be able to take on more patients and eventually extend to serve the entire state. While these times of quarantine have had their challenges, both mentally and physically, we have been moving forward with intent to support and sustain more patients throughout the state,” says Forstot. jettyextracts.com
Specializing in natural, organically grown hemp products, California-based Bloom Farms is all about simple, clean relief. Bloom Farms sells cannabis tinctures, vapors, topicals, and chocolates—all held to the same high quality standards.
Beyond its top-notch products, one of the company’s core values is giving back locally. Blooms Farms’ 1-for-1 Give Back program pledges to donate one meal to a food-insecure family or individual for every Bloom Farms product purchased. The company’s donated two million meals since 2015 and continues to be a force for fighting hunger in California. getbloomfarms.com
The Sweetleaf Collective differs from others in this feature because it doesn’t sell cannabis products. It’s instead a donation-based charity organization focused on giving away free medical cannabis to HIV/AIDS and cancer patients. The Collective launched in 1996 in San Francisco, the birthplace of medical marijuana, and now provides free medical cannabis to more than 150 low-income, terminally ill patients, veterans, and seniors. In the past two decades, Sweetleaf has given away more than $2 million worth of compassionate cannabis products.
Sweetleaf does this by working with cultivators who have cannabis to donate, labs who test it for compliance, and dispensaries and delivery services who get it to those in need. All partners donate their time and services.
If you live in California, support Sweetleaf’s mission by purchasing a compassion lighter through select dispensaries and delivery services. Each lighter sold pays the cost of dispensing 3.5 grams of compassionate cannabis. sweetleafcollective.org
The Legion of Bloom
Northern California-based Legion of Bloom creates quality cannabis products with no chemicals, pesticides, or additives. It’s committed to supporting and sustaining the planet by using energy efficient facilities and new plastic-free packaging.
But Legion of Bloom is now making a new commitment to planet Earth by helping to save an endangered species: the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch, Legion’s award-winning vape pen, was inspired by this butterfly, which once roamed all over California. The Center for Biological Diversity says the western Monarch population has dropped by 99.9% in 2021, with fewer than 2,000 butterflies recorded in California—the lowest number on record.
Monarch butterfly populations have declined rapidly as habitats have been lost due to climate change, pesticide exposure, and invasive species. Legion of Bloom is teaming up with the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) to do its part to save the butterflies by funding Monarch butterfly habitat restoration projects across California.
The company is donating a portion of sales from its Monarch .5-gram or 1-gram vape cartridges to restore these habitats and help Monarch butterflies flourish. thelegionofbloom.com
This is just a small sampling of cannabis companies that are giving back locally and nationally. Find stories of more charitable cannabis businesses online at sensimag.com.