Illinois communities are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity contributions from a prominent U.S. cannabis company.
Curaleaf on Monday revealed a $950,000 contribution to advance social equity in the Chicago metropolitan area, also known as Chicagoland.
Rooted in Good
The donation amount stems from Curaleaf’s ownership of ten retail locations in Illinois, in accordance with state social equity provisions and requirements.
Curaleaf’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Raheem Uqdah leads the program.
“I am hopeful that Curaleaf, through its partnerships, will be able to demonstrate how to build longstanding and committed relationships with the community,” says Uqdah. “Developing these foundational relationships allows us to build a more diverse company in a range of disciplines from seed to sale and, by extension, help cultivate a more diverse industry.”
Uqdah says that the partnerships will allow Curaleaf to use industry knowledge in the communities to champion policies that increase access and address the drug war’s collateral consequences.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “Black people are 3.6 more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana, despite similar usage rates.”
The ACLU says the rate is roughly the same as it was seven years ago and has worsened in some states since 2010.
Funding the Community
Funds from Curaleaf’s Rooted in Good commitment will go to six local Chicago partners.
The Illinois Cannabis Business Development Fund will receive $300,000 to provide training and technical assistance for prospective entrepreneurs who want to apply for cannabis business establishment licenses.
Olive-Harvey College will receive $250,000 to begin a cannabis education program, paid internships, and a scholarship program.
Englewood-based non-profit urban farm Growing Home will receive $100,000 to continue providing on-the-job training, job readiness, and assistance with criminal records and medical needs.
A USDA-certified operation, Growing Home provides local access to nutrition education and affordable produce.
A community college in North Chicagoland will receive $100,000 to develop a cannabis education and mentoring program and provide internships and job opportunities for students.
The Greater West Town Community Development Project will receive $100,000 to provide education and economic opportunities for residents of drug war-affected communities.
Cara Chicago will receive $100,000 for its work with people affected by poverty, domestic violence, homelessness, incarceration, and recovery.