Cannabis Businesses Start Fundraising Campaign For Social Justice

Heady Vermont Staff 16 Jun 2020


Local companies give back to communities impacted by racist drug war

BURLINGTON, Vermont – Conscious of the need to take responsibility for addressing hundreds of years of racial injustice, and recognizing the many links between cannabis prohibition, direct repression of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and institutionalized racism in this country, four Vermont cannabis businesses – Heady Vermont, Meristem Farms, CannaBotanicals, the Vermont Cannabis Nurses Association and NurseGrown Organics have launched a campaign intended to meet both the immediate need to get people out of jail and support long term systemic change through advocacy and education.

“As white business owners and members of the Cannabis community, it is important for us to recognize our privilege in being able to work legally with the cannabis plant. The hypocrisy and racial injustice that white society has inflicted on people of color in our industry for many decades still continues even today,” says Jennifer Daniels, co-owner of Meristem Farms. 

“Too many people of color have been villainized, arrested, and incarcerated because of cannabis.”

“Too many people of color have been villainized, arrested, and incarcerated because of cannabis,” says Jessilyn Dolan, founder of the Vermont Cannabis Nurses Association and Co-owner of NurseGrown Organics. “Too many families and communities have been torn apart because of prohibition. This fundraiser,” says Dolan, “is one small step in healing a huge injustice.”

Stephanie Boucher, owner of CannaBotanicals agrees, noting that, “the Cannabis industry is overwhelmingly white, with only only 4.2 % of cannabis businesses being black-owned. Meanwhile, blacks are 400% more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession, and in some places up to 850% more likely. These numbers are not accidental,” adds Boucher, “and it’s up to us to challenge the ways that cannabis has been and is currently used as a weapon of oppression instead of a tool of liberation.”

Proceeds from the fundraising campaign will go directly to The Bail Project. Donations are tax-deductible.

Proceeds from the fundraising campaign will go directly to The Bail Project, which combats mass incarceration by paying bail to get low income individuals out of jail. Donations are tax-deductible. The next campaign will benefit Justice for All, a nonprofit that helps address long term systemic change through advocacy and education.

“We invite all white-identified Vermonters, New Englanders and beyond working in, profiting from, or enjoying the benefits of the legal Vermont cannabis and hemp industry, to help us reach our minimum goal of $10,000,” says Heady Vermont CEO Monica Donovan. 

“We want to acknowledge that fundraising for these organizations is a small piece of a large, complex, long-term process,” says Donovan, “and does not obviate the need for ongoing personal education, interpersonal dialogue, and working to dismantle inherently racist systems which bolster white economic, political, and cultural supremacy.”

Donations can be made at GoFundMe. Once the campaign goal of $10,000 has been met, the group plans to launch the next campaign, which will raise proceeds for Justice for All. This Vermont-based nonprofit pursues racial justice within Vermont’s criminal justice system and beyond through advocacy, education, and relationship-building.

For more educational resources and opportunities for action, visit our Anti-Racism Resources Page.

About The Partner Organizations 

Heady Vermont’s mission is to be a leading producer and marketer of information, opportunities and products for consumers who love Vermont cannabis. We believe that building a legal, ethical, and celebratory cannabis industry – one that’s infused with an ethos of social, environmental, and economic justice – can have a positive and meaningful impact on communities.

Heady Vermont Website


Meristem Farms is a Vermont-based producer and distributor of high-quality hemp crops and products that builds equity and effective governance throughout the hemp value chain through policy leadership and public-private partnerships.  We foster and differentiate growth to deliver on the promise of hemp for diversified economic prosperity and healthy communities and landscapes. 

Meristem Farms Website

CannaBotanicals is a small VT, women-owned business operated by herbalist and coach Stephanie Boucher. Stephanie offers small batch herbally-formulated hemp remedies, cannabis education, as well as plant-informed life and business coaching. CannaBotanicals is founded on the belief that another world is possible, and that through mindfully partnering with plants we can co-create a more just, sustainable, and magical world.

CannaBotanicals Website


NurseGrown Organics mission is to educate, support and empower consumers while promoting sustainable, organic agriculture through affordable, premium Vermont hemp and CBD products.  ​As a ​research nurse​, Jessilyn Dolan spent years looking into local cannabis and CBD products. The lack of transparency, regulation, and lab testing in the current industry left little to recommend to clients and colleagues. As ​experienced organic farmers and herbalists​,  and decades of combined medical, horticultural, and practical experience, Jessilyn and her partner, decided to put a high quality CBD product on the market.

NurseGrown Organics Website

Vermont Cannabis Nurses Association

The mission of the VTCNA is to advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development.


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