Non-profit and community programs often spring up when there’s a gap to fill, and with the cannabis industry as young as it is, there are still a lot of gaps.
Shelter from the Storm, a project launched by Jetty Extracts, is doing what it can to fill the cannabis treatment gap.
Jetty, an Oakland-based extract company, launched the Shelter Project to provide free medicinal cannabis oil and other services to California cancer patients who register with the program.
From pretty early on in the process, it was clear that philanthropy should be incorporated into the business model, said Matt Lee, co-founder of Jetty Extracts. They began by giving oil to people they knew who were suffering from different ailments which would benefit from cannabis as a treatment plan. Soon after that, they realized they wanted to expand to all of California.
“I wanted to do a ‘1-for-1’ program, similar to TOMS, and focus on cancer patients,” Lee explained to HIGH TIMES. “After we finished the business plan and launched, we soon realized there were way more cannabis consumers than cancer patients wanting oil. So we just ended up offering free oil to all cancer patients who sign up with The Shelter Project and live in California. That’s how it remains today.”
The program, thus far, has been a big success and currently enrolls 400 people across the state. Jetty is able to keep the administrative costs of the program low, not only because they are able to obtain oil at a manufacturer’s price, but also because they deliver directly to patients and forego expensive and unnecessary packaging. An added reward has been the support and goodwill the program fosters.
“It’s a lot more rewarding to help people and get organic marketing from that then just paying for magazine ads that don’t help anybody,” Lee said. “The unforeseen benefits have been phenomenal—we have attracted some of the best staff in the industry and have had great support from the whole cannabis community.”
Community support is extremely important for some of the secondary aspects of the program, which include supplying patients with donated equipment to grow their own medicine and connecting them with consultants to create individualized treatment plans.
When asked about taking the project to a national level, Lee noted the scalability of a program like this is unforeseen.
“We are just trying to keep California going and hoping that the implementation of regulation doesn’t take away our ability to donate to patients,” Lee said.
While that may sound a little dire, Lee is hopeful for the future of marijuana.
“I think in the next decade we will continue to see more and more acceptance of the plant all around, whether that be medically or ‘recreationally,’” Lee said. “I think the federal government will start to come around, and I would hope to see federal legalization—or at minimum, rescheduling—over the next 10 years.”