By Bri Smith for Fat Nugs Magazine
Nearly one month ago, President Biden delivered the announcement that he would be pardoning those who had been charged with federal non-violent cannabis possession crimes. Although many praised the news at first, it soon became evident that not a single person would be freed from a prison sentence. At this realization, many professionals in the cannabis industry made public calls for action, to push politicians further in the direction of expungement, legislative change, and the re-scheduling or de-scheduling of cannabis as a drug.
One organization, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), was thrilled to hear so many voices calling for legislative change. But one thing struck a chord with Debbie Churgai, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, who spelled it out like this.
“We’ve been fighting for medical access for years at the legislative level. We’ve seen our hard work and persistence pay off little by little. During Covid, ASA sent letters to every governor in the U.S. to keep cannabis essential - and they did! It was a huge moment of celebration for us, and a milestone that we knew could influence change,” she explained. “But doing this work takes funding, and we are a non-profit organization. We’ve seen all the major brands speak out about the need for pressure, but out of the donations we’ve received - nearly all of them have come from patients, advocates, and volunteers. To date this year, we have only received a handful of corporate donations.”
Maybe the more shocking revelation is that an ASA corporate sponsorship starts at only $1,000 a year, or $100 a month. With United States cannabis retail sales projected to reach $33 billion by the end of 2022, and an illicit market estimated to be worth nearly $47 billion, a $1,000 corporate sponsorship seems like an affordable way to support legislative change and the fight for medical access. In the same breath, it’s well understood that cannabis brands face high costs to merely become licensed, let alone fully operate in the green. Still, with many organizations having a charitable element to their brand values, ASA hopes their new awareness campaign will encourage brands to sponsor - even at the base level.