Summer Jenkins is executive director at Cannabis Insurance Wholesalers, which creates insurance and risk management programs that meet the unique and ever-changing needs of the legal cannabis industry.
We spoke with Summer for our Higher Calling series, where we talk to leaders in the cannabis space.
Summer, tell us…
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
Grew up in Fremont, California. Now lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.
Cannabis, the plant and the culture, has had a huge impact on my life. Five years ago I was tasked with creating insurance programs for the new legal cannabis industry. Since then I have learned from some of the best, most prominent activists and professionals. I learned from Dale Sky Jones – principal of Oaksterdam University – about the historical social stigma of the plant and its users and its basis in systemic racism and subjugation of marginalized communities. I learned that social equality is therefore important. I also learned to grow large plants at home. I am a lifelong believer in holistic healing and natural remedies. I benefited from the opportunity to make cannabis products for elderly friends and members of my church. The plant, the science and the culture changed my life forever, and I am grateful.
A favorite flower, edible, product or brand.
I don’t use cannabis products, but I do use my own creations on my hair and skin.
The biggest challenge facing marijuana marketers today.
The law. Cannabis business owners are often forced to comply with laws and tax structures that make it nearly impossible to run a successful business.
One thing you are excited about right now in the branding, partnerships or marketing of cannabis.
Excited about future teaching opportunities and expanding into new areas.
a cannabis trade/social justice organization that supports you.
National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) are both organizations committed to serving the industry. The CCIA’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion completed the first review of state-approved social equity programs. This study included accounts from actual social equity program participants, giving them the voice and support to make much-needed changes to the programs.
A recent project you are proud of.
The social equity accountability report. I am a proud service provider in the cannabis industry. This project has allowed me to give a voice to the voiceless and to serve the industry that has given me so many opportunities.
Someone else’s project that you recently admired.
Mrs. Angela White from Success Centers. Mrs. Angela and her organization serve marginalized communities in many ways. Re-entry programs for individuals leaving prison, services to commit youth, employment services, job training and placement services. Mrs. Angela runs the “Budding Industry Job Shop,” where cannabis entrepreneurs and those who want to become cannabis entrepreneurs can learn how to get a license, apply for grants, create business plants and more. For those with licenses, she provides METRC training, training on operations and other concerns relevant to licensees. Her services are free. As a non-profit organization, the program runs solely on donations. Nonprofit organizations are not eligible to receive grant funds in support of cannabis. Mrs. Angela works with industry titans like Caliva, The Parent Company and other well-known brands, but she does her job with kindness and humility. I admire her immensely.
What you would be doing if you weren’t in the cannabis business.
Managing insurance companies and not having nearly as much fun.