Cannabis Industry and Social Responsibility Initiatives – Hurdles and Solutions

Social initiatives and giving back to the communities where organizations operate is anticipated from businesses today, but what happens when charitable organizations aren’t happy to acknowledge your company’s donations? It’s a barrier that legal cannabis license owners have looked for years. Let’s explore how the cannabis industry and social responsibility can work hand in hand to change the world better.

cannabis industry and philanthropy

“Doing good is good for business and society.”

Although marijuana is presently legal for medical or recreational (or both) use in Canada, Europe, and most states of the USA, numerous non-profit organizations either aren’t allowed to acknowledge donations from marijuana businesses or don’t desire to get those donations. That is often the case even in the 11 US states (in addition to Washington, DC), where marijuana is legal for recreational use. 

Cannabis businesses that need to offer back to their communities or specific charitable organizations often hesitate with pushback from the very groups that are so often desperately trying to raise funds. 

Ironically, numerous states oblige that cannabis license holders have detailed plans for charitable donations and volunteer work. 

For instance, in Massachusetts, license applicants must outline point by point to provide a positive community impact within their applications. They review each program as a component of the application and licensing process. 

But that is not all. Cannabis businesses that need to give back (and might be required to do so) often hit obstructions before they even approach a non-profit to talk about potential donations. 

How about we take a gander at the obstacles that cannabis firms need to explore and the risks that charities need to assess before accepting a donation from a business operating in the cannabis industry. 

The Barriers on Cannabis Industry and Social Responsibility

As of now, cannabis businesses need to break some considerable barriers to find non-profit organizations to work with: 

#1 – Federal Laws

The FDA labels cannabis (aka marijuana or weed) as a Schedule 1 substance, which causes numerous non-profit organizations to refuse marijuana organizations’ donations. To get around this obstruction, some cannabis organizations have needed to use a “middle man” to contribute. 

For example, Miller Rail Farms wanted to donate to a different non-profit organization, which they donated to a primary school in Calaveras County, California. They used the funds to re-open pre-school and music programs, but had the cannabis organization not donated the money to the outsider first, the school would not have acknowledged it. 

#2 – Taxes

Taxation does not support cannabis businesses to include some business costs on their tax returns, including charitable donations. That implies there is no tax benefit for making donations if you own a cannabis-related business.

There are some proposals to get around this roadblock. The government should treat charitable donations from cannabis organizations in the same way as other businesses. Otherwise, fewer organizations are probably going to seek after philanthropy. 

#3 – Types of Donations

Cannabis organizations can give back through money-related donations, product donations, and donations of their representatives’ time. Numerous cannabis organizations have extraordinary accomplishments in donating time. 

For example, in Massachusetts, Canna Provisions has had numerous financial donations turned down, but its representatives have made the most opportunities to contribute human resources to charitable projects. 

Regardless of how far we go with the industry and the tech that supports it, the most challenging knowledge gap is the contradictory viewpoint on cannabis.

Additionally, California’s Bloom Farms group consents to become volunteers to help nearby servicing projects and food banks. Besides, Bloom Farms donates meals to a nearby food bank for every product purchased at its dispensary. 

Different charities will acknowledge these kinds of donations from cannabis businesses, but money is another story. For instance, Colorado Children’s Hospital Foundation has stated that it won’t accept cannabis organizations’ financial contributions since banks won’t handle cannabis money. 

Donation Risks Associated With Non-Profit Organizations

Numerous non-profit organizations mark donations from cannabis organizations as a risk they’re not willing to take. Let’s have a look at the causes for that:

#1 – Reputation

Numerous non-profit organizations don’t have any desire to associate with cannabis organizations. There is as yet a stigma in society identified with marijuana, albeit an April 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey found that 84% of enlisted US voters support marijuana legalization. 

As long as marijuana is under Schedule 1 drug, this perception will probably not change for some charitable organizations. 

#2 – Funding

For philanthropic organizations that depend on national funding, accepting donations from organizations involved in an industry that sells a federally illegal product isn’t an alternative. If such contributions are acknowledged, the non-profit could lose its federal funding and close its doors. 

Isn’t it ironic?

The same reason is real for charitable organizations that depend on donations from individuals and huge organizations who disapprove of marijuana. Until the stigma surrounding marijuana changes, this risk will continue to prevent non-profits organizations from accepting money from cannabis industries. 

#3 – 501(c)3 tax filing status

This filing status isn’t easy to obtain, and once a charitable organization receives that status, the non-profit doesn’t have any desire to lose it. Charity from a business that deals in a federally illegal substance could put a non-profit organization’s 501(c)3 status at risk

Therefore, some organizations won’t consider cannabis-related donations at all. Others may explore the potential risks with their attorneys before making a decision. 

Why Are Charities Refusing Cannabis Industry’s Contribution to Society?

There’s no denying that the growing accomplishment of the cannabis industry has prompted some generous returns. Whether through specialized programs for veterans or funding for public schools, organizations have put tons of money and resources towards society’s improvement. However, numerous charities are as yet shunning contributions from marijuana organizations, even those situated in legal states. 

cannabis industry and giving back to society

The Forbes story of Organa Brands stated about its massively profitable cannabis company that wanted to contribute to the neighborhood community, which discovered that charities were unwilling to acknowledge their helping hand. Furthermore, those who hesitantly consented to take donations from the business would probably do so if they anonymously get it! 

Several organizations dismissed donations from Organa Brands, including Wounded Warriors, American Cancer Society, and the Children’s Hospital Foundation. The company’s president, Chris Driessen, stated that the refusal “was an insult” and sent a rude message that implied, “you’re a drug dealer!” 

In any case, some organizations have shown appreciation by agreeing to work with Organa Brands, which is the parent organization for an assortment of cannabis businesses, for example, The Magic BuzzBakkedO.penVAPEOrgana Labs, and District Edibles.

One gathering that greeted the pot venture wholeheartedly was the Denver Rescue Mission, an organization that works with the needy. Organa Brands was excited not just to donate money but also to provide volunteers on Thanksgiving. 

Cannabis Industry and Social Responsibility – How to Work Around Barriers?

So what choices do cannabis businesses have if they can’t contribute to organizations that need support? 

Non-profit organizations need more than money to function. CBD and cannabis organizations could provide labor by offering workers and colleagues as volunteer staff. It would be extraordinary for the two organizations’ image to diffuse the lazy stoner’s sentiment

It would also allow the two communities to crossover and start conversations about how to lift cannabis prohibition, how supportive the plant is, and at last, how the two sides prioritize generosity and human life’s advancement. 

Cannabis brands can also stay with nearby organizations to zero in on bettering their community. That would allow both to make a long-term relationship and use each other’s brands as a platform for community projects. 

If a brand doesn’t have a chance to make that kind of partnership, the following alternative is to connect through a middle man, same as Cannabis Marketing Inc. and Canna Make a Difference‘s matchmaking service. They spare organizations time by making plans and finding a suitable non-profit to cooperate.

The Role of Cannabis Charities

When difficult situations arise for donating, sometimes the next best deed is for the cannabis industry or supporters to begin their non-profit organization. They don’t gain admittance to federal funding or the pined for 501(c)(3) tax-exception status, but they can go for self-funding and volunteers. 

Some charities support universal causes outside of the cannabis industry. As grasped before, cannabis organizations like Bloom Farm in California offer back to communities through free meals to the hungry. 

Organizations like Peake Releaf in Rockville, Maryland, and Trilogy Wellness in Ellicott City, Maryland, contribute to neighborhood groups like Back to School Supply Drives and Equipment for Children.

Some charities mainly concentrate on donating to cannabis-specific causes, particularly removing cannabis prohibition and the ‘war on drugs.’ That includes addressing racial disparities (like the mission of Green Soul Foundation) or providing free and affordable cannabis to weak socioeconomics like veterans and low-income patients. 

Like The Association of Cannabis Specialists, other companies contribute free education to influencers in legal industries (like law, fitness, and physicians) that influence cannabis. These cannabis charities push for reform, protect the consumer, and increase accessibility to the plant. 

Even One Powerful Voice Can Break The Stigma Around Cannabis

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice can become powerful” —Malala Yousafzai

Prohibition sucks, and it’s preventing underfunded, underpowered non-profits from accessing help. The cannabis industry makes a considerable profit and won’t stop growing, except most legislators have a change of heart!

About the resonance of giving back, philanthropy adapts cannabis organizations. It proves that organizations value the overall community and societal advancement. 

Besides, it also forms a connection for the individuals who are careful about the plant and aides destigmatize assumptions and worries that some consider toward the industry, especially when it shows up in their communities. 

Your attention to these organizations helps break down the stigma of cannabis and gets the world closer to the plant’s easier accessibility. Although giving money can be a point of disappointment, being versatile and driving to better lives—both inside and outside of the cannabis community—empowers cannabis organizations to give back in other manners. 

The process may continue with volunteering time, or connecting with smaller, nearby non-profits, or building their non-profits. 

The Future of Cannabis Industry and Social Responsibility

cannabis industry and social responsibility

As the cannabis industry grows and markets develop, marijuana organizations produce profits that they could direct to different non-profit organizations. 

Philanthropy is useful for cannabis organizations. If rules around tax change, money-related and product donations could also help cannabis business tax situations — as they do for companies in other industries. 

Besides, philanthropy provides brand reputation support and can assist raise with branding mindfulness. For instance, some crowds have shown that it does not just search out organizations that contribute but also faithful to brands that prioritize profit-with-reason. 

Such corporate philanthropy is also useful for charities because it can significantly help financial or resource (volunteers and products) donations. 

At this moment, what’s standing in the way are laws. It lists marijuana on the Schedule 1 controlled substance. It doesn’t help cannabis organizations and can even damage them in individual states. 

The bottom line is that there is capital to contribute and charities that need it. The subsequent stage is finding a legal method to bring them together to prosper a mutually beneficial partnership.

Final Verdict

We have started to expose the truth here, and the opportunities for cannabis industries to contribute to society is widespread. 

Beyond the civil prejudice of a failed war on cannabis, most individuals have numerous misconceptions and concerns that they need to REPLACE with modernized facts and reliable information.

Until we can beat that with facts, science, measurable actions toward political and everyday de-stigmatization, the cannabis industry may continue to hit strategy blunders. Without crucial social progress and political reform, the cannabis industries can, unfortunately, do a limited amount of philanthropy.

Despite being left with the stigmatized name of working in marijuana, some firms strive to support charitable organizations. They do it in the same fashion that any kind-hearted person or business would do. 

While many charities have straightforwardly received contributions from the marijuana industry, the public must initially dismantle the plant’s defamation, which can genuinely make a difference.

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