CALLING ALL GRADUATE STUDENTS TO JOIN THE FIGHT FOR CANNABIS JUSTICE

Are you motivated to create real change in the cannabis industry? Does the future of cannabis intrigue you after the recent US legalization sweep? Have you considered working in cannabis but feel stuck due to unclear career trajectories? Perceived stigma? Lack of experience?

 

Join us in analyzing these pressing challenges, and more, during the first-ever cannabis ideathon!

This social impact-focused ideathon was created to fuel insight and fresh solutions into existing problems within the cannabis industry. We provide graduate students with cannabis-focused analytics through our cross-sectional resources from our reputable cannabis industry partners that allow participants to develop creative proposals and actionable initiatives that meet these crucial needs across policy, business, law, health. 

 

This event was designed to encourage intellectually-diverse student participation from all racial backgrounds and ethnicities. No analytics, coding or prior cannabis experience is required to participate, as we’re intentionally pushing back on the existing cannabis recruiting silos present in the industry today. Just use our thought-provoking resource tools sourced from across the industry for a comprehensive primer that can spark your mind to explore and develop a new reality for responsible cannabis legalization.

 

Each participant will have a chance to leave their mark on this burgeoning space by proposing an evidence-based solution that advances equity and economic development for all in the cannabis industry. These submissions will be judged by a panel of industry experts, where you have the change to pitch to - and learn from - those on the front lines of implementing industry-shaking solutions (maybe even yours!)

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WHAT IS AN IDEATHON?

This social impact-focused ideathon was created to fuel insight and fresh solutions into existing problems within the cannabis industry. We provide graduate students with cannabis-focused analytics through our cross-sectional resources from our reputable cannabis industry partners that allow participants to develop creative proposals and actionable initiatives that meet these crucial needs across policy, business, and health. 

 

This event was designed to encourage intellectually-diverse student participation from all racial backgrounds and ethnicities. No analytics, coding or prior cannabis experience is required to participate, as we’re intentionally pushing back on the existing cannabis recruiting silos present in the industry today. Just use our thought-provoking resource tools sourced from across the industry for a rapidfire primer that can spark your mind to explore and develop a new reality for responsible cannabis legalization.

 

Each participant will have a chance to leave their mark on this burgeoning space by proposing an evidence-based solution that advances equity and economic development for all in the cannabis industry. These submissions will be judged by a panel of industry experts, where you have the chance to flex and test your skills in a real-world context.

 

WHY THIS? WHY NOW? 

Despite the accelerated expansion of cannabis legalization, the fight for cannabis equity and progressive policy enactment is still very much raging. We can recognize that Election Day 2020 was a big step in the right direction for drug policy, with 15 states now either having enacted or voted to enact adult-use legalization laws, and 36 states having either enacted or have voted to enact medical marijuana access laws. However, the actual work is still ahead!

 

The power is in our hands and we have an unparalleled opportunity to change the lives of countless people who were and still are impacted by the War on Drugs. Over 7 MILLION people were arrested for marijuana possession just between 2001 and 2010, with the overwhelming majority stemming from Black and Hispanic communities. While evidence shows people of different races use marijuana at similar rates, criminalization of cannabis disproportionately affects people of color. The green rush is not real for those who created this very industry, and that isn't right.


We need innovative minds from different disciplines to think outside the confines of the existing, slow-moving, incremental change within our government bodies and figure out how to mobilize everyday advocates for real change. We need real world context, and an intersectional approach leveraging a combination of public policy, data science, law, business, and health perspectives to break through the typical functional silos we see in other industries.

WHO IS THIS FOR? ​​

  • Those who are creative thinkers, working on their analytical skills, want to explore a new industry, or need a job!

  • The competition is aimed towards current students and recent alumni (Class of 2016 and later)

  • Open to individual applicants, existing teams, or those who want to find a team (we will help you!)

  • Sign up with .edu email here for more information, and to be sent the competition prompt early 2021 

HOW WILL THIS WORK?

  • A problem statement or theme is posed by a cannabis non-profit (prompt will be released in early Jan. 2021)

  • Student teams use our credible resources - or any they find - to create a shareable deliverable that answers the question and provides more insight - ex., infographic, visualization, Tableau dashboard, financial model, etc.

  • After the submission deadline passes, 3 finalists will be determined based on criteria below

  • Our cross-functional panel of judges then chooses the winner among the 3 finalists

  • The finalists will have their work showcased on our website for the public to see, download, & implement

Participants can either find their own (credible) resources or capitalize on our centralized hub of resources, across:

  • Higher Ventures data lake

  • Government websites, legislation, and other official resources

  • University or other peer-reviewed studies (i.e. medical research)

  • Data websites such as Statista, Bloomberg, Euromonitor

  • Personal interviews, user-run surveys, or customer discovery

  • Our sponsor and partner websites (see here)

HOW WILL WINNERS BE DECIDED?

Submissions will be judged among multiple criteria on a 100 point scale, including: 

  • Shareability ​and usability of proposal
  • Impact and novelty of insights (i.e. primary research surveys gain extra points!)
  • Quality and breadth of data sources used

Finalists will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary panel of industry leading experts, for an opportunity to win!

WHAT CAN I WIN? 

Participants - not just winners - will be eligible for: 

  • Priority interviews with cannabis employers

  • Networking with top executives and industry leaders

  • Free swag, industry relationships, and a marketable project to put on your resume

  • WINNERS (decided by judges and company choice): prize pool of $1,000+