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A new cannabis brand wants to encourage change both inside and outside the marijuana industry, one hash cartridge at a time.
The new cannabis oil vaping brand AWARE-N-US was launched in Colorado in February. She plans to celebrate Black History Month by donating a portion of the sales of each vape cartridge to the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative, an organization that promotes the involvement and ownership of black people within Colorado’s pot industry.
The new brand is a division of Batch Signature Extracts and MedPharm and donates at least $ 2 per quarter for each cartridge sold to another nonprofit partner, says CEO Albert “Albie” Gutierrez.
The first product to be released by AWARE-N-US is a 500 milligram banana and vanilla (banana and vanilla) flavored vape cartridge currently available in 30 pharmacies across Colorado. The winter 2021 launch is expected to generate at least $ 6,000 for the Denver-based BCEI, according to the new brand.
“I felt like this is a big part of us who says we should do something and put our money where our mouth is,” says Gutierrez, who grew up in northern Denver before the neighborhood gentrified has changed.
“Growing up in North Denver was a different time. There was a lot of drugs and a lot of gang activity. A lot of my friends who grew up got jailed for one thing or another, usually cannabis or some other drug. I even had some family members involved. ”
Until recently, anyone with a convicted crime was banned from working in Colorado’s legal weed industry. However, recent legislative changes have created new social justice provisions designed to help victims of the drug war benefit from legal cannabis. As advocacy for social justice increased, Gutierrez felt an obligation to support the movement.
“Everyone is talking about the buzzwords ‘social justice’ and ‘racial differences’. You see them everywhere, ”he says. “But it’s like, ‘Okay, well, what are you doing?'”
Gutierrez hopes that AWARE-N-US, as a private company working with nonprofit organizations like the BCEI, will promote greater social justice in the cannabis industry.
The proceeds from the sale of cartridges will support BCEI’s political advocacy and public relations work in Colorado, according to founder John Bailey.
“I firmly believe that you don’t have to wait for laws to initiate social justice,” says Bailey. “These particular efforts are about awareness and accountability. Awareness of ‘we have to do something’ and accountability of ‘this is what we are going to do’.”
AWARE-N-US will launch three more vape cartridges this year. The proceeds support various charitable organizations. Gutierrez plans to partner with an LGBTQ + organization to start in the second quarter of June and a Latino organization later this year. Cartridges sell for around $ 30 and are available at pharmacies like Lightshade, Medicine Man, Rocky Mountain Cannabis, and others.
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Clara Geoghegan is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder where she studied anthropology with an emphasis on public health. She worked at Radio 1190’s News Underground and freelanced for Denverite. She is now the cannabis intern at Westword.