A Letter to Our Community

Karan Wadhera
3 min readJun 29, 2020

The Casa Verde team and I have spent the last month listening, learning, and reflecting following the disturbing murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others before them. As protests sweep the globe, the amount of anger, frustration, resentment, sadness, pain, and anxiety is both palpable and understandable. To be clear, Black Lives Matter. Period. Casa Verde fully supports those fighting against the systemic racism within our society.

As beneficiaries of the cannabis industry, we have an added responsibility to not only voice our discontent but to take action. Drug laws in this country have disproportionately impacted communities of color: Black people are 3.6 times more likely than white people to be arrested for cannabis possession, despite similar usage rates.

With that said, we have outlined the immediate steps that Casa Verde is taking to support communities of color and promote a more equitable cannabis industry. We must and will do better. Please know that this is merely the beginning:

  • Investment: We will promote a more equitable cannabis industry by championing and advancing Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-led businesses. Specifically, we will prioritize the evaluation of BIPOC-led businesses and fast-track initial meetings with our team. We commit to providing feedback and assistance during and after these meetings, with the ultimate intention of funding more BIPOC founders.
  • Mentorship: We are establishing an “office hours” program for communities of color, enabling anyone to schedule a dedicated session with a member of the Casa Verde team or our broader network. This is not just for founders, but also for students, prospective employees, non-profit organizations, aspiring entrepreneurs, and others who are looking for inroads into the cannabis industry. If you have interest in this mentorship or know others who would, please email us at community@casaverdecapital.com. Similarly, if you are interested in offering your time as a mentor, we would love to hear from you.
  • Recruiting: While Casa Verde has a diverse general partnership (three of us are persons of color), we need more minority representation on our broader team. Building a measurably diverse team begins with more inclusive recruiting practices: we will prioritize BIPOC candidates, while also targeting HBCUs and inclusive student groups for both internships and full-time positions. We will urge our portfolio companies to do the same.
  • Donations: Casa Verde and its team members have made and will continue to make donations to organizations promoting criminal justice reform within the cannabis industry.

We want to be clear that this is just a start. We view this as an ongoing, long-term commitment to diversity, equity, and justice, within both the cannabis industry and the broader venture capital ecosystem.

I am proud of my partners Ted Chung (Cashmere Agency) and Calvin Broadus (Snoop Dogg) for advancing this work across other spheres in parallel. Cashmere recently launched OneOpp, a tool for brands to make social justice part of their culture. Similarly, Snoop has leveraged his platform to bring awareness of these critical issues to his tens of millions of followers. We look forward to driving further progress together with the broader Casa Verde team.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, comments, or feedback. I am humbled to take these important next steps as we continue to learn and become better allies for our community.

With respect,

Karan Wadhera
Managing Partner

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Karan Wadhera

Managing Partner at Casa Verde Capital — the leading venture capital firm in the cannabis industry