HUMBOLDT–Cookies’ Social Impact Program, an initiative by international cannabis brand COOKIES dedicated to creating a more equitable and accessible cannabis industry, and WebberWild Impact Foundation “WebberWild,” a non-profit organization that funds education and training for persons of color pursuing careers in the cannabis sector, announced today the formation of a purpose-driven partnership to provide resources and create opportunities within the cannabis industry that empower communities and people who have been marginalized.
Initially, the partners will leverage their shared resources to establish Cookies U, a high-impact, hands-on educational experience being launched in Humboldt County that will become the model for subsequent campuses across the country. Cookies U will recruit students from communities impacted by the War on Drugs and provide a three-month long intensive and comprehensive educational curriculum to prepare them for a sustainable career in the cannabis industry. Tuition and housing will be covered through the partnership, and eligible students can receive additional coverage for lost wages, daycare expenses, and other necessities that may otherwise make participation in the program inaccessible.
“Knowledge and hands on experience are priceless. I wouldn’t be here today, in the position I’m in, if it wasn’t for the 20 years of hands on experience,” said Berner, Founder and CEO of Cookies. “I started as a budtender and worked my way up. Cookies U will provide people from groups that have been marginalized with the opportunity to learn the Business from A-to-Z. It feels good to be in a position to share this knowledge, passion, and love for the industry with people. I truly believe this is one area that has been missing for Social Equity in cannabis.”
“Not only have minorities been excessively punished and incarcerated for cannabis while others profited, but they have had unequal access to education, which perpetuates cycles of low-pay and unemployment. It is crucial that we allow those who have been impacted by the Drug War and racism to participate and benefit from the cannabis industry,” said Chris Webber, entrepreneur, five-time NBA All-Star, 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame, and Co-Founder of WebberWild. “Working with Berner and Cookies allows us to diversify representation within the cannabis industry and provide people from these communities with the tools they need for long-term success.”
Cookies U participants will be priority hires for Cookies and also all of Cookies’ partners (if they so choose) across the supply chain, including retail, cultivation, extraction and distillation, marketing and corporate finance. In addition to Cookies U, the partners will pursue other opportunities central to the mission of tearing down inequalities and creating a more accessible industry, such as community outreach, government relations, and engaging with other curriculum partners.
Students interested in applying for Cookies U can fill out a form online anytime from May 20-June 3 at https://www.impact.cookies.co/cookies-campus on the Cookies’ Social Impact Program website. Applicants must be California residents in order to apply.