Berkeley Patients Group will celebrate its 20th anniversary in October, and as the dispensary continues to navigate California’s post-Prop. 64 regulatory landscape, it is keeping one eye toward the future while it continues fighting for policy reform and giving back to its community.
To commemorate its anniversary, BPG will launch its newest community outreach effort, the “$1MM for Good” campaign, which will donate $1 million to 10 different nonprofit organizations over the next 10 years. The organizations focus on health care, re-entry support, affordable housing/homelessness, the LGBTQ+ community, the environment and more. Each month, BPG will highlight a different community partner and drive funds to that particular organization through awareness campaigns, staff volunteers and donations from sales of partner brands.
Here, BPG Co-Founder and Vice President Etienne Fontan discusses how the dispensary supports its community and the causes it believes in, how it approaches lobbying in California, and which industry trends the company is watching going into 2020.
Cannabis Business Times: What mistakes are today’s retailers in California making, and what advice do you have for them that you can offer with the benefit of your own experience?
Etienne Fontan: We’re all in the same boat together—everyone’s just trying to get regulated and up to standard. The state dragged its feet, unfortunately, with its cannabis oversight organizations that they created, so it took a long time just for us to get our annual permit. For us, one of the original ones, it still took a year and a half. So, for those who are just starting out, it’s very challenging and very intimidating, what you have to go through, and it was still daunting and challenging for a retailer of nearly 20 years, ourselves.
It’s hard to