Cannabis Brands That Give Back
A look at some of the cannabis brands that help give back to the greater good of the community. Written by Lucas Indrikovs.
The legalization of medical and recreational cannabis has opened the doors for activists within the industry to volunteer their time and efforts to give back to the communities around them. There are many California brands contributing to the community in meaningful ways, and the road that led us here was paved by individuals who worked to make the here-and-now possible.
One of the most impactful figures in the quest for cannabis legalization was San Francisco's own Dennis Peron. Recognized as the "Father of Medical Marijuana," Peron fought for medical marijuana access in California during the peak of the AIDS outbreak in the '80s and '90s. At that time, traditional western medicines offered little relief to those enduring HIV/AIDS.
As co-founder of San Francisco's Cannabis Buyers Club, Peron regularly dealt with the threat of arrest and police harassment, but persevered to make a difference. Driven by his passion for cannabis, Peron eventually contributed to California's Prop 215, which directly carved the path for legal recreational cannabis years later. 1
We would not be where we are today in the world of cannabis without trailblazers like Dennis Peron and other activists and brands that have made it their mission to thrust cannabis into the discussion. Let's take a moment to celebrate some of the brands that have been making efforts to help make others’ lives a little better.
Farmer and the Felon
Founded by Ned Fussell (the Farmer) and Dennis Hunter (the Felon), Farmer and the Felon are building a culture around recreational cannabis that aims to preserve the rebellious attitude of the prohibition era. In that revolutionary spirit, they're also seeking social justice for those still suffering from the harsh anti-drug policies experienced in America.
By partnering with the Last Prisoner Project and other organizations like WAMM (Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana), Farmer and the Felon are bettering the world by harnessing the love of cannabis and channeling that love to give back to the community.
Top-Shelf Cannabis Strains
Having served 6.5 years in prison after being involved in the most significant cannabis bust in California history to date, Dennis has a very personal interest in helping others who have been through the prison system. Dennis and Ned combined their mutual love for cannabis and organic agricultural practices, creating one of California's most refined cultivation networks.
As a result, Farmer and the Felon have cultivated top-shelf, terpy, potent cannabis strains like Lava Cake, Apples and Bananas, and Georgia Pie utilizing both indoor and outdoor cultivation practices. With the combination of stellar cannabis and social equity, you can sleep at night knowing that your purchase contributes to the fight for restorative justice. If that doesn't help you get a good night's sleep, a bowl of Farmer and the Felon's Apples and Bananas just might hit the spot.
Michael Ray : Founder of Bloom Farms
Unfortunately, food insecurity is a reality that many people continue to experience. Bloom Farms has made it their calling to provide healthy meals for those who need it most. Michael Ray grew up on his family's farm and was taught to welcome anyone who needed a warm meal.
Michael never strayed from his mission to combat food insecurity when he founded Bloom Farms and developed their 1-for-1 meal program. Bloom Farms donates a healthy meal to someone in need for every purchase of their expertly grown cannabis flower, small-batch concentrates, and hemp-derived tinctures.
1-for-1 Meal Program
Since 2015, giving something back has been at the heart of Bloom Farms' mission. Their 1-for-1 program has provided over three million meals to folks enduring food insecurity and inflating costs. Bloom Farms is just another example of the good that people can bring into the world through hard work and purposefulness.
Luke Anderson and Jake Bullock : Founders of CANN
Although the LGBTQIA community has been actively outspoken on the need for cannabis legalization since the 1980s, queer-owned cannabis brands are few and far between in California these days. CANN has been a guiding light for other LGBTQIA+ cannabis brands to enter the marketplace in a sea of homogenous brands.
After meeting in 2013, co-founders Luke Anderson and Jake Bullock (who mutually identify as queer) came to terms with their reliance on alcohol as a coping mechanism during the most challenging times of their lives. After acknowledging their current struggles with alcohol, Luke and Jake endeavored to create a line of non-alcoholic cannabis products that would appeal to all generations and offer a new alternative to social drinking.
Mission to Promote Diversity
Using carefully selected ingredients, CANN formulated over 20 unique combinations of flavors utilizing 2mg THC and 4mg CBD (entourage effect, anyone?!). Ultimately, Jake and Luke chose their favorites to hit the marketplace: lemon lavender, blood orange cardamom, and grapefruit rosemary. And the rest is history.
Since then, CANN has made it their mission to promote diversity and inclusion in the cannabis culture, not just with their products but also in their marketing. By promoting their products with the help of drag queens and other LGBTQIA+ models, their social media pages are dazzlingly overflowing with queer pride. CANN also partners with other BIPOC cannabis groups like Eaze Momentum and Cannabis for Black Lives, which further exemplifies their pursuit of respect and equality for all.
Nicole and Christine Skibola : Founders of Cosmic View
Cosmic View's origins are the definition of taking a negative and turning it into a positive. Founded by a mother-daughter duo after a traumatic cancer diagnosis, Nicole and Christine Skibola began their quest to discover more science-based, holistic treatments that would aid Nicole in her recovery.
Nicole and her family were raised growing their own food (including making their own olive oil), so her love of food and resourcefulness began at an early age. Once met with the challenge of battling a cancer diagnosis, this mother-daughter duo took matters into their own hands.
Expanding the Concept of Cannabis Wellness
With their existing knowledge of plant-based oils and classic herbalism, Nicole and her mother began developing health, wellness, and recovery products under the name of Cosmic View. Utilizing all-natural ingredients such as coconut, lime, and ginger paired with cannabis concentrates from rosin presses and supercritical CO2 extraction methods, Cosmic View is reimagining what it means to be a cannabis advocate.
Scott Palmer and Kristi Knoblich : Founders of Kiva
Founded in 2010 by Scott Palmer and Kristi Knoblich, Kiva has become the number one edibles brand in the U.S. Kiva produces some of the highest quality edibles using only sustainable ingredients and locally-sourced cannabis to ensure accurately measured doses in each bite. Still, there is a secret ingredient in everything Kiva does that cannot be traditionally measured: integrity.
They hold integrity in the ingredients they select, the cannabis concoctions they craft, and the partnerships they establish with non-profit organizations in the cannabis world. One example was when Kiva and Keep a Breast (along with March and Ash) collaborated in 2021 on the "Check Yourself" initiative to increase breast cancer awareness.
Kiva committed $10,000 in donations and developed the first-of-its-kind collaborative gummy edible in partnership with Keep a Breast to educate consumers by including breast cancer awareness and prevention facts on their packaging.
Weed for Good
As if that's not enough to support a company like Kiva, they also partner with Weed for Good, a cannabis non-profit organization based in San Francisco. Weed for Good, along with Kiva and other local non-profits, provides low-cost (and even free) cannabis for terminally ill consumers who may not have the means of acquiring cannabis in any other way.
Weed for Good also works with hospitals to cultivate an open forum where activists and medical professionals can exchange ideas around the efficacy of medical cannabis, which also benefits the local population.
If Kiva partnering with non-profit organizations focused on health and wellness isn't indicative of their philanthropic values, we don't know what is.
(1) Hiatt, Erin. “Meet Dennis Peron, the father of medical marijuana” Weedmaps, 22 May 2020, https://weedmaps.com/news/2020/05/meet-dennis-peron-the-father-of-medical-marijuana/.
(2) Bartlett, Lindsey. “How A Farmer And A Felon Are Trying To Bring Justice To Cannabis” Green Entrepreneur, 28 May 2020, https://www.greenentrepreneur.com/article/350836.
(3) Gordon, Rachelle. “Cann: The Queer-Owned Brand Reinventing Social Drinking for a Hangover-Free Future” 08 June 2021, https://www.medmen.com/blog/Travel%20&%20Culture/cann-queer-owned-cannabis-brand-reinventing-social-drinking.
DISCLAIMER: THIS SITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE.All information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other materials contained on this site are for informational purposes only. No text, graphics, images or other materials on this site are intended to be professional medical advice or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional medical advice because of something you have viewed on this site.