CannTech Captured: Eaze CEO Jim Patterson on Tech’s Responsibility to Social Equity Work
At our inaugural CannTech 2019 event earlier this year, Samar Marwan from Forbes sat down with Eaze CEO Jim Patterson to discuss the intersection of cannabis and technology. Cannabis’ complex history came up repeatedly in the conversation, and Jim emphasized Eaze’s work to support social impact programs that expand patient access and address the negative impact from the War on Drugs. “Cannabis is a social-political movement,” Jim said, “it’s really, really important that we remember that this isn’t just building a company, but it’s also supporting the movement”.
Jim highlighted two major issues canntech companies can fight for: expungement and compassionate care.
Under many legalization laws passed across the country, low- level cannabis offenses are now eligible for expungement. But clearing these offenses, which number over 800,000 nationally, is a massive undertaking — and that’s where canntech companies can step in to help. Eaze, for its part, contributed $100,000 to Code for America’s “Justice at Scale” campaign to support the clearance of 250,000 low-level, drug-related criminal records in California.
But they didn’t stop there. Eaze is also involved in the non-profit’s Clear My Record program, which provides engineering support to help develop an automated expungement program to clear millions of low-level records across the country. With this auto-expungement tool, governments can read criminal records and determine eligibility for thousands of low-level convictions in just a few minutes, as opposed to weeks, months, or even years. This is the perfect example of how canntech can support the cannabis movement by combining what it knows best — technology — with what non-profits like Code for America know best — fighting for social justice.
Eaze is also focused on increasing access to legal cannabis for all adults, but especially those with chronic illnesses. Medical cannabis is used for many symptoms and conditions, including PTSD, relieving nausea, improving appetite, and acting as a sleep aid, and in Eaze’s backyard of San Francisco, is a critical component of compassionate care programs for HIV patients and veterans.
At the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, patients discovered cannabis was one of the few remedies that could help them keep on weight and improve their appetite. As a result, activists fought to open up cannabis access to patients suffering from these debilitating side effects of antiviral drugs. Their tireless work led to the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, which allowed doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients, and paved the way for legalization efforts throughout the country.
Eaze’s delivery-based business model makes legal cannabis more accessible to those who want it and need it — especially those who are bedridden or lack transportation. To further highlight delivery’s role in serving those in need, Eaze recently joined forces with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation as its first cannabis-industry partner to produce the “Cannabis + HIV” event. Additionally, Eaze created a 25% ongoing discount for veterans, to ensure their medicine is as accessible as possible to treat symptoms and conditions including depression, PTSD and anxiety.
Canntech and social justice are inextricably linked, and Eaze’s work is an example of how a large platform can support social good. At DCM, we believe companies following this path are the best-positioned for success in this new era of cannabis.