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US (CA): Opening of greenhouses for social equity program

NUG has announced the opening of four greenhouses, totaling 6,000 square feet, dedicated to the business operations of its social equity partners. "The four equity partners, cannabis cultivation start-ups can now move into the automated greenhouses rent-free to launch their own respective cultivation operations at NUG’s Oakland headquarters," the team with the company explains. "This is a major milestone for NUG’s incubated businesses coming into their own as distinct, self-sufficient brands."

"The opening of the greenhouses at NUG is also the latest development in the city of Oakland’s cannabis equity program, which aims to provide opportunities in the legal cannabis industry to locals who had been disadvantaged and targeted by the failed war on drugs. Equity applicants are city residents earning less than 80 percent of the average city income and either living in a designated high-crime zone for at least 10 of the past 20 years, or have been convicted of a cannabis-related crime in Oakland after November 5, 1996."

NUG began its social equity incubator program in 2017 in collaboration with Oakland city council members to bring four ambitious start-ups with compelling stories into the cannabis industry. The businesses, which specialize in cultivation, include:

  • Dakota West Coast - Owner: Iowa Robinson
  • Medicinal Organic - Owner: Alexis Bronson
  • Nine Mile Tribe - Owners: Jahful Price & Charles Byrd; CEO Lynda Byrd
  • OMCG - Owners: Daniel Axtle & Eduardo Axtle

"Teamwork makes the dream work, and we’ve been very fortunate to have the support of NUG in the process of developing our cultivation business," said Dakota West Coast Owner Iowa Robinson, an East Oakland native who began leading the company last year after the untimely passing of her brother Careem Robinson, the company’s founder. "We’re a family business and our goal is to establish a sustainable company that can be passed on from generation to generation and employ others within our Oakland community."

"While the greenhouses were being constructed (each is equipped with augmented lighting, motorized curtains and an irrigation system), two of the equity partners were employed by NUG and received on-the-job training. NUG also provided the businesses with cannabis products to begin packaging under their own respective labels, as well as connections with NUG sales reps to pitch their products to California dispensaries. The equity partners’ products are also available in NUG’s flagship retail stores, which opened in 2019 in Sacramento and San Leandro."

"It has been a privilege and an honor to provide a platform for these start-up businesses to thrive and flourish," said NUG CEO and Founder Dr. John Oram. "Our equity partners are catalysts for positive change in the city of Oakland and of cannabis policy as a whole. We look forward to watching their continued success as they take this next important step."

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