Beyoncé’s foundation BeyGood and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have given a Maryland-based cannabis company a grant for $10,000. The BeyGood/NAACP grants specifically support Black-owned businesses affected by COVID-19 and The Gift, a cannabis company operating out of Beltsville, Maryland were one of the grantees.
In a press release, The Gift explained that 2020 was intended to be the year that the company, which was founded in 2018, opened its manufacturing center and “relaunched” many of its products. The manufacturing center in Beltsville still opened during the summer despite economic concerns related to COVID-19 but the $10,000, The Gift explained, will be used toward a new sales platform, sustainable packaging for its products (hemp oil, hemp balm, hemp bath salts), and Project 545, The Gift’s “educational platform created by The Gift with the goal of educating the public on the biodiversity of plants and how Whole Plant Extractions can play a role in self-care.”
The Gift celebrated the grant on its Instagram: “The grant is helping us re-launch our new sustainable packaging, launch a new website, and our education platform Project 545. We hope that our work will not only bring relief to millions of people but also break down the stigma and the damage that was done to black and brown communities from the ‘War on Drugs’.”
The Gift CEO and cofounder Cory Moore stressed how additional funding is crucial due to the pandemic and also because of the severe limitations to how cannabis companies can receive financial support from banks due to cannabis being federally illegal.
“Companies in the legal cannabis industry face higher costs for just about everything from insurance to banking, even if they are working strictly with hemp not marijuana,” Moore said in a press release. “Banks are reluctant to lend to us because the regulations around hemp are new and still developing in some respects. Black‐owned businesses are challenged even further when it comes to financing. This grant from NAACP and Beyonce has made us feel seen, and we are grateful to them for the opportunities we will create with these funds.”
Last week, Beyoncé’s husband and frequent collaborator Jay Z launched a cannabis brand called Monogram. First announced back in October, Monogram is a collaboration with California-based cannabis brand Caliva and will offer and products are officially on sale as of December 10. Cannabis advocacy and awareness surrounding the racist war on drugs within the world of hip-hop has been common in lyrics, music videos, and movies for decades, but the entrepreneurial spirit of rap has in recent years collided with cannabis.
Earlier this year, The Outlaw Report spoke to Select Cannabis brand’s Jason White during an expungement clinic in West Baltimore organized by Select. White had been previously employed by Beats By Dre and Select Brand’s 501(c)3, The Possible Plan was announced in a full-page advertisement in the New York Times’ 1619 Project issue. White mentioned “the long history of disenfranchisement” regarding cannabis and explained that this is why cannabis companies must also operate as advocates and opponents of the war on drugs.
“It’s important for us not to just come as some wholesale brand. We have to come and be aware and get the context of everything,” White told The Outlaw Report earlier this year. “I always say, ‘Let’s learn and earn into a space’—and this is earning.”