Cannabis Insurance Wholesalers on the Legal and Social Progress Being Made in the Industry
Summer Jenkins is executive director at Cannabis Insurance Wholesalers, which creates insurance and risk management programs that serve the unique and ever-changing needs of the legal cannabis industry.
We spoke with Summer for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.
Summer, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
Grew up in Fremont, California. Now living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.
Cannabis, the plant and the culture, have had a huge impact on my life. I was commissioned five years ago to create insurance programs for the newly legal cannabis industry. Since then, I have learned a from some of the best, most prominent activists and professionals. I learned from Dale Sky Jones—head of Oaksterdam University—about the historic social stigma of the plant and its users and its base in systemic racism and subjugation of marginalized communities. I learned that because of this, social equity is important. I also learned to cultivate huge plants at home. I am a lifelong believer in holistic healing and natural remedies. I have benefited from having the opportunity to make cannabis products for elderly friends and members of my church. The plant, the science and the culture have changed my life forever, and I am grateful.
A favorite flower, edible, product or brand.
I don't consume cannabis products, but I use my own creations on my hair and skin.
The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.
The law. Cannabis businesses owners are often forced to comply with laws and tax structures that make it almost impossible to run a successful business.
One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.
Excited about future education opportunities and expanding into new territories.
A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.
National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) are both organizations committed to serving the industry. The CCIA's Diversity & Inclusion committee completed the first review of state-sanctioned social equity programs. This study included accounts of real social equity program participants, affording them the voice and support to make much-needed changes to the programs.
A recent project you're proud of.
The social equity accountability report. I am a proud cannabis industry service provider. This project enabled me to give a voice to the voiceless and to serve the industry that has given me so much opportunity.
Someone else's project you admired recently.
Ms. Angela White of Success Centers. Ms. Angela and her organization serve marginalized communities in many ways. Re-entry programs to individuals leaving prison, services to foster youth, employment services, job training and placement services. Ms. Angela runs the "Budding Industry Job Shop," where cannabis entrepreneurs and those wanting to become cannabis entrepreneurs can learn how to get licensed, apply for grants, create business plants and more. For those with licenses, she provides METRC training, training on operations and other concerns relevant to licensees. Her services are free. As a non-profit, the program runs solely on donations. Nonprofits are not eligible to receive grant moneys in support of cannabis. Ms. Angela works with industry titans like Caliva, The Parent Company and other well-named brands, but she does her work with kindness and humility. I admire her tremendously.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.
Managing insurance companies and not having nearly as much fun.