Advocacy First, Industry Second

December 22, 2016 | G Takagawa

Green Rush Consulting COO Sarah Ceti presents Drug Policy Alliance representative Amanda Reiman at the East Bay Canna Community First Friday.


As the cannabis industry grows, many of our members are trying to create a balance between its social justice roots and the profit potential of this newly legalized plant. However, the industry’s rapid growth is exacerbating tension between long-time cannabis advocates and newcomers capitalizing on new laws without appreciating the industry’s difficult history.


For this reason, we remind all of our clients: By joining the cannabis industry, you are also an advocate.


We see three key areas that our industry should continue to support: patients, social justice, and the environment. We also recommend looking for ways to make a difference within your local community.


In the context of continued federal prohibition and in the current uncertain political climate, particularly with the appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, we suggest revisiting our industry’s advocacy roots, and finding a way to give back and move forward.


At Green Rush Consulting, we have spent 2016 setting the foundation for our own local actions. In 2017, we are supporting the launch of Green Room Oakland, a project by the East Bay Cannabis Community. This new community center will host local cannabis non-profit groups, with an emphasis on supporting underserved communities and promoting social justice.


Interested in helping the East Bay Cannabis Community? Reach out to


How will you support the advocacy roots of the cannabis industry? Tell us in the comments!


Some ideas include:


Support for Patients


Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. Donate or become a member today.


The ASA promotes the rights of cannabis patients. Their Patient Focused Certification is a third-party certification program and professional training that promotes the adoption of safe and reasonable industry standards from seed to consumption. Consider seeking certification for your business.


Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is a non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Donate today and sign up for their updates.



Support for Social Justice


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been working for nearly 100 years to protect and expand civil liberties through legal action, legislative advocacy, and public education. With the new administration, their work is even more important this season. Donate or become a member today.


Another opportunity to continue to bring fruit to the social justice roots of the cannabis industry is to help to improve the lives of abused and neglected children.  The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) and its state and local member programs advocate for abused and neglected children. Donating to this organization will help provide safe, and permanent homes for so many children that deserve a second chance at a good life.


Support for the Environment


Think Global, Act local. Whatever State you hope to operate in, identify environmental groups working locally to help maintain a healthy balance between industry and ecology. You can donate to them or you may even decide to make them a part of your business’s charitable giving program.


For cultivators, take the time to research third-party certification groups, such as Clean Green or the Cannabis Conservancy. Learn about biodynamics and integrated pest management.


For other cannabis businesses, talk to contacts in your supply chain about their environmental practices. We’ve seen a lot of environmental degradation as a result of the underground nature of the cannabis industry, and we continue to see pesticide use that harms patients. How can we do better?



Support in your local community


Closer to home, showing up for local city council meetings and sharing your needs and concerns while hearing other people’s perspectives is important and crucial in order to draft regulations that make sense for everyone.


Join your local chamber of commerce and get to know other business owners in your community. In some states and local municipalities special cannabis chambers of commerce have been formed.

Examples include:




If you don’t find one in your area you can join the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.


Meeting others who are working in the industry is priceless. You can learn so much from each other save yourself time and money learning from other’s mistakes.


Women Grow is one powerful networking resource that has helped many, and not just women, do just that.



Start conversations.

Ask questions.

Learn and share. 

Give back.