Missouri’s most prominent women’s organization in the cannabis space is presenting a new initiative to highlight the companies doing the most to build a more inclusive cannabis industry.

JAINE’s Advocacy, Inclusion and Diversity (AID) committee has launched the first-ever JAINE AID Awards.

The JAINE AID Awards will recognize up to two companies or organizations for 2023 that are truly walking the walk in Missouri cannabis when it comes to a commitment to inclusion and diversity in their organizations.  JAINE is an organization that supports women in cannabis, and the AID committee will highlight companies that are doing things right when it comes to their involvement of women, people of color, lgbt & nonbinary, small and local business, and those criminalized for cannabis through their leadership, culture, hiring and promotion practices, vendor relationships and causes they support.

JAINE is currently accepting nominations for companies that are striving to foster an industry culture of success and opportunity for all. For those with a company or organization in mind, you can submit nominations here.

Lila Waier, Chair of the JAINE AID Committee and Owner of Grow Gear discusses what it means to support diversity in cannabis from a business perspective.

“When we talk about diversity and inclusion, we are talking about women. We are a women in cannabis organization. We also broaden that definition to include, people of color, the LGBT Community, small and local businesses, and people that were criminalized by cannabis prohibition. It’s a pretty wide net, but those are all groups within cannabis nationwide that do not have proportionally enough representation, in leadership and involvement in the industry ownership,” said Waier.

JAINE encourages marijuana licensees, ancillary companies, and other legal cannabis businesses and organizations to participate for the opportunity to be recognized.

“I want to make sure people know that these awards are not just for the recognizable name brands that we see in the marketplace. It’s definitely ancillary companies as well. It’s CBD and hemp companies, or organizations. We really do want to be inclusive of cannabis across the board. We want to make sure we’re including cannabis in all of its forms,” said Waier.

Waier said the idea for the AID Award has been in the making for roughly a year now. The process of creating any award process can be complex, but even moreso when the recognition process is based on something as important as how companies are pushing the industry forward in in terms of equity and inclusion. The AID Committee spent months fine-tuning and revising criteria in an effort to create the best version of the JAINE AID Awards.

There are two parts to the process, anyone can nominate companies of their choosing – simply by filling out the nomination form and explaining the reason they feel the nominee best represents the values of the AID Award. The nomination process ends October 22.

Companies receiving nominations will be required to meet certain criteria, those who meet the criteria and receive the most nominations will be contacted by the JAINE AID Committee for a more in-depth interview process. Afterward the Committee will meet to rank and discuss the nominees before winners are selected by members of the Committee and Board of Directors. An announcement will be made in early December.

Recognized organizations will be celebrated through positive media coverage, awarded a plaque and digital badge, and become recognized as a JAINE-endorsed vendor for operators, events, and collaborations that endeavor to be diverse and inclusive.

The JAINE endorsement helps to show consumers that the brand or business is trusted to be fair and diverse.

“Consumers do care. They really do want to support brands that stand behind values that align with their own. When they are spending money at the dispensary, they want to spend their dollars with companies that are doing things right,” Waier told Greenway.

Additionally, the recognition of the AID Award will organically assist companies and organizations in employee and member recruitment, showing potential members or employees that the organization is committed to fostering and promoting positive culture and change.

The Award also influences public perception of the brand and serves to encourage more inclusion and diversity within the Missouri cannabis industry across the board.

“There’s thousands of people working in our industry, and there is a lot of movement between companies. When people move around from company to company, they are discerning. They want to work somewhere that they are proud to represent and where they’ll feel safe, encouraged and supported,” Waier said.


For more information about the JAINE AID Awards and JAINE, visit wearejaine.com

Criteria to Qualify:

Must be a legal and operational company related to the cannabis or hemp industry in Missouri
Must have at least 6 employees or members involved in daily operations
Must return completed questionnaire and a 30% employee/member survey response rate, 20% below management level

AID Definitions

Advocacy: Coordinated public support for particular ideas, causes and policies that advance JAINE’s central values and goals.

Inclusion: the practice of ensuring equitable opportunities exist within a particular group, organization, industry or sector of society.

Diversity: variety in perspectives and experiences represented by women, people of color, lgbtia, non-binary, those criminalized for cannabis, small and local businesses.

Nominate a deserving company or organization now by clicking here.

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