“The message was essentially you’re a drug dealer.” That’s what Organa Brands President Chris Driessen told Forbes when describing the response from charities to his company’s proposed donations.
Organa Brands has had hella success in the last few years. They make the ubiquitous O.penVape and expand into other concentrate and edible brands like Organa Labs, District Edibles, Bakked, and Magic Buzz. So they wanted to give something back to the community in the form of charitable donations. The only problem was that most charities weren’t having it.
Many charities either outright refused the donation or insisted they would take it only on the condition of anonymity. Among the organizations who turned Organa down were the American Cancer Society, Children’s Hospital Foundation, and Wounded Warriors.
“It felt like a slap in the face,” Driessen said. “The optics were more important than helping the people.”
That isn’t to say that “optics” weren’t on the mind of Organa Brands either. As Forbes pointed out, a public donation to a charity donation could help legitimize a company in the cannabis business, an industry where even finding a bank to do business with you is a problem.
As Forbes wrote, “Was the donation to be public in order to pat the company on its back for its generosity or was it simply an attempt to be considered as legitimate as other businesses? Does a public donation bring more attention to the company making the donation or does it bring attention to the charity itself?”
Fortunately, Organa brands did find some organizations willing to take their money and put it to good use. The company gave both money and volunteer man hours to Denver Rescue Mission, a nonprofit which aids the homeless community.
Grow for Vets also worked with the extracts company. Organa Brands hosted a golf tournament for the organization earlier this week. The difference between Grow for Vets and some other charities mentioned above is that GFV actually makes serving the medical marijuana patient community its main goal. The organization helps get medical cannabis to vets.
For vets who can’t afford their MMJ (unlike opioids, marijuana is not subsidized by veterans’ medical benefits), GFV helps pay for their subscriptions. For vets who live in a state without a medical marijuana program, the group helps them gain access to hemp-based CBD extract.
Photo via Flickr user Dank Depot