Baruch HaLevi sees the cannabis industry as his congregation. As a rabbi, his worldview shapes his direction and focus; as ONE Cannabis Group’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, he’s focused on instilling a conscience into an industry ripe for structuring. His track record as a successful cannapreneur and ethical thought leader has propelled Baruch forward as one of the leading authorities on the latest phenomenon in cannabis— social equity.
Social equity is an umbrella term for programs being rolled out across several states that aim to right previous injustices that occurred during the War on Drugs. ONE Cannabis Group (ONE) has outlined in a previous blog some of the program’s obstacles, including fundraising concerns and general lack of expertise. There isn’t any standard or model being used to craft these programs, but they all share a common goal— rejuvenating the communities hardest hit by the racially biased War On Drugs and giving them an opportunity to flourish.
Enter Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Rabbi Dr. Baruch HaLevi, who bears a name and title so long that you get an honorary degree for remembering it— which is why everyone calls him “Rabbi B” or, as he prefers it, simply “B”. And B’s resume is even longer than his title.
B already had a series of successful ventures, both religious and cannabis-related, in Boston and Israel. He built a large congregation while simultaneously co-founding one of the largest cannabis operations in Massachusetts. He also partnered with ONE Cannabis CEO, Christian Hageseth on an international cannabis research collaborative. B is the coalescence of many different factors that have converged at cannabis— morality, entrepreneurism, social justice and healing. His passion for this combination of ideas led him to steer ONE Cannabis toward addressing the emerging cannabis social equity industry and pioneering a new model, which is now the ONE Cannabis SEED (Social Equity and Economic Development) Program.
SEED applicants come from all walks of life, but have been uniquely affected by the unfair and racially-biased enforcement of past drug policies. Qualified applicants are granted a dispensary license by states or municipalities and are then tasked with turning it into a profitable business with little to no capital or expertise. Each one of them face difficulties translating these licenses into a compliant and profitable cannabusiness.
ONE partnership, ONE success
These obstacles speak to ONE Cannabis’ mission -- as a company, we believe that doing good and being profitable aren’t mutually exclusive. With us as allies, our SEED Partners align themselves with ten years of cannabis operational experience and hard-won industry expertise, courtesy of ONE CEO Christian Hageseth. As the country's pioneer cannabis franchising operation, ONE has set itself apart as the foremost expert in guiding cannabis operators through the long process of running a compliant and profitable cannabis business.
B has taken ONE’s franchising abilities and adapted them to meet the unique needs of its SEED Partners. As part of the cannabis industry, he sees all social equity applicants as part of his congregation— and largely the most deserving of ONE’s attention. Elevating them is his main focus, and he’s leveraging all of the company’s resources to do so. It’s his hope that we utilize this opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and write a responsible and inspirational history for this industry.