Despite having high hopes that the legalization of recreational cannabis in California would lead to more jobs, investment windfalls, and newfound opportunities, it’s been nothing short of a pipe dream for those living in communities of color disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.
Legalizing marijuana opened up a whole new market for cannabis growers and retailers to thrive. Yet, people of color and other underrepresented groups have been continuously shut out of the cannabis industry, and often encounter historical and cultural disadvantages when acquiring capital, financial services, and access to networks with money. Becoming a BIPOC cannabis founder is nearly impossible. And what stings more than that are the many Black-, Brown-, and Indigenous people still languishing in prison for non-violent cannabis offenses.
That’s why Eaze, California’s largest marketplace for legal cannabis, worked with local community groups and BIPOC-owned brands to launch their Social Equity Partners Program. This program is designed to help communities heal and level the playing field to ensure underrepresented entrepreneurs can confidently explore the cannabis industry and have a chance to be included in every aspect of the game, from cultivation to curation.
Since launching its social equity menu in 2019, there has been a consistently high demand for Eaze social equity brands. By September 2020, equity cannabis brands sold nearly $1 million worth of product through Eaze—and with the addition of even more equity products—that figure has since skyrocketed to $4 million.
What is Eaze?
It was 2014 when Eaze launched its medical cannabis delivery app; the digital platform we know today provides customers with safe, legal access to over 100 licensed canna-brands. The company offers on-demand, same-day cannabis delivery from local dispensaries to select cities across the state—they have completed over seven million deliveries to date.
You can order via Eaze.com or download the app to shop an extensive cannabis product selection that includes pre-rolled joints, cannabis beverages, and THC-infused hard candies.
How Does Eaze Promote Social Equity Brands?
As a longtime social justice advocate, Eaze is dedicated to creating a more diverse and sustainable cannabis industry and strives to achieve its mission through its Momentum Business Accelerator Program and Social Equity Partners Program.
Momentum is a business accelerator for cannabis businesses already operating and looking to grow. Eaze launched the program in 2019 to provide equity cannabis founders with a pathway to expansion through the following:
- A $50,000 grant
- Twelve weeks of hands-on training
- Mentorship, legal help, and marketing guidance
- Access to Eaze business resources
- Support from cannabis industry experts
By the end of the program, participants have an opportunity to pitch their business concepts and products to potential cannabis investors and retailers. Some will find a home within Eaze’s marketplace, like LEUNE and Dreamt, alumni from Momentum’s class of 2020.
Social Equity Partners Program
Social Equity programs make it easier for the entrepreneurs hardest hit by the War on Drugs to carve a niche for themselves within the cannabis industry.
Eaze formally launched its Social Equity Partners program in 2020 to provide underrepresented cannabis operators with financial and operational support and opportunities for growth, which is vital for a canna-business to maintain a sustainable future in the industry.
Like Eaze’s Social Equity Partners program, these kinds of initiatives help break cycles of systematic exclusion and easier for BIPOC communities to build businesses and brands that, in turn, reinvest back into their communities—all of which can inspire and elevate the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Among other things, equity brand partners are:
- added to Eaze’s supply chain,
- given discounted access to Eaze consumer data, and
- benefit from invaluable legal, operational, public relations, and marketing support.
To qualify, you must have a social equity license or be active in the license application process.
Join Eaze and Shop These Social Equity Cannabis Brands
Morris Kelly is the founder of SF Roots, a Black-owned, self-funded cannabis brand of premium flower bud and pre-rolls (tinctures, concentrates, and vape cartridges coming soon!). Morris successfully turned an underground cannabis venture into a legit cannabis brand. SF Roots is not only one of San Francisco’s first social equity companies to hit the scene in the mid-2010s—Morris also helped shape Eaze’s accelerator program for BIPOC businesses.
Timeka Drew is the co-founder of Biko, a Black-owned family-run brand that curates “top-shelf” high-potency cannabis pre-rolls in small batches. Timeka can attest to the life-saving ‘power of the plant’—she smokes cannabis to ease her debilitating Crohn’s Disease symptoms.
BIKO juseyo (which fittingly translates into “please pass me” in Korean) is Biko’s first product. Every single pre-roll has one gram of premium WiFi OG whole flower, a relaxing yet energizing strain with an earthy, sour citrus flavor that also encourages pain relief.
Driven by a desire to elevate and destigmatize the Black community’s ties to cannabis, Bryant Mitchell ditched a $600-an-hour career advising the world’s largest companies. He then used his savings to establish one of the largest minority-owned cannabis farms in California.
Blaqstar Farms is a fully integrated seed-to-sale Black-owned and Black-grown cannabis empire. Bryant oversees every aspect of the business, from cultivation and manufacturing to the distribution and retailing of Blaqstar’s clean, premium-quality medicinal whole flower products.
VAYA is a Black- and Brown-owned cannabis brand specializing in pesticide-free, all-natural, organic indoor flower from the Bay Area. The company was founded by musician and activist Salvador Santana (guitar legend Carlos Santana’s son!). Co-owner Degi Simmons is a Yoruba priest; his Cloud9 whole flower sativa and hybrid strains are also available through Eaze.
VAYA’s mission is to protect the plant, respect the consumer, and celebrate the ceremonial culture around cannabis consumption. The brand is both socially- and ecologically conscious, embodying the ancient wisdom and traditions of both owners’ respective African- and Mexican indigenous roots. The brand also supports movements that fight for inclusivity and social justice.
Ciencia Labs is a Los Angeles-based, Latina-owned company dedicated to developing cannabis remedies for everyday health problems. Carolina Vazquez Mitchell fuels this award-winning operation. She’s a nationally recognized cannabis expert, and the Chief Scientific Officer behind over 60 canna-products, including the Lab’s first brand, Dreamt.
Dreamt is a science-backed sleep aid made with THC, CBD, melatonin, and valerian root. Available as a sleep pen, tincture, liquid shots, and cannabis-infused gummies, the product line is meant to help users fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper sleep.
Luchador is another fabuloso Ciencia Labs creation. This high-potency cannabis tincture has just three ingredients (THC, MCT oil, and natural flavors). One bottle contains a whopping 1,000 milligrams of THC total, each 1-milliliter dropper packing the punch of about 17 milligrams of THC. This remedy is available in Horchata, Pineapple-Habanero, and Watermelon flavors.
KGB Reserve is an Oakland-based, self-funded equity company specializing in small-batch, hand-crafted indica-, sativa-, and hybrid pre-rolls. KGB infuses their product with a unique blend of pure cannabis oil and other ingredients to create one-of-a-kind canna-experiences.
According to Eaze, this Latinx-owned business, co-founded by Mike Davila and Derrick Hemming, is consistently one of the best pre-roll brands in the Bay Area since it hit the scene.
P.S. The ‘KGB’ stands for Killer Green Bud.
Kingston Royal is the brainchild of former professional footballer Ron Brandon, whose interest in cannabis stems from his pain management journey after retirement from the sport. His company markets a range of cannabis-related products and resources specifically designed to spark the imagination and original thought in musicians, artists, and other creative minds.
In addition to advocating a “culture of creativity,” Kingston Royal also gives back to the community by donating art supplies and instruments to San Francisco arts and music programs.
Oakland Extracts is a Black-owned cannabis business working with small, local farms to hand-craft premium concentrated cannabis products at affordable prices. Founders Terryn Niles Buxton and Aaron Tran have perfected a proprietary technique that maximizes the natural flavor and potency of their resin, PAX cartridges, and signature Cookie Crumble wax.
How to Save at Eaze
You can save a little green all year-round while supporting your favorite social equity cannabis brands at Eaze with exclusive promo codes, price drops, holiday discounts, and BOGO offers.
1. Eaze Flash Sales (and More)
Save on select products virtually every week: Take 20% (or more) off Eaze Picks, shop Eaze Flash Sales (free shipping, too!), and enjoy limited-time promo codes for featured brands.
2. Holiday Sales and Monthly Celebrations
Eaze is always up for a good time and rarely misses an opportunity to celebrate, whether it’s with promo codes for women-owned cannabis brands on International Women’s Day or having a 4/20 blowout sale.
3. Highly Calculated Deals
Highly Calculated Deals are exclusive, limited-time offers that reduce prices on practically anything—like whole flower bud, pre-rolls, popcorn edibles, and cannabis-infused grape jelly.
4. Eaze Coupons and Promo Codes
How Eaze Gives Back to the Community
Beyond diversifying the cannabis industry and leveling the playing field for all, Eaze’s social impact also enriches the community through the following partnerships (to name a few):
Code for America – Eaze contributed $100,000 towards the nonprofit’s “Justice at Scale” campaign to help clear 250,000 low-level, drug-related criminal records in California. They also provide engineering support for the nonprofit’s developing expungement tool, which could streamline the Clear My Record program and give millions across the country a second chance at getting jobs and housing by clearing past convictions.
San Francisco AIDS Foundation – This California nonprofit public benefit corporation chose Eaze as its first-ever cannabis-industry partner to expand patient access to safe, legal cannabis products for the over 25,000 people they serve from the Bay Area.
Operation EVAC – Eaze has a permanent 25% discount for U.S. veterans. The company also communicates with veterans’ organizations, such as Operation EVAC, to better understand how to help break down the barriers preventing vets from safely accessing affordable cannabis to relieve PTSD, chronic pain, and combat-related injuries.
Shop to Give: Support Social Equity Brands with ‘Eaze’
By now, you should feel more empowered to shop with purpose and make a difference with your dollars! Shopping with Giving Assistant makes it easier for you to save money while supporting Eaze social equity brands, plus you’ll earn $15 cash back from your first order that you can keep or split with your favorite nonprofit.
Not only are you helping communities affected by the war on drugs, but you get to spread the wealth to another good cause as well. And Giving Assistant wants to make sure your shopping experience is as carefree as possible, which is why you can install “The Button,” so you can have access to the best promo codes plus earn automatic cash back all year-round.
Learn more about Giving Assistant and how much easier it’ll be to find the best deals plus change the world just by donating the cash back you earn while supporting brands like Eaze.