We’re two white female founders who’ve experienced very little barrier to entry while launching a business that celebrates cannabis as a wellness tool. But it’s not lost on us (nor is it anywhere near okay) that we’re able to (try to) profit off of this plant, while people (majority Black and Brown people) sit in jail cells because of the same exact plant.
Equity and justice in cannabis have been foundational beliefs of ours since day one of Poplar. It’s just plain wrong to only experience the upside of an industry that has hurt so many, without doing our part to right the wrongs of the war on drugs, and work towards reform that will free anyone in jail for low level weed crimes and expunge records accordingly.
We’d be remiss to not take this opportunity to share the concrete ways we’re making an effort to actually “walk the walk” of allyship - or at a minimum, how we’ve started. Because the work’s never done, right?
15 Percent Pledge
Back in June, we joined the 15 Percent Pledge - a commitment to stocking our shelves with at least 15% Black-owned brands.
Currently, we’re at 8%....we’ve got some work to do. But we’re actively searching, vetting, and adding new brands to Poplar (stay tuned), so you will see that number grow in 2021. In the meantime, check out our current assortment of Black-owned wellness and cannabis brands!
We’re taking our commitment a step beyond just stocking our shelves with diverse brands (which honestly, is the minimum we can and should do). Earlier in 2020 we launched a mentorship program, The Alliance, where we (Beryl and Blair) take our over 30 years of combined experience in business and entrepreneurship, and use it to mentor and elevate Black female-owned brands from any industry - not just cannabis or wellness.
Growing the wealth and success of non-white people, and non-white owned businesses in America is key in fighting racial inequities, and this is just one small way we hope to contribute to that goal.
Financial Support Towards Cannabis Reform
While we believe no one should be in jail for possession of cannabis, the fact of the matter is, people still are, and their lives are forever altered by unfair sentencing and drug possession records.
We’re proud supporters of the Women’s Prison Association, and have donated time and money to support their efforts to keep women from incarceration for things like cannabis possession, and to help women who have been formerly incarcerated transition back into lives that are healthy, financially stable, and fulfilling. Learn more and donate!
We’ve also joined Cannabis for Black Lives (CfBL), a coalition of cannabis companies galvanizing the broader industry to support Black led organizations and communities through a commitment to corporate hiring and company culture, amplification of Black voices, and financial support with ongoing accountability measures. Learn more and join!
This year we also joined the Floret Coalition - an anti-racist collective of small businesses in the cannabis and cannabis-adjacent space supporting and funding equity-oriented actions via monthly donations and social campaigns. Learn more and join!
Champion Content from Diverse Perspectives
This year, we brought on an incredible young Black writer, and member of the Poplar Alliance, Amiah, to create editorial content on our blog, and to contribute to our first ever print catalogue this past winter.
Amiah has brought an insightful voice and perspective to Poplar, and has challenged us even as founders when it comes to what we stand for and what we want to represent.
Here are a few articles by Amiah to explore:
Now, we’re not sharing any of this to “pat ourselves on the back” but to be transparent about how we intend to run and build Poplar.
We’re no longer living in an era where corporations or companies can hide behind their prestigious names or impeccable branding while they pollute the earth and harm minority communities. Running a business comes with a responsibility of radical transparency (or at least we believe it does) and a desire to do your best for the planet, and for all the people on it.
Here’s to staying in the fight,
Beryl Solomn + Blair Lauren Brown