Fostering Connections & Exchanging Best Practices

Providing the necessary foundational experience and knowledge to gain employment and excel within the cannabis industry can be challenging as the field continues to emerge in the legalized marketplace. As part of our promise to provide opportunities to those most impacted by prohibition, we are proud to partner with Success Centers, a California-based workforce development agency serving community members experiencing hardships. 

Through our partnership, we hosted members of the Success Centers in hands-on educational experiences, including a tour of our San Francisco dispensary, an explanation of our house and featured equity brands, sales associate training (focusing on the nuances of cannabis’ effect on the body), the role of security and time for Q&A. The students also observed a sales pitch from Sanctuary Farms, an equity brand now sold within our California dispensaries, providing insight into what retailers look for when determining the brands to offer. These transformative lessons have allowed our team to communicate the various positions available within the industry’s retail setting and engage in invaluable conversation around best practices to succeed in such roles and beyond.

In addition to retail-focused training sessions, we joined forces with the Equity Trade Network and the City and County of San Francisco Office of Cannabis to increase awareness of existing equity brands while also sharing information on how to establish an equity brand. With the support of the Equity Trade Network (serving as the certifier for classifying equity brands in California since 2020), we have been able to reduce financial barriers for Success Centers’ students hoping to create a legal cannabis brand by breaking down a complex process with lessons on how to establish an equity brand.

It is essential to recognize that the business we operate in is not federally legal, and the United States federal government continues to classify cannabis as a Schedule 1 Substance. With this classification, countless individuals remain in prison for non-violent offenses. Furthermore, as the effects of cannabis convictions often prevent entry for such individuals into the state-legalized field, we feel it is our responsibility to provide a pathway for people with cannabis convictions in now-legalized markets to enter the industry. 

Through our sponsorship of NJ 420, we provided a $10,000 donation to further support their ongoing expungement efforts throughout the state of New Jersey. Continuing our impact on the New Jersey market, we also provided a $1,500 sponsorship for Best Buds’ yearly Expungement Clinic which helps subsidize the cost of clearing records in the state.

Additionally, as a sponsor of 40 Tons, we invested in our west coast communities with cannabis-focused networking, leadership-led panel discussions on record expungement, in-person discussions with recruiters, photographers for professional headshots, resume support, and even assistance in applying for available positions.

With Expunge Colorado, along with a $12,500 contribution, we helped 11 members of our Colorado community in having their cannabis convictions sealed - reinstating numerous employment opportunities and civil liberties. While the work is far from done, we look forward to continuing to support our communities in providing life-altering restorative justice, educational and entrepreneurship opportunities.

As part of our promise to continue to provide avenues to enter the cannabis industry, and in an effort to building a cannabis industry of the future that celebrates diversity and ensures that a multitude of voices are represented, we have partnered with educational and professional development organizations across the country to help prepare communities affected by prohibition through education and networking opportunities.

Representatives from our Massachusetts-based retail, operations and compliance teams partnered with Bunker Hill Community College to host informational sessions to open students’ minds to potential career paths and share essential knowledge to excel within the cannabis industry. These presentations provide students with an in-depth, first-hand account of the various components of the legalized cannabis workforce and necessary information to gain employment while empowering students to hit the ground running once landing their first job.

Focus areas included points of entry into the industry, entrepreneurial opportunities, employment opportunities within regulated cannabis, as well as opportunities to ask current Columbia Care staff questions on their day-to-day life in the field. We are proud to inspire and supply pathways into the regulated cannabis workforce.

Our Illinois retail team has joined forces with Fiesta Del Sol’s Cannabis Expo, a Chicago-based multi-day cannabis business, entrepreneurship and educational conference aimed at providing essential resources to catalyze community members’ entry into the industry. As part of the conference, our Area General Manager for the Midwest region, LizMarie Palomo, joined a panel to share her perspective on “Latinas in Cannabis: Carving Out Your Space in the Cannabis Industry.”

With the help of our national team, we are committed to sharing best practices from industry insiders and laying the foundation for success in cannabis. We are immensely grateful for their dedication and outreach to help curate the next generation of cannabis professionals and the industry.