Home Business Social Responsibility Brings Minority Leaders to BUD Summit

Social Responsibility Brings Minority Leaders to BUD Summit

Image Credit: Vidur Bharatram

In what’s best described as a ‘home-grown’ gathering of East Coast cannabis community members, Washington DC’s Business Understanding Development Summit (BUD Summit) had businesses from Massachusetts to Georgia in attendance.

The BUD Summit took place at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill and Washington Metropolitan area business owners represented the collective spirit of the East Coast cannabis community. The BUD Summit co-founder, Brandon L. Wyatt, called it a ‘tour de force’ regarding community leadership, compliance, and style.

SLIDESHOW: DC Style on Display at DC BUD Summit

The District of Columbia has a medical marijuana program and under Initiative 71, the cannabis culture scene has exploded with legal recreational use over the past year – however, recreational sales are still prohibited. The neighboring state of Maryland has recently been in the news for finally awarding pre-approvals to 30 companies in the processing and growing entities.

RELATED: Lack of Diversity Outshines Progress in Maryland’s Medical Program

The BUD summit was not shy about piercing the corporate veil regarding social constructs, said military veteran and civil rights attorney Brandon L. Wyatt.  Along with local leaders, Wyatt wants to take his “generation green” to new heights – ending the war on drugs and remediating the carnage left in its wake.

“Frankly, the confidence of minority businesses within the [Washington Metropolitan area] was at an all-time low with the news that no women or people of color were selected for cannabis business licensees by the Maryland Le’ Prade Commission,” Wyatt added, “Our team made extra, extra efforts to locate and ensure the attendance of disabled, minority, veteran, and women business owners to ensure that no voice went unheard.”

Lisa, Founder of Grow with Lisa (left) and Darrell Carrington of MDCIA (right).

Represented at the Summit were the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) and the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association (MDCIA). “A celestial cadre of BUD Summit educators from varied backgrounds, ethnicities and, genders came to DC with one purpose; to publicly acknowledge an ugly truth of the drug war and fight to exponentially increase the business understanding regarding the challenges that lay ahead for “generation green”,” said Wyatt. 

The so-called “generation green” paid homage to the advocates who came before them with legendary cannabis figures Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, and Rick Simpson. Simpson reinvented the use of cannabis oil against cancer cells, effectively treating himself and curing his own case of skin cancer. Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, is now a widely known holistic method that thousands of patients seek out. Together, these men could be called the ‘Fathers of the cannabis movement’. Their decades of work for cannabis reform have shaped America’s map of legalized states that we see today.

“This plant can save the world,” Simpson began, “It’s time to tell our governments to get lost, let’s build a better future, a non-toxic environment for our children.”

Hearing from one of the ‘Fathers of Cannabis’ reinforces why people like Wyatt are fighting to make cannabis laws fair to consumers, businesses, and government. “Rick Simpson’s commendation of the DC Mayor and Council for understanding the need for both home grow and commercial, even if accidental, was a sign that we are headed in the right direction here at home,” commented Wyatt.

On Stroup’s appearance, the co-founder and activist said, “Keith Stroup is a pillar, and his dogmatic spirit is deeply intertwined within the cannabis community. His words of confidence and love somehow make any changes occurring at NORML seem like part of the evolution he designed a long time ago and was overdue because of legislative delay.”

“Use common sense,” pleaded Simpson, “all we have to do is stand with one voice and say we are done with this nonsense…We need QC and standards, that’s the only reason you need regulations…You should be able to grow on your own.” It’s an appropriate sentiment for the venue – Simpson’s recommendation for advocacy and home growing has been the model for marijuana in the District for a little over a year now.

The BUD Summit committee says they will continue to provide jobs and access to the cannabis industry in early 2017. Until they hammer out the details, they are encouraging prospective business owners to stay in touch via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.