War is raging in Ukraine, and cannabis businesses across the US are doing their part to assist relief efforts in what is now considered a humanitarian crisis.
San Francisco’s MediThrive dispensary is currently raising funds to donate to the Sunflower of Peace, a nonprofit in Massachusetts working to support the Ukrainian people caught in Russian crossfire. Specifically, Sunflower of Peace's proceeds is providing medical and humanitarian aid to those affected by the war. MediThrive's CEO Misha Breyburg is a Ukrainian Jewish refugee who immigrated from Odessa, Ukraine to the United States as a child in the 1970s.
“This hits especially close to home, especially for Jewish Ukrainians,” he told the Jewish News of Northern California. “I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do something.”
To show solidarity, Breyburg had the Mission District dispensary painted blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. The business also donated the proceeds of all cannabis sales made on March 6 to Sunflower of Peace, which is named after Ukraine's national flower. “While many charitable efforts focus on providing Ukraine with food and military aid, the medical professionals responding to the crisis in Ukraine struggle to treat the wounded and sick,” MediThrive said in a statement. “They require more medical and survival supplies.”
MediThrive donated 10 percent of all cannabis sales through March 13 to Sunflower of Peace. On Monday, Breyburg said the drive had already raised money reaching “in the high five figures.” “It felt pretty incredible."
But MediThrive is not the only dispensary raising money for Ukraine. Detroit dispensary and cultivation center Luxury Loud teamed up with Srodek’s Quality Polish Food for a Pot and Pierogies fundraiser for Ukraine. Luxury Loud donated 100 percent of its sales on March 13 to UNICEF for the children of Ukraine, while Srodek’s food truck offered complimentary pierogies and kielbasa for a donation.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is also personal for principals at Luxury Loud. Grower and engineering manager Marko Malinowski and his brother Christian Malinowski, one of the partners in the business, are Ukrainian Americans and well-known in Detroit’s Ukrainian community.
“It’s a little more unique,” Malinowski told the Detroit Free Press. “Pot and Pierogi kind of catches people’s attention for some reason, and they do go well together actually.”
Cannabis public relations firm Mattio Communications is also raising funds for Ukraine by matching donations to one of several organizations working to secure the safety and security of Ukrainians. The company will match donations through a campaign on social media announced last week.
“As we watch in horror as violence and heartbreak spreads through Ukraine, the need for action has never been greater,” the company wrote in a statement to High Times. “The Mattio Communications team will be matching all donations made to the United Nations Refugee Agency, Kyiv Independent, Voices of Children, Amnesty International and CARE Ukraine Crisis Fund up to $3,000. Simply make your donation, and send a screenshot to @MattioCommuncations on Instagram.”