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Leveraging Legal Cannabis to Address Educational Inequalities: Mosaic and FEF’s Visionary Partnership

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The intersection of the cannabis industry and social justice is a crucial nexus where the repercussions of cannabis prohibition have profoundly affected marginalized communities. With minorities being disproportionately targeted and facing higher arrest rates for marijuana use, the call for legalization has become intertwined with the imperative to rectify historical injustices. The imperative is not just to legalize cannabis but to ensure that the communities adversely affected have the opportunity to transition and prosper in the legal cannabis market.

In a distinct and potentially groundbreaking approach to addressing social justice in the cannabis industry, Mosaic, an ancillary cannabis company specializing in digital solutions for dispensaries, has forged a strategic partnership with the Freedom Educational Foundation, Inc. (FEF), a nonprofit committed to tackling social inequalities in educational opportunities, particularly in West Africa.

FEF's focus on social inequalities in educational opportunities, not within the US but in West Africa, adds a unique dimension to the conundrum. Despite societal taboos surrounding cannabis use, especially among African youth, the collaboration aims to break barriers by raising awareness about safe cannabis use and providing educational opportunities to underprivileged children in Africa.

Given Africa's significant consumer base, the collaboration  extends beyond breaking stigma and aspires to set a model for African nations on how they can address social justice as they prepare for legal cannabis markets.

MyCannabis had the opportunity to speak with Jack Blaeser, CEO of Mosaic, and Roland Kyei Atupem, President of the Freedom Educational Foundation, Inc to learn more about this partnership.

Can you share how the partnership between Mosaic and the Freedom Educational Foundation, Inc. came about? What inspired both organizations to collaborate on this initiative?

The partnership between Mosaic and the Freedom Educational Foundation, Inc. (FEF) originated from the shared values and aspirations of its founders, Jack Blaeser and Kyei Atumpem. Having met at Boston College and subsequently worked together at AT&T, they developed a strong friendship and a shared vision for making a positive impact on underprivileged communities.

Mosaic, Jack's SaaS startup, focuses on providing cannabis dispensaries with a comprehensive solution, including branded apps, online e-commerce menus, loyalty programs, and payment services—similar to the successful model employed by companies like Starbucks. Concurrently, they co-founded FEF, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding children's education in West Africa, particularly in regions that face educational challenges.

The collaboration between Mosaic and FEF stems from a common commitment to giving back and addressing societal inequalities. Both organizations were inspired by the opportunity to leverage their expertise and resources to benefit underprivileged communities, including minorities who have historically faced obstacles, be it in the cannabis industry or in education. The shared belief in creating positive change led to the strategic collaboration, with Mosaic contributing its business acumen to drive social impact in the cannabis sector, and FEF channeling resources toward educational initiatives in West Africa. Together, they aim to make a meaningful difference by combining their efforts and resources for the betterment of communities in need.

How do you envision Mosaic's support impacting the educational goals and initiatives of the Freedom Educational Foundation? What specific contributions or resources does Mosaic aim to provide to enhance the foundation's mission?

Mosaic's support hopes to have a substantial impact on the educational goals and initiatives of the FEF. In the early stages of their collaboration, Mosaic, as a high-growth for-profit organization, is leveraging its business platform and resources to enhance awareness of FEF's mission. This involves using Mosaic's reach and influence to raise awareness about the foundation's goals and the importance of supporting children's education in West Africa.

Moving forward, Mosaic plans to take its support to the next level by organizing and promoting fundraising events for FEF under its brand. Leveraging Jack Blaeser's experience in running successful events, such as concerts featuring renowned artists like BJ Thomas, Mosaic aims to create impactful fundraising initiatives. These events not only serve as a means to generate financial support but also contribute to increasing public engagement and understanding of FEF's mission.

One of the key contributions Mosaic envisions is sharing a portion of its profits with FEF as the partnership evolves. This commitment underscores Mosaic's dedication to making a sustainable and lasting impact on education in West Africa. By aligning business success with social responsibility, Mosaic aims to provide ongoing financial support to FEF, ensuring a consistent and reliable source of funding for the foundation's educational initiatives.

In summary, Mosaic's multifaceted support involves raising awareness, organizing fundraising events, and sharing profits with FEF.

In what ways do you believe the collaboration will empower and positively impact the communities you serve, both in the cannabis industry and in education, especially focusing on young African minds?

The collaboration between Mosaic and FEF is poised to have a transformative impact on communities, both in the cannabis industry and in education, with a specific focus on empowering those that previously have faced inequality of opportunity.

In the cannabis industry, Mosaic wishes to help address historical injustices that have disproportionately affected minorities, including African communities by providing cannabis dispensaries tools to help make them successful and are missing today. In an industry and governments that wish to provide social equity opportunities for those previously impacted, cannabis business operators encounter formidable challenges, including navigating complex regulatory requirements, complying with the burdensome tax code 280E, and contending with the persistent presence of the illicit market. The regulatory landscape for cannabis remains intricate, with operators facing stringent rules and compliance measures that vary widely across different jurisdictions. Additionally, the tax code 280E places a substantial financial burden on cannabis businesses, disallowing standard business deductions and resulting in higher effective tax rates.

Moreover, the federal illegality of cannabis restricts access to essential technological tools that are commonplace in other industries. Cannabis operators often face limitations in banking services, digital payment solutions, basic technology solutions and comprehensive data analytics due to federal legalization issues. This technological disparity hinders their ability to optimize operational efficiency, track customer preferences, and compete on a level playing field with businesses in federally legal sectors.

As a result, Mosaic aims to help those operators by providing technology that can help them better engage and educate their customers, operate more efficiently and manage regulatory requirements. We hope that in a small way we can help address the economic disparities within the industry but also promote social justice by advocating for fair treatment and opportunities for minority groups.

In the realm of education, the collaboration focuses on alleviating the educational disparities faced by young African minds. Historically, minority communities, including those in Africa, have been deprived of equal educational opportunities. Mosaic and FEF aim to bridge this gap by directing attention and resources toward education initiatives. The holistic approach acknowledges the interconnectedness of social issues, recognizing that addressing educational disparities is key to uplifting communities both economically and socially.

By concentrating on education, the collaboration strives to ensure that young African minds have access to quality education and opportunities that may have been lacking in the past. This not only empowers individuals but also contributes to the overall development of communities. Through these combined efforts, the collaboration envisions creating a positive ripple effect, fostering economic and educational empowerment that extends beyond individual beneficiaries to uplift entire communities. The ultimate goal is to bring about lasting change by breaking down barriers and fostering a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

Addressing educational disparities often involves overcoming various challenges. What challenges do you anticipate in implementing this partnership, and what innovative solutions or strategies do you have in place to address them?

The primary challenge anticipated in implementing this partnership lies in addressing the potential association and stigma associated with a business service supporting the cannabis industry while simultaneously contributing to young children's education. The stigma surrounding cannabis may pose a perceived conflict when collaborating with an educational initiative like FEF.

To navigate this challenge, our strategy involves highlighting the underlying synergy between the cannabis industry and educational empowerment. We aim to emphasize that the collaboration with FEF is not just about supporting cannabis but about addressing historical injustices and empowering communities that share a similar history of inequality. By framing the partnership within a broader context of social responsibility, economic empowerment, and community development, we aim to shift the narrative away from any negative perceptions.

It’s about education in a way;)

Innovative solutions include implementing targeted communication strategies that articulate the dual mission of the collaboration—rectifying historical disparities in the cannabis industry and contributing to educational initiatives. Engaging in transparent and open conversations about the shared values and commitment to social impact will be crucial in building understanding and garnering support from diverse stakeholders.

Additionally, leveraging the business platform of Mosaic to promote and run fundraising events for FEF, focusing on the positive outcomes of education, will contribute to reshaping perceptions. This multifaceted approach aims to not only overcome the challenges related to stigma but also to create a narrative that emphasizes the positive impact the collaboration can have on communities, fostering inclusivity, and empowerment.

Mosaic is partnering with FEF to raise awareness about the foundation's work. How do you plan to leverage Mosaic's platform to advocate for quality education and ignite support for FEF's mission among the cannabis community and beyond?

By aligning the advocacy efforts with Mosaic's brand and values, the collaboration aims to reach not only the cannabis community but also a broader audience, fostering inclusivity and support for educational empowerment. The goal is to create a narrative that resonates with diverse stakeholders, emphasizing the positive impact that collaboration can have on communities and encouraging active participation in supporting quality education through FEF.

Looking ahead, what are the long-term goals and aspirations for this partnership? How do you envision the impact evolving over time, and do you foresee any potential expansion of collaborative efforts beyond the initial stages?

Looking ahead, the long-term goals and aspirations for the partnership between Mosaic and the FEF involve fostering accelerated growth and building momentum for the FEF movement. In the early stages of both organizations, we aim to work collaboratively, leveraging Mosaic's success and growth to propel FEF into a wider and larger audience.

As the partnership matures, the aspiration is to impact not just thousands but potentially hundreds of thousands of young minds in the future. This involves expanding the scope of education initiatives beyond the initial focus on Ghana and West Africa. The collaborative efforts aim to contribute to global education initiatives, with the goal of creating a positive and lasting impact on communities worldwide. By combining the strengths of both organizations, Mosaic and FEF aspire to create a legacy of positive change, empowering countless young minds and fostering educational opportunities on a larger scale while also empowering those given new opportunities in cannabis to be successful.

It was a pleasure to have this conversation with Jack Blaeser, CEO of Mosaic, and Roland Kyei Atupem, President of the Freedom Educational Foundation. Readers are encouraged to check the respective websites for updates on how these companies are making an impact in cannabis and education.

 


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