Ascend Wellness Holdings
Danielle Drummond / Vice President of Social Equity
Drummond has more than 15 years of experience in combating racial bias and helping establish culturally responsive practices in the fields of education, criminal justice, and community development. As the newly appointed Vice President of Social Equity, a newly created position at Ascend Wellness Holdings (OTC: AAWH), Drummond works alongside Andrew Brown, president of AWH New York, to develop and lead community partnerships and restorative justice initiatives across the Company’s existing five-state footprint and spearhead its entrance into the New York market. Before joining AWH, Drummond served as Deputy Chief of Community Engagement at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston, MA.
When did you formally enter the cannabis space?
I entered the cannabis industry on November 29th, 2021, when I accepted the VP of Social Equity position at Ascend Wellness Holdings.
What made you decide to work in the cannabis industry?
I have worked alongside communities to champion social justice in the education, public health, and criminal justice reform fields. Entering the cannabis industry now, when it is expanding its footprint, allows me to be creative and at the forefront of shaping how companies like Ascend are thinking of social equity and corporate responsibility.
Do you feel there is more opportunity for Black Americans in the cannabis industry versus a more traditional industry? Yes or no and why?
The barriers to entry in Cannabis are the same as in other industries. Systemic racism, lack of access to capital, and other resources are societal issues and therefore replicate themselves across all systems. The Cannabis industry being newer, has the opportunity to acknowledge this reality and be proactive about addressing it.
What is the most successful social equity effort in your opinion? Can be a charity or company program.
Many grassroots organizations run by Black and Brown people are doing excellent work in the Cannabis space to raise awareness of inequities and educate and advocate for policy changes. The most successful programs are those run by the community for the community. These programs will intimately understand the needs of those disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs and systemic racism. WOCC comes to mind as an example, Women of Color in Cannabis, an organization dedicated to ensuring communities in NY, NJ, and nationwide receive education and advocacy around cannabis.
What is your personal goal for 2022?
My goal for 2022 is to partner with the communities Ascend serves and leverage our position and resources to their benefit. Ascend will partner with national and local organizations to host expungement clinics across all of our markets, offer mentorship and business incubation, provide free educational workshops for our communities, and invest in those communities through grantmaking.