Eaze Announces Major Expansion Of Social Equity Menu In Los Angeles

Menu expansion promotes Black-owned cannabis brands, establishes industry-leading support for equity license holders, and encourages conscious consumption

CALIFORNIA: Eaze, California’s largest marketplace for legal cannabis, today announced expanded efforts to support an equitable cannabis industry: A major menu expansion in Los Angeles featuring Black and POC-owned brands, and the Social Equity Partners Program, a multi-point initiative to assist and elevate equity license holders.

Eaze’s Social Equity Partners Menu, which already features well-recognized brands Cloud 9, KGB Reserve, and SF Roots in Northern California, is debuting all of its equity brands in the greater Los Angeles market and welcoming LA-based Dreamt, Blaqstar Farms, and Bay Area-based James Henry SF and Oakland Extracts to the menu.

The menu makes it easy for consumers to support a diverse industry, and address the War on Drugs’ disproportionate effects on the BIPOC community, by putting their dollars toward these brands. Customers can simply visit Eaze.com to order products, which range from unique flower to prerolls to a sleep-aid vape pen.

In a first move for the cannabis industry, Eaze announced its multi-point Social Equity Partners Program, which provides brands with financial and operational support to help them scale and succeed on Eaze and beyond. Specifically, Social Equity Partners are eligible for a variety of benefits, including:

  • Preferred financing and payment structuring
  • Discounted access to Eaze Partner Portal data
  • Incorporation into the Eaze supply chain
  • Marketing and public relations support

Brands on Eaze’s Social Equity Menu must either hold a social equity license, or be actively engaged in the application process for an equity license in a city or county. Since Eaze launched its equity menu in the Bay Area market, social equity brands have been well received by consumers with high and consistent demand. To date, social equity brands have sold nearly $1M of products on the Eaze platform.

“We’re proud to offer these incredible brands industry-leading terms that support their growth by addressing chronic small business challenges that include access to capital, tight cash flow, and customer education,” said Darius Kemp, Eaze’s Head of Equity and Change. “Shopping these brands is one of the best ways consumers can support equity and consume conscientiously.”

“Consumers are more thoughtful than ever about the products they consume and ensuring they come from a brand that aligns with their values, and cannabis is no exception,” said LA-based Blaqstar Farms’ Founder and CEO Bryant Mitchell. “Eaze is an exceptional partner for Black-owned cannabis brands, allowing us to step into the spotlight and reach consumers who not only want a fantastic product but want to know their dollars are going towards a new generation of Black cannabis entrepreneurs.”

Eaze’s equity menu includes:

  • Blaqstar Farms: The son of the first Black police officer in the city of Orange, Texas, Bryant Mitchell grew up and saw many peers, family members and friends lost to and affected by the War on Drugs. It wasn’t until 2001, after he graduated college and went into consulting in the Bay Area, that he became immersed in cannabis and saw the results of pain relief and so many other benefits. These professional and life experiences led Bryant to establish Blaqstar Farms in 2012 in Los Angeles. A selection of Blaqstar Farms products, including premium flower The Glue, Thin Mint and Orange Rose to prerolls Boss OG, Doc OG, Super Sour and F3, are available the week of September 14 on Eaze.
  • Cloud9: Degi Simmons, founder of Oakland-based Cloud9, has been involved in cannabis commerce and culture since the earliest days of Proposition 215. As a beneficiary of Oakland’s Koncepts Cultural Gallery, an organization promoting art and education funded by Better Us dispensary, Degi partnered with cultivator and DJ Clayton Whitaker to form Cloud9 in 2010. A selection of Cloud9 flower, featuring Sour Diesel for sativa and Runtz for indica, are now available on Eaze.
  • Dreamt is an award-winning science-backed sleep aid created by Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, a nationally recognized cannabis scientist. Dreamt’s 45-night pen and 30-night tincture contain THC, CBD, melatonin, valerian root, and terpenes, and are now available on Eaze.
  • James Henry SF: Co-founders Henry Alston and James Victor are on a mission to improve the stigma surrounding cannabis consumption through quality branded products and Black entrepreneurship. By partnering with accomplished medical doctors and scientists who understand the medical value of endocannabinoid therapy, James Henry SF promotes responsible consumption for a responsible lifestyle. A selection of James Henry SF flower, including hybrids Donnie B and True Ryder and social flower Lemon Jack and Tropical Slice, are now available on Eaze.
  • KGB Reserve: KGB stands for killer green bud, the main ingredient used in all of their products. As a self funded equity company based out of Oakland, KGB Reserve is grateful for its place in the legal cannabis space. They stand for unity and believe in equality. Currently known for their top shelf infused products, KGB Reserve has consistently been on Eaze’s list of top 10 pre-roll brands in the Bay Area since its launch. KGB Reserve’s Sauce Pen, Bambino and Torpedo products are now available on Eaze.
  • Oakland Extracts: Oakland Extracts, a Black-owned business, began as a way to bring the community together. Founders Terryn Niles Buxton and Aaron Tran saw prices climbing with legalization and realized there was a need for people in Oakland to have access to quality cannabis at an affordable price. Over the years, they fine-tuned a proprietary technique that allows for maximum terpene retention. Oakland Extracts’ Red Congolese Cookie Crumble Wax is now on Eaze.
  • SF Roots: Founder and CEO Morris Kelly started in the cannabis industry 13 years ago making edibles under Proposition 215 for local collectives, then launched Greencuredelivery cannabis delivery service in 2015. “Equity is about leveling the playing field for companies who paved the way for this economic green rush,” said Kelly. “We’re this industry’s originators, it’s about getting consumers to support equity brands every day. We are partnering with Eaze to ensure that happens.”

Eaze has long worked to help build a more equitable cannabis industry. With access to capital serving as one of many barriers for new entrepreneurs in the space, Eaze launched Momentum—a business accelerator to cultivate the growth and success of underrepresented cannabis business founders—in September 2019. Eaze’s social impact work also includes a partnership with Code for America to help clear 250,000 low level criminal offenses; a permanent 25% discount for U.S. veterans; partnerships with Success Centers SF and the San Francisco AIDS project; and a $25,000 contribution to the NAACP, among others.

To learn more about Eaze’s Social Equity Partners Program, read our latest blog from Darius Kemp.

Terrapin Announces Plans For Hoboken Dispensary

Begins local process for medical cannabis with community impact plan

NEW JERSEY: Terrapin has announced plans to open a medical cannabis dispensary in Hoboken, with a social equity community impact plan that has the support of the community’s nonprofit sector.

Minority-owned Terrapin has plans to open a dispensary in Hoboken at 86 River St. After nearly three years of outreach to the community, Terrapin is ready to begin the local zoning process, preparing paperwork to move through local zoning boards. Terrapin wanted to wait until it had the support of the North Jersey community before making any announcements.

“As always, Terrapin is focused on planting local roots,” said Chris Woods, the founder, owner and CEO of Terrapin. “We are so thankful to our partners in the Hoboken community who have welcomed us with open arms. We are excited to serve these communities as responsible corporate actors in meeting the needs of cannabis patients, while also leaving a positive community footprint.”

An expanded cannabis industry means potential for long-lasting community partnerships. As part of its commitment to local North Jersey communities, Terrapin has identified several nonprofits and organizations to work with to create a beneficial footprint for its neighbors. Much of the focus is on diversity in workforce and economic development.

Nonprofits and organizations Terrapin partnered with include: 

  • WomenRising, a Jersey City-based nonprofit that assists women and families in North Jersey with counseling, economic development and advocacy. Terrapin has pledged to assist in creating an employment pipeline by connecting WomenRising alumni to potential employment opportunities within Terrapin. Terrapin also has pledged financial support to the organization.
  • Oasis, A Haven for Women and Children. The Paterson organization’s mission is to change the lives of women and children by breaking the cycle of poverty through compassionate programs designed to feed, clothe, educate and empower women and children in need. Terrapin will work on an employment pipeline with the organization, while providing volunteers in the form of directors to develop mentorships and training.
  • Project Help, a group dedicated to serving homeless veterans in northern New Jersey. The nonprofit has been able to expand services to include financial support and legal assistance. One initiative Terrapin has pledged to support is to assist veterans suffering from PTSD. There has been a strong nexus between medical cannabis legalization and assisting veterans, and Terrapin would like to see that momentum grow. Terrapin helped to launch VetForce in Pennsylvania, a security firm for the cannabis industry. Terrapin has plans to assist with a similar program in New Jersey where veterans run security for the cannabis industry.
  • Hudson Pride Center, the LGBTQ+ Community Center for Hudson County. Hudson Pride offers a variety of health, support and social services to the LGBTQ+ community. Hudson County has the largest LGBTQ+ population in the State of New Jersey and Terrapin has long stood as an ally to this community. We will work to educate the local community about the medical efficacy of cannabis, especially for conditions that might be relevant to the LGBTQ+ community, like anxiety and HIV/AIDS. Terrapin will also work with the group on a jobs pipeline.
  • United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). Terrapin has entered into a Labor Peace Agreement with the Union to avoid labor disputes and to promote harmonious labor relations.

“Terrapin recognizes that partnerships between the business and nonprofit sectors create synergies which benefit individuals and the larger community,” said Roseann Mazzeo, S.C., WomenRising Executive Director. “Workforce development is critical to our mission of assisting women and their families to achieve self-sufficiency and live safe, productive and fulfilling lives. We look forward to working with Terrapin in developing additional opportunities to support this mission.”

Social equity job fair 
Terrapin also has plans for a job fair with an emphasis on social equity. Terrapin will model the program after a similar event the company held in Michigan, where Terrapin provided resources to socio-disadvantaged communities looking for access to a new cannabis industry. Drawing upon our experience with Color of Cannabis, Terrapin will place a focus on diversity as it establishes operations in Hoboken.

Color of Cannabis provides technical business support, mentorship training, and partnerships for people of color and stakeholders negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition. The group will oversee a social equity informational session and resume-building workshop for Terrapin in New Jersey, holding the event virtually if COVID-19 prohibits in-person gatherings. Those who attend the informational session will receive valuable resume-building and interview tips to improve chances of employment. Participants will be encouraged to attend a Terrapin job fair and Color of Cannabis will screen resumes to ensure diversity in hiring.

Support from community leaders 
Terrapin partnered with several high-profile figures in the Hoboken community, including Joseph Castelo, a second-generation descendant of Galician Spanish immigrants who dreamed about building up the community that gave him and his family so many opportunities. Joe, a filmmaker and entrepreneur, has provided fundraising platforms and events for GLAAD, The Water Project, the Boys and Girls Club, and he has donated to numerous local charities. Antique Bar and Bakery, the Hoboken restaurant Joe co-owns, donates food to the community’s homeless shelter. Antique’s senior employees and Joe have also mentored local youth interested in pursuing careers in the restaurant business. Joe himself has extended employment opportunities to ex-inmates, an exercise that has been tremendously successful.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with Chris Woods and his team at Terrapin,” Castelo said. “Terrapin’s culture aligns strongly with our commitment to serving the local community. We are thrilled to enter into a partnership to work with Terrapin to bring more opportunity and diversity to Hoboken’s workforce, while also offering access to patients who need medical cannabis. We look forward to a long relationship.”

Accountability
Terrapin has established several boards to reflect a commitment to Hoboken. The volunteer-based advisory boards include counseling on community impact, workforce development, and medical cannabis efficacy. The boards will convene at least twice a year to ensure that Terrapin is remaining true to its mission of positively impacting the local community, while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of medical cannabis.

Terrapin’s history as a pioneer
Founded in Boulder, Colo. in 2009 as one of the first licensed medical marijuana providers in the country, Terrapin has led the industry as a pioneer. Expanding to New Jersey serves as a homecoming for founder Chris Woods, whose family resides in the state. What started as a one-man business in an office park in South Boulder has blossomed into a national company with more than 300 employees.

Terrapin operates six dispensaries and four cultivation/processing facilities in Colorado. In addition to its Colorado operations, Terrapin operates a licensed grower/processor medical marijuana facility in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, and it recently launched a medical cannabis grower facility in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“We have a proven track record that ensures that we will fit in with the fabric of this community,” Woods added. “The relationships we have developed with the community allow us to serve as a responsible partner who is invested in the future of Hoboken and North Jersey.”