Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley Chapter Leaders Cody Little and Jess Sun
I am excited to introduce SSDP’s first business school students, from the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley! Read on to hear more about the cool things they’ve done to raise awareness of what sensible cannabis policy and industry should be.
Why did you want to get involved with SSDP / the cannabis industry?
We’re business school students, and the cannabis industry has fascinating business cases. The things people are doing to work around the unique obstacles to doing business in the industry have a lot to teach us business students. Given Berkeley’s location and reputation for activism, we were surprised that the dialogue surrounding business driving social change didn’t include the cannabis industry when we got to campus as first-year MBAs in 2015. Hence our efforts to bring this conversation to campus and normalize cannabis as an industry among business school students.
What does a sensible drug policy mean to you?
An end to the war on drugs and mass incarceration. Addiction should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. Education, education, education.
What have you accomplished so far?
Over the second half of the fall semester, we hosted a for-credit class that brought in a dozen local cannabis industry leaders to speak over six weeks to around 40 students. It was a lot of students’ first interaction with cannabis, let alone the industry, and we loved exposing students to the rich social justice aspect of the industry, especially in the run up to Prop 64 passing. We also visited Berkeley Patients Group for a behind-the-scenes look into how dispensaries are run.
What do you hope to accomplish this year?
The main thing we hope to accomplish this year is getting our organization approved as an official Haas campus club. We’d also like to set up formal support for students looking to work in the cannabis industry, and throw an unforgettable 4/20 party.
What challenges have you faced? How do you plan to overcome them?
Our main challenge has been student fear of the stigma associated with cannabis in the professional world. We hope that as we continue to be loud industry advocates, more and more students will feel safe coming out as users and working in the industry.
What advice would you give to people who are thinking of getting involved with SSDP / the cannabis industry?
Do it! SSDP allows a ton of flexibility and resources to help you accomplish whatever you’re interested in, and we’ve had a wonderful time making connections with those in the broader cannabis industry. The community is vibrant, diverse and opinionated, and the work within is both educational and meaningful. There really is something for everyone. You won’t regret it!
Anything else you want to add?
A special thanks to Frances Fu and Oliver Zerrudo for all their help so far!
Check out these media hits:
Haas Case Study & Speaker Series Explore a High-Growth Industry: Legal Cannabis
Cannabis at a Crossroads: Speaker Series Examines Industry’s Future