Colorado dispensary chain Good Chemistry has made a $50,000 donation to the state's COVID Relief Fund, a charitable network set up by the state and United Way to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the monetary contribution, Good Chemistry will supply 600 N95 masks to Colorado medical workers and homeless shelters. According to both the company and Governor Jared Polis, the $50,000 donation is the largest made to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund by a cannabis industry member.
"We are grateful for Good Chemistry’s contribution, and we hope it inspires others in the cannabis industry and in other industries across the state to support our ongoing relief efforts," Polis says in a statement acknowledging the donation.
The same day that Good Chemistry announced the donation, the state Marijuana Enforcement Division promoted COCannabisCares, an industry-driven platform for cannabis businesses to donate money as well as volunteer time, blood and personal protective equipment to the state's COVID-19 response.
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But this is a tough time for cannabis companies, too; marijuana businesses across Colorado have reported layoffs and staffing restructuring, even though dispensaries remain open, having been deemed essential.
Good Chemistry has had to let employees go, too. But in spite of the layoffs, founder Matthew Huron says he felt it was important to make a donation to fight the pandemic. Huron's personal connection to the unknown of a new disease — his father and his father's partner both contracted HIV/AIDS during the early part of the HIV epidemic — played a role in his decision, he says.
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“As I watch the news coverage of the COVID-19 virus, I’m reminded of what it was like growing up in a community ravaged by the fear and uncertainty and heartbreak of a deadly virus like HIV/AIDS or COVID-19," Huron explains in a letter to his employees.“It is my hope and my belief that the funds will inspire others to give, bring relief to those in need and speed the recovery effort so we can return our lives and our business to where we were when this crisis began.”
Several other Colorado cannabis organizations have also donated to COVID-19 relief efforts. Friends in Weed, a nonprofit formed in response to the pandemic by several cannabis outfits, has donated over $35,000 in local restaurant gift cards to cannabis-industry workers, while 420 for a Cause, a free online 4/20 event featuring live comedy and music by national acts, is calling for donations to the COVID Relief Fund as well as charities helping local comedians and musicians who are currently out of work.