top of page

Top 3 Leading U.S. Social Equity Brands in Cannabis

News & Releases - Published 1/22/2024

By Jolin Zhou

Companies actively addressing the injustices stemming from previous cannabis laws are undertaking two crucial missions. First, they are leveraging their resources, capabilities, and initiatives to advocate for increased fairness and opportunities for minority cannabis communities—be it through educational opportunities, economic aid, or license applications. Second, they align their values with the prevailing sentiments of customers, lawmakers, and the public, harnessing their social influence to encourage more individuals to join activism.


Dedicating oneself to social justice isn’t merely a benevolent gesture; it’s an integral aspect of establishing a robust and respected business in this fiercely competitive industry.


In this blog, we delve into the top three Social Equity Brands in the U.S. cannabis landscape. Our focus is on companies not merely business developing in the cannabis sector but actively working to create a fairer and more just industry for all.


40 Tons, a Los Angeles-based Black, woman-owned cannabis, clothing, and accessory brand, stands out in its commitment to reintegrating individuals into society, particularly those affected by the War on Drugs. The brand focuses on helping rebuild the lives and communities of those who have been unfairly punished for non-violent cannabis offenses, going beyond simple charity to make a real difference in people’s lives.

The brand’s recent “Dare To Know” letter-writing campaign at MJBizCon 2023 shows their innovative approach. They encouraged people to write letters to those in prison for cannabis-related issues, demonstrating that their efforts are about real actions, not just words. Supporting these efforts, Artrix has collaborated with them, funding a special 40Tons Edition Drillor product to further promote fairness and positive change in the cannabis industry.


This month, 40 Tons is slated to participate in two notable events in New York City. On January 21st, in collaboration with CONBUD, 40 Tons invites locals to a “Meet and Greet” at CONBODY on Orchard Street from 2 to 4 p.m. offering a unique chance to join their dynamic team as account representatives or brand ambassadors.


Later, on January 25th, 40 Tons will join forces with Hawaii Mike Salman’s Chef for Higher for an exclusive evening in Brooklyn, from 7 to 11 p.m. This private event, aimed at media professionals and key players in the cannabis industry, marks the official launch of new products by 40 Tons. The event will also feature a first look at a 15-minute documentary about the brand, and a fireside chat is scheduled to take place.


The 1937 Group, a minority-owned enterprise in the burgeoning cannabis sector, is quickly establishing itself as a leader in social equity within the industry. Based in Illinois, this vertically integrated company has skillfully navigated the complex cannabis market, securing a rare and diverse set of licenses that include cultivation, retail, and transportation. The name “The 1937 Group” itself is a poignant reminder of the Marihuana Act of 1937, which perpetuated racial discrimination and injustice, serving as a catalyst for the Group’s unwavering commitment to social equity.


What truly elevates The 1937 Group to the pinnacle of social equity in the cannabis sector is their unwavering commitment to supporting and fostering growth among minority operators. Early in the year, The 1937 Group launched an ambitious cannabis incubator program, designed to provide crucial support to social equity businesses. This initiative recognizes the significant challenges these businesses face post-licensure, often struggling with a lack of resources and support needed to establish and grow their operations. By extending their expertise and resources, The 1937 Group is not just contributing to the diversity of the cannabis industry but is actively shaping an ecosystem where Black and Brown operators can flourish.


Sunset Connect, a California-based cannabis brand, is emerging as a standout in the social equity space within the competitive cannabis industry. With its focus on artisan, top-selling pre-rolls, Sunset Connect has made a significant impact in the market, particularly in Northern California, despite its limited availability in just a few stores in the Bay Area. The company’s success in disrupting one of the most popular categories in cannabis is remarkable, especially considering the dominance of corporate cannabis in the market.


The recent partnership between Sunset Connect and HERBL, a leading cannabis supply chain solutions company in the U.S., marks a significant development for both the brand and San Francisco’s Social Equity program. It allows the brand to leverage HERBL’s extensive sales and logistics network to expand its reach, competing with some of the biggest brands in the industry. Notably, Sunset Connect is the first and only 100% Social Equity owned and operated manufacturing facility in San Francisco. His role as the chair of both the SF Cannabis Oversight Committee and the DCC’s Cannabis Advisory Committee highlights his commitment to representing social equity interests and shaping an inclusive future for the cannabis sector.


bottom of page