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Cannabis Industry Steps Up to Support Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is raging. American cannabis businesses are helping to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the crisis. Russia invaded Ukraine’s smaller neighbour on February 24, after occupying the border for many months. This created a humanitarian emergency.

In California, San Francisco’s MediThrive dispensary is raising funds to donate to the Sunflower of Peace, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit working to support the Ukrainian people in the midst of the Russian invasion. Misha Breyburg, MediThrive’s CEO is a Ukrainian Jewish refugee. She immigrated as a young child from Odessa in Ukraine to the United States. 

“This hits especially close to home, especially for Jewish Ukrainians,” he told the Jewish News of Northern California. “I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do something.”

Breyburg, in support of Ukraine’s citizens, painted his dispensary window in Mission District blue and yellow. These colors are the same as the Ukrainian flag. Sunflower of Peace will receive the proceeds of any cannabis sale made March 6, 2018, and the business will also donate the profits to Sunflower of Peace. Their fundraising efforts provide humanitarian assistance to the people affected by the conflict in Ukraine. 

“While many charitable efforts focus on providing Ukraine with food and military aid, the medical professionals responding to the crisis in Ukraine struggle to treat the wounded and sick,” MediThrive said in a statement. “They require more medical and survival supplies.”

MediThrive also plans to donate 10% of sales of cannabis through March 13, 2013 to Sunflower of Peace. This charity incorporates the Ukrainian national floral into its logo and name. On Monday, Breyburg said the drive had already raised “in the high five figures.”

“It felt pretty incredible,” he said.

Sunflower of Peace was established in 2014 to provide support for orphans of Ukraine and those who are internally displaced. Following the outbreak of coronavirus in Europe, and other parts of the world last year, Sunflower of Peace shifted its focus towards those most affected by COVID-19. Sunflower of Peace refocused its attention to the most urgent needs following last month’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Due to the current crisis in Ukraine, Sunflower of Peace started a new fundraiser to provide medical and humanitarian aid that will be used by the paramedics and doctors in the areas that are affected by the violence in Ukraine,” the group writes on its website. “We are acquiring and distributing first-aid backpacks, medicine, medical instruments and other means of survival that are saving hundreds of lives. These supplies meant the world to people affected by violence when we started our first fundraiser in 2015, and they mean the world to all Ukrainians now.”

Pot and Pierogies Detroit

In Detroit, cannabis dispensary and cultivation center Luxury Loud teamed up with Srodek’s Quality Polish Food for a Pot and Pierogies fundraiser for Ukraine. Luxury Loud donated 100 percent of its sales on March 6 to UNICEF for the children of Ukraine, while Srodek’s food truck was offering complimentary pierogies and kielbasa for a donation. 

Luxury Loud’s principals also have personal memories of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Grower and engineering manager Marko Malinowski and his brother Christian Malinowski, one of the partners in the business, are Ukrainian Americans who are well-known in Detroit’s Ukrainian community.

“It’s a little more unique,” Malinowski told the Detroit Free Press. “Pot and Pierogi kind of catches people’s attention for some reason, and they do go well together actually.”

Mattio Communications, an international cannabis PR firm, has raised funds to support Ukraine. They will match donations made to any of the organizations involved in securing Ukraine’s safety and security. A social media campaign was announced by the company last week that will see them match donations.

“As we watch in horror as violence and heartbreak spreads through Ukraine, the need for action has never been greater,” the company wrote in a statement to Chronic News. “The Mattio Communications team will be matching all donations made to the United Nations Refugee Agency, Kyiv Independent, Voices of Children, Amnesty International and CARE Ukraine Crisis Fund up to $3,000. Simply make your donation, and send a screenshot to @MattioCommuncations on Instagram.”