The Colorado cannabis community will have a chance to show its support for reproductive health services on Thursday, October 17th. A coalition of marijuana businesses are teaming up to host an award ceremony honoring pot brands whose proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood of the Rockies — at what could be precisely the moment in which the national healthcare organization needs the support the most. 

In August, the reproductive health organization announced that it was being forced to turn down funds from the federal government. The impetus was a policy change that would have put in danger its mission to provide the 1.6 million individuals who rely on its services with accurate and essential health information. 

At issue is the Trump administration’s decision to change a policy affecting Title X, which gives $286 million in annual funds to health care organizations. The White House decreed that groups that receive Title X funds are no longer allowed to discuss abortions with individuals, expect in cases of medical emergency. Previously, healthcare providers were actually required to give patients information on abortion when asked. 

In response, Planned Parenthood announced it would no longer be accepting Title X funds, and that it was launching a $45 million political campaign in presidential election swing states. The group plans on financing organizing programs and investing in canvassing, as well as digital, TV, radio, and mail ads, all aimed at turning the recent tide of pro-life policy changes on the state and federal levels. 

“Who we elect will determine our access to birth control, cancer screenings, sex education, abortion access and more,” executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes Kelley Robinson said of the campaign in a press statement.

Pot and Planned Parenthood

In Colorado, it appears that the organization has allies in the cannabis industry. Lisa Farrimond-Gee, director of marketing and cannabis social responsibility at Denver dispensary chain Lightshade, said that her company and Planned Parenthood have a lot that ties them together. 

“Both groups are about getting the government out of the way of personal choices and believe people have the right to make personal choices,” she told Westword. “The cannabis industry is about the choice of whether this is a medical drug you want to use or a recreational drug you want to use.”

The October 17th gala is named “A Night at the Cabaret,” and will include the presentation of awards to cannabis companies that have played an active role in their communities through donating, volunteering, or instituting social equity-focused business practices. Hosting the event is Mason Jar Event Group, Irie Weddings, and Cannabis Doing Good. 

Attendees will be able to pass by Lightshade before the event to pick up complimentary cannabis products meant to be paired with certain meal courses and events during the evening’s gala. Colorado laws ban giveaways at social consumption events. 

For Terrapin Care Station dispensary chain director of communications Peter Marcus, the night will provide not only hope for people across the country who depend on Planned Parenthood’s health services, but also excellent optics for marijuana businesses. “When cannabis companies build roots, they build goodwill with the public, and the community embraces them as a local business,” he said. “We want feedback from the community, and encourage nonprofits to reach out to us.”

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