MJBiz Daily reports on Multimillion dollar CEO Salaries while tens of thousands are in prison for the same thing.
What happened to the days when you could call your plug, show up and not ask about sativa, hybrid, Indica, or THC levels but instead share a spliff, make your purchase, and go on your way?
Well, nostalgia is for suckers. Because weed is big money. Oh, and it wasn't legal, and thousands and thousands of people, primarily people of color, Black people, working-class people, their families, and communities, are still paying the price. If you're making money for what other people are in prison for, your top priority should be compassion and the work or repairing harm.
The CEOs are making millions. Recently, MjBizDaily released a list of high-paid executives in the legal marijuana industry. With total combined compensation packages exceeding 62.3 million dollars across the seven CEOs, George Archos, founder, and CEO of Chicago-based Verano Holdings leads the pack of hyenas with $16.3 in salary, bonus, stocks, and other options. What is George Archo's favorite strain? Does he dab? Or does he prefer edibles? According to his Crunchbase and Linkedin profiles, where he writes about himself in the third person, "Archos is a logistics and operations guru. Building on his extensive experience in coordinating complex freight delivery operations, as well as designing and operating highly-successful restaurants." Which doesn't preclude partaking. I mean, he is the highest-paid CEO of a weed company.
Verano recently came to the Arizona market, buying several local dispensaries. It is important to note that Arizona voters passed Proposition 207, that legalized marijuana while also mandating several social equity initiatives. These included resources to get people out of prison and "justice reinvestment," i.e., providing grants for community-based organizations for projects like drug treatment, re-entry, and alternatives to incarceration. A percentage of the state revenue from marijuana sales would be directed to working and releasing people incarcerated for doing what Verano and other global companies do daily. Verano, for example, is traded on the Canadian Stock exchange. Given federal legalization in the US, the cash flow is now almost guaranteed.
Recently, two Verano-owned dispensaries in Arizona voted to unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers as the Cannabis Workers Union. It is the second dispensary in the Valley of the Sun to do so, after Curaleaf in Phoenix, AZ. Meanwhile, Verano's new capital campaign has launched a discount line of marijuana,
"The Savvy launch demonstrates our ability and willingness to adapt and address market demand at scale at both ends of the price spectrum. Savvy is intended to address the budget-conscious consumer's demand for authentic, wallet-friendly cannabis products derived from our state-of-the-art indoor cultivation facilities."
The packaging has spray paint and duct tape as the artwork.
A question for the entire industry: Where is the integrity in the business model? How can companies not headquartered in a particular state comply with the social equity elements of legalization? One idea could be working with a specific department or funding source to ensure that a more-than-adequate percentage of their revenue supports ALL the people eligible for release to get out and re-enter society.