When Chicago Speaks, Nature’s Care Listens | Sponsored | Nature’s Care Company (paid sponsored content) | Chicago Reader
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“It began in December 2019, during a casual dinner conversation between Nature’s Care and ColaGroup,” said Charles Amadin, General Manager of Nature’s Care Company. “And that conversation budded into two historic cannabis equity and social justice partnerships—two partnerships that are paving the way for cannabis dispensaries, not only shining light on the sincere struggles and historic wrongs of cannabis laws, but also providing the necessary resources to eradicate those wrongs and establish pathways to success for disproportionately impacted individuals harmed by the War on Drugs.”

Gary Little, CEO of ColaGroup, LLC. and Dispensary Manager of Nature's Care Co., & Charles Amadin, General Manager of Nature's Care Co.
  • Gary Little, CEO of ColaGroup, LLC. and Dispensary Manager of Nature's Care Co., & Charles Amadin, General Manager of Nature's Care Co.

Nature’s Care may be a medical and adult-use cannabis dispensary brand in Illinois, but its mission includes much more than selling cannabis. Nature’s Care believes in doing the right thing and using its resources to support under-served communities and citizens in Illinois. With its upcoming new cannabis dispensary slated to open in the West Loop on September 28, Nature’s Care is taking this time to show Chicago the reality of their mission and just what they’ve been up to for the past year.

In March 2020, Nature’s Care signed a first-of-its-kind in the nation Community Benefits Agreement with Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition (CEIC), designed to ensure that the economic success of Nature’s Care West Loop dispensary is linked with economic benefits for the communities most disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs. Nature’s Care agreed to the following:

  • Hire 75% of employees from disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) within two years
  • Provide 100% living wages for those individuals
  • Donate 10% of dispensary net profits to community organizations that help DIAs
  • Contract at least 10% of products and services from minority and social equity businesses
  • Create a training and career development program for employees
  • Host “know-your-rights” events and participate in National Expungement Week and ongoing expungement support.

And Nature’s Care is holding true to this agreement, having already hired 95% of the promised employees from DIAs in half of the promised time—all 33 jobs, with more to come, provide 100% living wages.

Nature’s Care also signed an agreement with ColaGroup, a social equity partner in Illinois, seeking to combat social injustice by creating real solutions and pathways to help those disproportionately impacted. The solutions include education in expungement, “Know Your Rights” virtual community events, financial literacy, cannabis careers, and guidance and sponsorship in business ventures. In addition, Nature’s Care sponsored 34 applications for cannabis licenses to the State of Illinois for individuals from DIAs.

Nature’s Care and ColaGroup are particularly proud of and committed to their work on expungement, which involves clearing or sealing the record of a person’s prior arrest, criminal charges, or convictions. Together, they created an online dashboard (naturescarecompany​.com/social-​equity) that provides step-by-step educational information, access to legal services, and the necessary knowledge required to navigate the cannabis expungement process. Nature’s Care is also supporting National Expungement Week (Sept. 19-26), during which they covered the rap sheet costs of almost 40 participants.

“It’s not lip service. We act on our promises. Over the last year, we created an online dashboard to help navigate expungement, built a dispensary team from DIAs, and worked with minority and social equity businesses to make Nature’s Care West Loop a reality—among many others,” stated Amadin.

To celebrate the milestone achievements coming out of both the CEIC and ColaGroup agreements, Nature’s Care is running an equity campaign entitled “The City is Speaking. And We Hear You.” The campaign genesis speaks to the city’s outcry for change and support, and it will spotlight the agreements, the partners who pushed them into reality, and Nature’s Care’s mission and accomplishments.

“It’s time for Chicago to see and experience what we’ve created,” said Amadin. “We love and care about what we do, and our Nature’s Care West Loop dispensary is proof that we honor our promises. Supporting Nature’s Care means supporting your community. ‘The City is Speaking. And We Hear You.’”

Nature’s Care West Loop is located at 810 West Randolph Street and is slated to open Monday, September 28, 2020. For more information on the location, agreements, and how to access the tools and services listed, visit NaturesCareCompany.com or follow the brand on Instagram (@naturescare) and Facebook (@naturescarecompany).

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