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US: Social impact scholarship program to foster industry inclusivity

MJ Unpacked is returning to the East Coast for its annual spring edition with a new format for its signature Social Impact Scholarship.

For the past three years, MJ Unpacked has partnered with Our Academy, a 501 (3)c non-profit precelerator, to empower BIPOC-owned and justice-impacted cannabis operators. Through strategic sponsorships, funds have been raised and directed to Our Academy, enabling support for their cohorts to enter the market, engage with investors, and forge connections with brands and retailers nationwide.

"This partnership has been incredibly impactful and Our Academy has been an amazing team to work with," commented Wendy Campbell, VP of Sales at MJ Unpacked. "In the span of five events, we've managed to raise over $185,000, significantly bolstering the social equity program and offering tangible marketplace access to these deserving entrepreneurs. Their achievements are a testament to the program's impact."

"Expanding our partner base for this program will allow us to extend the opportunity to more people in more places, but the biggest change is how we will fund the opportunity. Given the current economic constraints in the cannabis industry, we have seen a decrease in funding for critical advocacy groups," stated George Jage, CEO of Jage Media. "To avoid limiting the funds we raise through sponsorships for the program, we will leverage our event's exclusivity to allow a limited number of industry executives, who would not otherwise qualify to attend, to purchase access to MJ Unpacked with 100% of the funds being deployed to support the program's mission."

Attendance to MJ Unpacked is exclusive to licensed cannabis operators at managerial level or above, accredited investors actively investing in the cannabis industry, and research professionals currently working on cannabis research. Industry suppliers can participate by exhibiting or sponsoring the event.

In the coming weeks, MJ Unpacked will open registration for a maximum of 40 people to attend as non-qualified industry guests at a registration fee of $1295. BIPOC and justice-impacted cannabis operators will be able to apply for the scholarship to fund their participation, exhibition, and/or travel costs to participate in the event.

"Our commitment to exclusivity is what sets MJ Unpacked apart from other events in the industry," added Jage. "Opening registration in this limited way, which would be approximately 1.5% of the projected attendance, reinforces our unique value proposition without compromising the event's integrity. More importantly, it lays the groundwork for a sustainable funding model to support those most affected by the war on drugs."

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