While some people speculated that the legalization of cannabis would lead to an increase in homelessness, there isn’t any evidence of people flocking to legal states and ending up part of the homeless community. What’s happening instead is an increase in the number of cannabis-based businesses who are using profit to help improve the lives of homeless and other less-fortunate people in their areas.
Cannabis Revenue Used to Help the Homeless
In Colorado, homelessness rose about 4 percent in 2017. And while many proponents blame legal pot, it’s believed the surge in rental prices throughout the state is what’s assumed has really led to the problem. Governor John Hickenlooper believes that using a portion of marijuana tax money can help turn the homeless housing crisis around.
In May, Hickenlooper signed a bill that aims to “provide permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing assistance for individuals with behavioral health needs, and for individuals experiencing at-risk or homelessness.”
In California, two cannabis companies partnered to help feed the homeless in San Diego. Golden State Greens Point Loma and California’s Potters Cannabis Co. got together in November to help put together bag lunches that were distributed to people in need throughout San Diego.
General manager and event coordinator for Golden State Greens Point Loma, Heidi Rising said, “Some people that we handed a lunch hadn’t eaten in five days or more. We love to help our community. It keeps us going, and it feels good to give back. We never know what another person is going through or what has put them in that situation. Love does not cost a thing, and we all have a little to share, so go share it.”
Kaya Cannabis is a Colorado-based company says they’re the first company they know of in the cannabis industry that is donating a portion of their proceeds to give back to individuals in their local community. Their Grow It Forward project donates a percentage of all sales each month to four organizations in the state that are dedicated to improving people’s lives.
According to Amanda Gonzales, CEO of Kaya Cannabis, “We hope that our company can be part of the work to end homelessness in Denver and that our contributions continue to make Colorado a more vibrant place to live, work, and play, in general.”
Cannabis Businesses are Looking to Improve Less-Fortunate Lives
Organa Brands is another Colorado company who is giving back. They sold almost $100 million worth of vaping products and edibles in 2016, and are considered one of the most profitable cannabis businesses in the state. They buy over 10 tons of cannabis each year, making over 1 million grams of concentrated cannabis oils. Organa Brands is focused on achieving market domination before alcohol and tobacco companies move in, but profit isn’t the only thing on their mind.
Organa Brands is giving back. Aside from total market domination, they also aim to be a strong leader in their local community. The company has sponsored plenty of events that give back, including helping hurricane victims, hosting charity golf tournaments, and helping with local food and clothing drives.
According to Chris Driessen, president of Organa Brands, “We are extremely proud of the success we’ve had as a company, but with success comes responsibilities. We feel a real onus to serve the communities in which we operate in a meaningful and positive way. Things like the coat drive and partnerships with organizations like Grow for Vets help establish the cannabis industry as an asset to the areas in which we operate.”
People in the cannabis industry are giving back and offering hope not only to the homeless community, but others who could desperately use it. Not only are people in the cannabis industry helping communities that need it, but they are creating a positive change in countless lives.