During the past few months, the nation has been swept with multiple hurricanes and wild fires, while monstrous earthquakes have devastated our neighbors to the south. The southern hemisphere was bombarded with major hurricanes named Harvey, Irma and Maria, which all have exhausted existing natural disaster relief. While this is tragic, reactions from the community show the good in humanity during a time when much of the country is politically divided. The cannabis industry is no exception, as numerous companies have come forward with a desire to give back to those affected by hurricanes.
In Denver, Colorado, one of the major hubs for the cannabis industry, many transplants and travelers felt the pain of their brothers and sisters down south or out west. The Colorado chapter of CannaBellas, a woman-run charity, partnered with dab straw company Texas Skeeter & Hognose, a Colorado-based business with Texas roots, to bring attention to the horror and devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. They decided to head up a drive and collected supplies that will go directly to Project Care and Project Undercover through the United Way of Greater Houston.
“I think doing things like this is important, because I find the cannabis industry to be a very accepting community, and I think that giving back is important because you don’t want to lose that.”
“I’m originally from Kansas, so we always got together for tornados, putting care packages together, and helping out, whether it was school or church,” Josie Sexton, president of CannaBellas in Colorado, told CULTURE. “I think doing things like this is important, because I find the cannabis industry to be a very accepting community, and I think that giving back is important because you don’t want to lose that. The whole industry is based off of people and their needs; people have gone to jail for legalization. It’s important now to show what we can do for the greater good.”
In Arizona, Zen Dispensary also collected items to help with hurricane relief in Houston. The drive took place throughout September, and the store collected supplies such as bottled water, formula, diapers, pet food and non-perishable food items.
“Medical mrijuana patients are among the most caring and empathetic people on this planet,” explained Tony Pagni, store owner. “We were overwhelmed by the phone calls and emails we received by community individuals and patients wanting to help. One patient donated supplies for almost half of our U-Haul truck.”
Large companies with their hands in multiple states also rushed to provide relief in the areas that needed it the most. Although Hurricane Irma was less severe than expected when it touched down in Florida, most damage was still sustained, and it was up to entrepreneurial do-gooders to provide relief. Liberty Health Sciences, an cannabis investor and operator in multiple states, announced in September that Hurricane Irma did no damage to their facility in Alachua, Florida and that no plants or inventory items were damaged. As a result of their good fortune, the company will be donating 10 percent of its revenue for the next two months to help with hurricane relief.
“As a proud member of the Florida business community, we really feel for everyone affected by Hurricane Irma,” George Scorsis, director and CEO of Liberty Health Sciences Inc., explained to CULTURE. “We wanted to offer support in a tangible way to help with hurricane relief efforts and ensure a swift recovery. We hope that providing 10 percent of our revenues for two months to the Red Cross will help our Florida neighbors in their time of need.”
Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo, a well-known cannabis conference, also released a statement expressing the organization’s sympathy for the victims and claiming that they would help provide connections and repair networks for those who had their businesses damaged by Irma.
“After hosting two events in Texas and now having just hosted our first event in Florida, we have had a chance to develop relationships that really matter. Please know, we are thinking of you,” according to SWCC. “SWCC is here to help you rebuild your connections and recover your dreams. Do not hesitate to contact SWCC to learn about the ways we can help to overcome these catastrophic natural disasters. Keep following SWCC to learn more about the new programs we are creating to assist the Texas and Florida cannabis industries and the people who make them happen.”
Despite the negative stigmas that are still held throughout the country in regards to cannabis use, the cannabis community is committed to giving back and showing that they care about those affected by tragedy and natural disasters. These are only a few of the examples of how our community has stepped up to the plate in light of these devastating storms.