Can the cannabis industry be an agent of social justice? Or is it just another big business?
Jason White, chief marketing officer at Curaleaf Holdings Inc., chats with Valda Ricks, a deputy state’s attorney from Baltimore CityAndré Chung/for The Washington Post

Can the cannabis industry be an agent of social justice? Or is it just another big business?

By Donna M. Owens Jan. 25, 2021 at 7:27 a.m. PST
Jason White, chief marketing officer at Curaleaf Holdings Inc., chats with Valda Ricks, a deputy state’s attorney from Baltimore City, during a legal clinic co-sponsored by Curaleaf in Baltimore last February.

Jason White has created dazzling advertising and marketing campaigns for Nike and Disney, the World Cup and Olympic Games, to name a few. But when the Georgetown alumnus told his parents he was exiting Apple-owned Beats by Dre for the cannabis industry, the announcement landed with a thud. “What they heard was, ‘You’re going to sell weed,’ ” the 44-year-old said, laughing.

White is now chief marketing officer at Curaleaf Holdings Inc., which says it is the world’s largest provider (by revenue) of legal medical and recreational cannabis. While some liken legal pot to a gold rush, White — who is African American and Cuban — talks of repairing communities harmed by the war on drugs. “Some are very wary of cannabis, having seen people arrested and their voting rights taken away,” he says. “But as cannabis has become more mainstream, others don’t see harm, but opportunity. I want to use this platform to help improve society.”

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