It might be a stretch, but in 2020 the cannabis community gets to celebrate their favorite holiday twelve times (on the 4th of every month)—not just once on April 20th as it has been observed annually since the 1960’s in honor of the designated time a group of Bay Area high school students snuck out for a smoke session every afternoon.
The California-based cannabis vaporizer company Besito has taken this rare occurrence in time and turned it into a super cool merchandise campaign to support the Equity First Alliance (EFA)—a nonprofit that according to its website, “works to advance equity in the cannabis industry, to repair harms of the War on Drugs, and to seek justice for those who have been most harmed by it.”
Last September, Besito launched a formal partnership with EFA and committed 1% of all profits to supporting its goal of facilitating automated expungement and providing easily accessible health, employment, and legal resources for those in need of restorative services. Two months later, the brand released the short film A Record Shouldn’t Last A Lifetime as a call to action and urgent reminder of the moral obligation of those who are profiting off of the legal cannabis industry to fight for equity and reparative justice.
“We believe it’s an enormous privilege to work in a legal, regulated cannabis industry given the criminalization of this plant and sacrifices so many have made before us,” Besito founder and CEO Maggie Connors told me via email. “The failed War on Drugs has devastated people of color and we believe that it’s our industry’s moral imperative to help repair the harms caused to these marginalized communities.”
Besito has raised thousands of dollars to date for EFA from its best-selling line of stylized, disposable vaporizer pens, which are sold through dispensary partners and delivery services in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Available in mint, grapefruit, and blackberry, each naturally-derived flavor is blended from social-friendly sativa strains and promise “a happy high” with a 2:1 THC to CBD ratio. Besito’s clean cannabis oil blends are extracted without the use of harmful dilutants like Vitamin E and crafted from organically grown plants and tested free from pesticides or unnatural fillers.
To generate even more awareness (and funds) for EFA, Besito’s 4/20 swag campaign commenced in January with two monthly drops so far including a logo embroidered crewneck, hoodie, and dad cap with a cheeky chip clip that reads, “I’m high, lol;” a canvas tote bag stamped with one of Besito’s signature slogans, “Less oh, fuck…more fuck yeah.” Each drop is seasonally inspired, with beach towels coming for the summer and custom Besito ornaments for holiday.
“It’s all about releasing iconic Besito pieces that shape the brand,” said Connors. “We want our 4/20 line to go beyond traditional brand ‘swag’ and create unique pieces that anyone can use in their everyday life. Weed is fun for us, and we want our merchandise to tell that story, too.”
Connors, an early-stage cannabis investor, founded Besito in 2017 after receiving an MBA from Stanford and working for close to a decade in brand management and product design for global companies like Apple, Pepsi, and Starbucks. With a passion for bringing highly-designed cannabis products to the market while also giving back to the community, Besito has emerged as a leading brand advocate for LGBTQ rights, criminal justice reform, and the advancement of scientific research in cannabis.
“We’re so excited to continue to partner with such a diverse class of LA-based artists and manufacturers to create bespoke, curated pieces for this line,” added Connors. “As we solidify our roots in the city we call home, we’re also excited to reveal collaborations with fellow cannabis brands that are in the pipeline. In order to create an equitable industry, it’s important to us to partner with and uplift fellow brands that share our ethical values, as well as our commitment to ‘highly’ designed cannabis products.”