Under the umbrella of civic organization Cannabis Can!, 41 Ohio cannabis industry and mainstream businesses, nonprofits, organizations, and influencers are part of a Virtual Food Drive to raise funds for Ohio food banks.
More than $2,400.00 in donations have been given directly to the Columbus area Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, and Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati collectively.
Ending Cannabis Stigma in Ohio
Founded in 2019 by Dr. Bridget Williams of Green Harvest Health (Columbus and Cleveland), Ally Reaves of Midwest CannaWomen (Cleveland), and Solomon Oyeyemi of Green Ideas and Wellness (Cincinnati), Cannabis Can! supports Ohio communities and creates connections between the cannabis industry, its supporters, and Ohioans at large through charitable opportunities.
Dr. Williams seeks to reduce the stigma of cannabis and thank Ohioans, saying “Ohio has graciously welcomed cannabis businesses into their communities and we should give back by working together to support our neighbors.” Thus, Cannabis Can! was formed with the mission to strengthen communities by bringing people together, fighting hunger, and protecting planet Earth.
A successful 2019 Holiday Food Drive launched the organization, collected half a ton of canned food, and firmly established one third of its mission – Cannabis Can! Fight Hunger!
Weathering the Unprecedented COVID Storm
For its sophomore charitable campaign, Cannabis Can! organizers did not want to do another food drive, instead of focusing on the second prong of its mission – Cannabis Can! Protect Planet Earth! However, plans to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) by planting trees quickly changed as COVID-19 shutdowns began to increase food insecurity for Ohioans.
When the cannabis industry was deemed essential business by the State of Ohio, the organization immediately felt a responsibility to its primary mission that Cannabis Can! Strengthen Communities! Organizers reached out to food bank partners in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus.
Branded landing pages were established to allow Cannabis Can! supporters to make secure, tax-deductible gifts directly to food banks for immediate use. Dr. Williams believes the mission to help communities is met by both support for neighbors via local food banks and bringing the cannabis industry together in this time of physical distancing.
“We want to emphasize the strength and positive impact our cannabis community brings to Ohio,” says Williams.-Dr. Bridget Williams
Participants in the Holiday Canned Food Drive were contacted, as well as members of The Ohio Cannabis and Hemp Chamber of Commerce, regarding the opportunity to make a difference for fellow Ohioans. The campaign to become a Cannabis Can! Partner for the Virtual Food Drive also ran on social media until the Drive itself started April 20 (yes, that is 4/20).
Partners promote the Virtual Food Drive and offer rewards for donors; in turn, they receive promotion benefits from Cannabis Can! A diverse group formed that includes businesses and organizations not directly related to the cannabis industry.
Traxler Printing became a Partner after being contacted about producing t-shirts for the Virtual Food Drive. Cannabis Can! chose Traxler Printing because of its commitment to sourcing materials from Ohio. Buying local is part of the mission to strengthen and support communities, according to Cannabis Can! Director, Lorien Hill-Purcell.
Cannabis and Community Action
“We were thrilled that a mainstream business we selected because it supports the local economy also wanted to support Cannabis Can!’s mission,” says Hill-Purcell. “This is an incredibly hard time for our community, our country, and the world, and it can be difficult for a lot of people to try to focus on anything positive right now,” says Fritz Fulton, Customer Service Manager at Traxler. “This is a great thing Cannabis Can! is doing and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
The monthly Cannabis Can! Partners Meeting & Happy Hour held on Wednesday, June 17 via Zoom allowed participants from across the state to get Virtual Food Drive updates and socialize. $2,480.05 has been raised, which will help Ohio food banks acquire and distribute up to $22,320 worth of groceries to our neighbors in need.
Cannabis Can! set a fundraising goal of $3,000.00, equivalent to 12,000 meals or $27,000 worth of groceries, by June 30 for their Virtual Food Drive 2020. However, the Drive does not stop at the end of the month; donation pages will be active throughout the year, and links to them are available on the Cannabis Can! website, cannabiscanohio.org.
Cannabis Can! 2020 Virtual Food Drive Partners include:
Cannabis Safety First
Cincinnati Botanical Depot
Cincinnati Medical Marijuana Meetup
Cincy Mom Buds
Cleveland School of Cannabis
Columbus Botanical Depot
Green Harvest Health
Green Ideas and Wellness
Have A Heart Cincy
Health and Wellness Online, LLC
Key to Life Garden
KT Scooter Rentals
Luminous Life Wellness Center, LLC
Medical Marijuana Patient Care, LLC
Murray Road Strong
My Drops of Sanity
Ohio CBD Guy
Ohio Medical Marijuana Physicians Association
Ohio Rights Group
ORG Education Fund
Rise Dispensaries of Ohio
Terrasana Cannabis Co.
Tha Presidential Suite
The Nature Factory
The Ohio Cannabis and Hemp Chamber of Commerce
The Relaxation Place Inc.
Tulip Tree CBD
Vireo Health, LLC
MedicateOH partners with sister non-profit and civic organizations that work to develop free public education programs for Ohio’s medical marijuana patients and we will continue to bring you news about how you can help with these worthy causes. A portion of your donation to MedicateOH today will specifically fund future collaborative education projects between MedicateOH, CannabisCan!, and other cannabis-related community organizations that educate and inspire patients across the Buckeye state. We appreciate your support.
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Lorien Hill-Purcell is Director of Cannabis Can!, an Ohio civic organization. She is a graduate of Smith College and University of Stellenbosch with background in education, nonprofit organizations, and project management. Born a Buckeye, she recently moved back to Ohio and lives with her mother and 99-year-old grandmother in Clintonville.