Every year, cannabis retailer Uncle Ike’s chooses an organization to support with a fundraiser. Last year Uncle Ike’s chose to support Entre Hermanos for pride month.

With police brutality and a corrupt justice system on everyone’s minds in 2020, Uncle Ike’s chose Northwest Community Bail Fund for its fundraiser, aptly named “Higher Power” this June.

Northwest Community Bail Fund

So what does NCBF do exactly?

“NCBF works to ensure that people accused of low-level crimes have an equal opportunity to defend themselves from a position of freedom,” NCBF’s website about us reads. “We provide cash bail for people who are unable to pay due to poverty and who are charged with crimes in King and Snohomish Counties and have no other holds.”

Additionally, NCBF helps low-income folks navigate the court systems, and works to minimize and abolish the bail system altogether. For folks caught in an expensive, complicated court system for low-level crimes, this kind of help can be life-saving. 

Higher Power

Higher Power began on Juneteenth and lasted until June 25.  For the fundraiser, Uncle Ike’s donated 5% of total sales from all locations for the entire week. Cannabis retailers have slim margins. So 5% of total sales ends up being close to, or sometimes even more than the total net profit. 

Uncle Ike’s teamed up with over two dozen vendors, each of which matched the 5% donation of its sales. The participating vendors were:

  • Exotikz
  • Fairwinds
  • Wave Edibles
  • AB Co.
  • American Hash Makers
  • Swifts
  • SubX
  • Saints Joints
  • PAX
  • Hells Canyon Cannabis
  • Royal Tree Gardens
  • Trailblazin’
  • Evergreen Herbal
  • Craft Elixirs
  • Lazy Bee Gardens
  • Leafwerx
  • Sweetwater Farms
  • MFused
  • Pearl
  • Ionic
  • Northwest Cannabis Solutions
  • Wild Mint
  • Skagit Organics

The fundraiser brought in a total of $28,402 dollars. Of the total $22,564 came directly from Ike’s, while the remaining $5,838 came from vendor matches. This money will help directly support low-income folks who need to make bail and navigate the justice system.

Cannabis for a Cause
In the tradition of the beer and wine industries before it, the cannabis industry invests in community philanthropy. Many cannabis retailers and producers are passionate about this fact.
“Contributing to social justice causes should be a no-brainer for our industry,” Danielle Rosellison the co-founder and owner of Trail Blazin’ told The Sesh. “While Washington had a low barrier to entry with only a $250 application fee, it still takes 6-7 figures to open, maintain, and keep relevant a cannabis license.”
While Rosellison does concede there are some who can get a grow going for less than 6 figures, she emphasizes that it’s rare.
“Having access to that kind of capital is white privilege. Not having a criminal record, which negatively affected your ability to get a license, is white privilege,” Rosellison stated. “While many of us in the legal market still haven’t seen any monetary benefit, just the ability to participate speaks to our privilege. It is essential that we, the cannabis industry, do all we can to help attain more equity across demographics.”

Time for Change

The drug war continues to tear apart communities all over this country, including in the Northwest. The cannabis industry has a responsibility to victims of this injustice to give economic assistance to those unfairly impacted. BIPOC and low-income folks bare the brunt of this attack on human rights.

One particularly heinous part of the U.S. justice system is bail. Keeping people in jail before they’re convicted, simply because they’re too poor to pay a fine is not justice. 

The last few months have been hard for everyone. A pandemic and economic and civil unrest leave many of us wondering if the world will ever look like it did in 2019. Maybe it won’t, and maybe it’s for the better. Society was not working for many of us. So it’s refreshing to see the cannabis industry step up to the plate, and try and make a change for the better in our part of the world.