The City of Portland Cannabis Program named Akil Patterson to oversee its Social Equity and Education Development (SEED) Initiatives program.
The SEED Initiatives program was created to repair the lasting economic, legal, social and intergenerational consequences of past cannabis prohibition on Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.
The program is supported by an ongoing $1 million in cannabis tax revenue allocation, according to the city, which awarded 17 grants to community-based organizations in 2021 alone. To date, the SEED Initiatives program has completed four full cycles and has awarded more than $3.3 million through 32 different grants.
In his new role, Patterson will be responsible for mobilizing the grant review and evaluation process, and will name the 2022-23 SEED grantees this summer.
“I am excited to contribute my social advocacy experience and bring my national platform to Portland’s trailblazing cannabis equity movement,” Patterson said. “Administering equitable social change and racial justice is something I worked on my entire career. I am humbled to serve in this important movement by working with my Portland colleagues, cannabis entrepreneurs, and the greater Portland community to shine a bigger spotlight on Portland as we work together to model social change and innovation.”
Also, in July, Portland’s cannabis program will provide an update on the Cannabis Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), as the city became the first in Multnomah County to allocate cannabis tax revenue toward the impacts of COVID-19, robberies, and wildfires on the industry.
“We’re seeing more programs mirror our structure and equity initiatives,” said Dasheeda Dawson, cannabis program manager. “SEED is the shining star, and other government-regulated programs are looking at our program as cannabis use becomes legalized in more states. Adding Akil to our team only helps the city expand our ability to administer grants to community-based organizations and merging entities that share our vision of social equity and directly building educational and economic development pipelines for communities most harmed.”