DENVER – – MedPharm, a Denver-based company that operates a 15,000-square-foot laboratory facility for the manufacture, processing, research and design of cannabis, aims to promote inclusion and opportunity for everyone in the cannabis industry. To achieve its goal, the company started AWARE-N-US, a diversity-focused Colorado cannabis brand designed to fund various cannabis stakeholders including BIPOC, LGBT, and other under-represented communities.
AWARE-N-US will introduce a new product each quarter along with a non-profit partnership. The first pairing consists of a 500 mg banilla vape cartridge made by MedPharm’s brand Vape and Concentrates STACK and the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative (BCEI) to commemorate Black History Month. BCEI is a community-run initiative of concerned black citizens and business leaders working to promote equity, diversity, and opportunity in the Colorado cannabis industry. Two dollars of every batch banilla vape unit sold this quarter will be donated to BCEI to “promote progressive, sustainable dialogue, community engagement and action on fairness and opportunity in Colorado’s cannabis landscape”.
“We keep hearing the buzzwords ‘social justice’ and ‘disparity’ in the cannabis industry and beyond,” said MedPharm’s chief executive officer Albert Gutierrez. “But what do companies really do to bring about change? At MedPharm, we put our money where our mouth is. We launched the AWARE-N-US brand and products to directly impact racial differences and those affected by the war on drugs. We work with organizations that bring the right people to the table, with a strong voice in normalizing, destigizing and legalizing cannabis, while making this business more accessible to underrepresented groups. ”
BCEI regards MedPharm as a great partner in its efforts to create opportunities for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs from BIPOC communities.
“We have been working with MedPharm since 2019 and the team continues to be a strategic partner as we advocate diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities,” said BCEI John Bailey. “This is a huge step towards transforming the cannabis industry and sends a strong message and a call to action for all cannabis companies and other industries, while offering consumers an immediate option to support the black community. It really is a great way to honor and celebrate Black History Month. “
The time for the launch of AWARE-N-US could be just right. In recent years the momentum has increased for more opportunities in the cannabis industry. Although the rate of use is comparable between black Americans and whites, blacks are four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession. Local lawmakers are increasingly creating social justice programs to provide cannabis business licenses to individuals in BIPOC communities. However, many proponents believe that much more needs to be done, particularly with regard to adequate funding.