February 3, 2023

Summer Jenkins is Executive Director at Cannabis Insurance Wholesalers, which develops insurance and risk management programs that meet the unique and ever-changing needs of the legal cannabis industry.

We spoke to Summer for our Higher Calling series, in which we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.

Summer, tell us…

Where you grew up and where you live now.

Raised in Fremont, California. Now lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

A story about the positive effects cannabis has had on your life.

Cannabis, the plant and the culture have had a huge impact on my life. I was hired five years ago to create insurance programs for the newly legal cannabis industry. Since then I have learned from some of the best and most prominent activists and professionals. I learned from Dale Sky Jones – Head of Oaksterdam University – about the historical social stigma of the plant and its users and its basis in systemic racism and the subjugation of marginalized communities. I have learned that this is why social justice is important. I also learned to grow giant plants at home. I am a lifelong believer in holistic healing and natural remedies. I have capitalized on the opportunity to make cannabis products for older friends and members of my church. Plant, science and culture changed my life forever and I am grateful for that.

A favorite flower, edible, product, or brand.

I do not consume cannabis products but I use my own creations on my hair and skin.

The biggest challenge facing cannabis marketers today.

The law. Cannabis company owners are often forced to comply with laws and tax structures that make running a successful business almost impossible.

One thing you are looking forward to right now in terms of cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.

Excited about future educational opportunities and expanding into new areas.

A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) are both organizations committed to serving the industry. CCIA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee completed the first review of state-approved social justice programs. This study included accounts of real participants in social justice programs that gave them the voice and support to make much-needed changes to the programs.

A recent project to be proud of.

The Accountability Report on Social Justice. I am a proud service provider to the cannabis industry. This project allowed me to give a voice to the voiceless and to serve the industry that has given me so many opportunities.

Someone else’s project that you recently admired.

Ms. Angela White of Success Centers. Ms. Angela and her organization serve marginalized communities in many ways. re-entry programs for those released from prison, youth empowerment services, employment services, vocational training and placement services. Ms. Angela runs the Bodding Industry Job Shop, where cannabis entrepreneurs and those aspiring to be can learn how to obtain a license, apply for grants, start a business and more. For those with licenses, she provides METRC training, training on operations and other matters relevant to licensees. Your services are free. As a non-profit, the program runs exclusively on donations. Nonprofit organizations are not eligible to receive cannabis support grants. Ms. Angela works with industry titans like Caliva, The Parent Company and other well-known brands, but she does her job with kindness and humility. I admire her immensely.

What you would do if you weren’t in the cannabis industry.

Running insurance companies and not having nearly as much fun.

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