2021 has been a year of overcoming challenges, adjusting to rapid changes, and returning to some sense of “normal”. This year at Rev, we’ve continued to dedicate ourselves to doing our best in making our local community a better place through the power and potential of the marijuana industry.
We believe cannabis can be a real vessel for change, and we urge our company and customers to be involved as much as possible. We also want to empower our local community to join the cannabis industry, which is growing fast and yielding all kinds of personal and community-wide benefits.
In 2021, Rev took a swing at CSR initiatives spanning across three categories: economic empowerment, environmental responsibility, and encouraging DEI.
At Rev, we hope to live up to what the cannabis movement really represents: positive change from within. As a traditionally liberal-leaning endeavor, we know that cannabis providers like Rev have a large moral responsibility towards promoting equity and equal opportunity. That’s why this year we dedicated ourselves to helping people join the marijuana industry, especially those who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
As a part of our A.S.P.I.R.E. (Achieving Success through Partnerships for Inclusive Retail Entrepreneurs) program, Rev donated well over $200,000 in 2021 to help Economic Empowerment Cannabis license holders and minority-owned businesses in our local communities. Two soon-to-be open dispensaries, Yamba Market and Nuestra, received $100,000 each from Rev to help them become pioneers in the cannabis industry.
Rev also worked with and funded two different equity entrepreneurs this past year, helping them get their own cannabis products off the ground. We supported Kush Groove’s Marcus Johnson-Smith and Michael Pires in developing, producing and distributing their new Slow & Steady edibles line, which features the flavors Lulo, Soursop, Papaya, and Passion Fruit — tropical fruits native to the Caribbean and Latin America. We also have an exciting new product, created by Cynthia Mompoint and Maur Stringer, which will be announced in the second quarter of 2022. Maur and Cynthia are local equity entrepreneurs with a significant web presence, where they debate equity in cannabis and lead yoga and meditation sessions.
The importance of financial support cannot be understated. At Rev, we strove to go beyond this necessity and also offer expertise, assistance, and other forms of support to new cannabis entrepreneurs. In 2021, our A.S.P.I.R.E. program helped many Economic Empowerment dispensaries begin and continue their journey in the cannabis industry through flexible financing plans for wholesale product purchases, product display counseling, and strategic recommendations on inventory mix using Rev’s own data-driven metrics. Rev also provided comprehensive consultation on running a retail operation — including standard operating procedures, security, staff training, and customer marketing — through the A.S.P.I.R.E. program. By building true relationships with these organizations and guiding them through the complex cannabis industry, we hope they can feel prepared to succeed in this booming business.
Another Rev program, Street Certified, also aims to help people that come from areas of disproportionate impact due to the war on drugs. Founded by our former DEI manager Gary Perry, Street Certified provides people with heavily discounted Medical Cannabis Cards as well as services like expungement programming, CORI sealing, and employment opportunities within the cannabis space. Over the course of our relationship, more than 300 members of the local community received a MMJ card for only $25!
Through our economic empowerment initiatives, Rev is doing what we can to help the local community join and succeed in the cannabis industry. We hope these programs and donations have helped to bridge opportunity gaps, create equal opportunities, and spur economic growth in the Boston area. This is our first step in making amends for the complicated and oppressive history of cannabis in America, and we look forward to continuing these initiatives and promoting even more prosperity in the coming years.
Rev is trying to do our part in supporting the Green Movement. Being an eco-friendly dispensary, grow facility, and production facility started as a personal mission of Rev co-founder Ryan Ansin, and quickly developed into a core pillar of our corporate social responsibility. In 2021 we took even more steps towards becoming a clean, environmentally conscious organization.
This year, we’ve continued to produce sustainable packaging that looks enticing and exciting, is child and pet resistant, and won’t sit for hundreds of years in a landfill. Rev is currently collaborating with our packaging team to create cardboard child-resistant packaging that uses minuscule amounts of plastic reinforcement, with a goal of all-cardboard, paper or biodegradable packaging. We are currently testing biodegradable or super-recyclable Mylar for our packaging, helping us continue our missions of sustainable packaging and zero waste.
Along with our ongoing endeavors for environmentally-friendly packaging, Rev has continued to seek out economically and socially sustainable ingredients to source for our infused edibles. In 2021, Ryan Ansin and Josh Engel (Dir. Product Development and Kitchen Production) looked for companies that align with Rev’s mindset of taking care of the earth and its inhabitants — all the way from production to the finished products. With these actions, Rev hopes to promote improved sustainability and product quality.
This project led Rev to use República Del Cacao chocolate, which is entirely grown, bred, and processed in Ecuador. This keeps the rewards of the crop all in Ecuador, meaning the financial gains get reinvested in the communities of these agricultural hubs. We also use Native Sugar, which comes from Brazil and is harvested sustainably — instead of burning the land post-crop (an unfortunately all-too-common practice in the sugar industry) they regenerate the soil, producing a delicious product that’s better for the environment.
Even though Rev will use premium ingredients and packaging for our cannabis edibles, we won’t sell them at “premium” prices. Our goal is to provide sustainable and consistent products that everyone can afford. We hope these steps towards bringing sustainable, reliable practices to our products will inspire others in the marijuana industry (customers and competitors alike) to ignite real change in our world and produce higher-quality products.
Encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion
This year, Rev did our best to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within our organization. We hope this dedication will help ensure Rev products and services are inclusive and mindful towards all types of customers and suppliers, and account for a diverse array of medical needs, cultural preferences, and financial barriers. Our goal in these initiatives was to give greater opportunity to those who might not otherwise have the chance to join the cannabis industry, starting from within our own Rev community.
In order to hold ourselves accountable towards reaching this goal, Rev created five pillars for our 2021 DEI missions: talent acquisition, inclusivity, equity, engagement, and accurate measurement. This year, in an effort to continue diversifying our staff, Rev implemented a vendor policy that aimed to hire vendors from areas of disproportionate impact. Over half of our retail staff is now comprised of women and POC! We also established four partnerships with organizations focused on promoting diverse candidates, began revitalizing our Buy Black internal program, and tried to foster even more relationships with diverse suppliers.
Along with striving to build a more diverse and inclusive team, we worked on developing a culture of welcoming, understanding, and equality for all Rev employees in 2021. This was the year Rev tackled the creation of a DEI team and the monitoring of key metrics, which provided us with real information on our progress towards Rev DEI goals. We also initiated leadership roundtable discussions this year, which sought to encourage Rev team members to take an active role in creating a diverse and inclusive culture. 2021 was also the year Rev embarked on pay equity across our organization, with ambitions for all our staff members to make above Massachusetts minimum wage.
We hope that by dedicating time and effort into our DEI department, Rev can begin our transformation towards becoming a truly diverse organization. We’re heavily invested in aligning Rev strategies with our DEI missions and being a company that supports diversity, equity and inclusion in all ways. That’s why we expanded upon G.I.F.T. (Green Industry-Funded Training), a program which we helped form in 2020.
Founded by Leah Daniels of Alchemy League, G.I.F.T. is a mentorship program with the intention of tutoring people from POC-owned and otherwise disadvantaged dispensaries-to-be. This helps G.I.F.T. mentees learn the ropes of the cannabis industry before they open, so they can prepare their business for success. G.I.F.T. mentees receive 20 hours a week of training for eight weeks total and earn $15/hour during their training.
Rev CSR Beyond 2021
This year, Rev strove to uphold our corporate social responsibility and we did our best to reach the goals set for 2021. We also know we can always do more. Rev hopes to continue supporting our CSR initiatives launched and developed this year, and create new actions in the future that help heal the environment, support economic empowerment, and dedicate resources towards DEI.
At Rev, our ultimate aspiration is to foster positive change through cannabis. We hope our work in 2021 helps form foundations for a better world, especially for our own team and throughout the Massachusetts cannabis industry. Here’s to working towards a better future in 2022 and beyond!