Oakland-based nonprofit organization The Hood Incubator, which works to increase participation of Black and Brown communities in the legal cannabis industry, today announced a partnership with Eaze, the leading cannabis technology company headquartered across the Bay in San Francisco. This partnership is the first step in Eaze’s commitment to giving $1M in funding over the next three years towards social equity efforts in the Bay Area cannabis industry. The initiative will lay the groundwork for transforming the cannabis industry and establishing a precedent for commitment to equity through innovative programmatic initiatives and progressive policies locally and beyond.
America’s War on Drugs has failed and worse, has disproportionately affected minority communities. Marijuana use is roughly equal across races nationwide, yet Black people are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. Now that cannabis is a thriving $8 billion legal industry, Black people make up less than 5% of founders and business owners. As part of this historic partnership, Eaze will play an instrumental role in advancing The Hood Incubator’s vision to create a healthy ecosystem of industry access, resources, and support that benefits, rather than harms, Black and Brown communities.
“We need to harness our power knowing that, as a community, we have deep knowledge and expertise in this industry, oftentimes because it was the only source of income we had when our families were shut out of formal economy jobs,” says The Hood Incubator Co-Executive Director & Political Director Lanese Martin. “Our alliance with Eaze will lay the foundation for the work that needs to be done to ensure fair policies are implemented as medical and recreational cannabis ordinances are adopted from a local to national level.”
As a leader in the cannabis industry, Eaze is committed to working with The Hood Incubator to amplify the voices of those adversely affected by marijuana prohibition. The Hood Incubator and Eaze will work together to identify local issues unique to Black and Brown communities and effect change in the areas of social justice and economic development. To date, The Hood Incubator has hosted over 20 community events in the Bay Area – ranging from workshops demystifying the Oakland cannabis business application process, to criminal record expungement clinics – and has grown to a community of over 2,000 members nationwide.
“Building collective power through community organization and political action is the first step in building the kind of long term, intergenerational economic power and security we aim to create for Black and Brown communities through the cannabis industry,” adds Co-Executive Director & Economic Director Ebele Ifedigbo.
“As leaders in the cannabis industry, we recognize the opportunity to forge an equal and fair industry from the beginning,” said Jim Patterson, CEO of Eaze. “We’re excited to have The Hood Incubator as our partner in identifying key local issues around social equity and working together to develop programs to advance economic opportunity and to redress the adverse effects of marijuana prohibition.”
The Hood Incubator’s core pillars of community organizing, policy advocacy and economic development augment Eaze’s commitment to fact-based policy making and authentic consumer insights. Through this landmark partnership, Eaze and The Hood Incubator will work together to develop a research and data-driven Cannabis Equity Strategy outlining best practices for the growing cannabis industry in California and nationwide. As the partnership progresses, this collaborative field-building work will allow for cannabis industry policies that will have tangible, long-term positive impacts in Black and Brown communities. This partnership will be launched in their shared Bay Area home and will provide a model for scaling The Hood Incubator’s innovative model nationally.
About The Hood Incubator
The Hood Incubator was founded in 2016 to build political and economic power for Black and Brown communities in the rapidly growing cannabis industry. The nonprofit organization fulfils its mission of increasing the participation of Black and Brown communities in the legal cannabis industry through three main areas of work: Community Organizing, Policy Advocacy and Economic Development. In 2017, The Hood Incubator team introduced a cannabis investment fund to identify and accelerate proven Black and Brown cannabis entrepreneurs while also providing investors with the potential for financial returns. In June 2017, The Hood Incubator became the first cannabis-focused organization to earn a highly-competitive global fellowship from Echoing Green to support the organization as it emerges as a leader in the fields of social entrepreneurship and social innovation. Locally, The Hood Incubator received the 2017 Townie Local Business of the Year Award from progressive organization Oakland Rising for its dedication to fostering cannabis industry leadership within Black and Brown communities. The organization’s Co-Founders have been featured on the 2017 Full Color 50 List, the 2017 Entrepreneur Magazine Most Daring Entrepreneurs List, and the 2018 Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List. The organization has been featured on VICELAND, Rolling Stone, Entrepreneur, and on the cover of cannabis industry publication Dope Magazine. Visit www.hoodincubator.org for more information.
Eaze, the leading cannabis technology company, is on a mission to help people enjoy the moment through convenient access to high quality marijuana products. Founded in 2014, the company’s technology enables superior customer choice and convenience by connecting product brands, dispensaries and doctors to customers on demand. With over 350,000 customers in California, Eaze has unprecedented access to big data regarding cannabis market trends and consumer preferences which it shares with industry and media partners through its Eaze Insights Program. Learn more at www.eaze.com.