In the burgeoning legal cannabis industry, it's easy for brands to pay lip service to social justice without taking meaningful action. But California-based 40 Tons is beyond good intentions. Through innovative initiatives centered on employment and education, this Black-owned brand is driving tangible impact for communities harmed by the War on Drugs.
In a significant move towards both advocating and advancing social equity in New York's budding cannabis industry, 40 Tons, has announced its official entry into the Empire State marketplace through strategic partnerships with HPI Canna.
Founded by Loriel Alegrete, 40 Tons has its roots in a deeply personal journey. 40 Tons was created when her husband, Anthony, and lifelong friend, Corvain Cooper, were unjustly incarcerated on cannabis-related charges. Thankfully, both men have since been released, and together with Loriel, they have transformed 40 Tons into a powerful advocate for restorative justice, decriminalization, legalization and rehabilitation.
As 40 Tons prepares to make its debut in New York, the brand unveiled a series of unique activations intended to give back to the entire cannabis supply chain. The journey began on Saturday, January 20th, with an appearance at the New York Cannabis Retail Association's (NYCRA) Industry Party in Brooklyn. Set against the backdrop of Bushwick's Fine & Raw Chocolate Factory, this event offered industry stakeholders the first opportunity to network and collaborate with the 40 Tons team.
“It's a chance to connect with a brand that stands for social justice and community empowerment,” said NYCRA’s Britni Tantalo.
For co-founder Corvain Cooper, January 20th also held special significance as it marked the three year anniversary since his release from a life sentence for cannabis. "It feels so empowering to now help create opportunities for those overcoming similar challenges," he shared with Honeysuckle Magazine, underscoring the importance of 40 Tons' mission.
On Sunday, January 21st, 40 Tons held a public launch at CONBUD’s new dispensary at 85 Delancey Street. These events were not only opportunities for the public to engage with the brand but also serve as recruitment forums.
With their entry in the New York market, 40 Tons is actively seeking brand ambassadors and account representatives to join their team and further their mission along the East Coast.
In the near future, consumers in New York will be able to find 40 Tons-branded flower and pre-rolls at state-licensed dispensaries, such as CONBUD.
These collaborations extend beyond delivering quality cannabis products; it is a collective effort to support legacy cannabis operators in New York and across the country, from the supply chain to retail, with a strong commitment to advancing social justice initiatives.
Sephida Artis-Mills, Chief Strategy Officer of HPI Canna, emphasizes their dedication to both quality products and social justice, stating in Honeysuckle Magazine, "This collaboration is the beginning of a collective community effort."
CONBUD, led by founder and CEO Coss Marte, who himself has a unique origin story which include cannabis convictions, is deeply committed to its mission of employing formerly incarcerated individuals and sharing their stories.
Marte believes that the partnership with 40 Tons is a step toward reshaping the national narrative surrounding cannabis, bridging the gap between exceptional cannabis experiences and their shared mission to empower, educate, and uplift those impacted by injustice.
Beyond merely offering cannabis products, 40 Tons also donates a portion of proceeds to nonviolent cannabis prisoners and provides formerly incarcerated individuals with employment opportunities.
Their 40 Tons Careers division connects marginalized communities with education and jobs through conferences and partnerships. By actively recruiting top cannabis companies committed to hiring and training system-impacted talent, 40 Tons Careers opens doors for diverse applicants.
"We want to empower these communities to thrive in the legal market which they helped establish," said CEO Loriel Alegrete.
40 Tons New York welcome tour continued with an exclusive product launch event on Thursday, January 25th, in collaboration with Chef For Higher, an esteemed culinary culture brand led by "Hawaii" Mike Salman. Alongside showcasing their products, 40 Tons previewed a 15-minute documentary and engaged in a fireside chat with attendees.
40 Tons co-founder and Chief Operations Officer Anthony Alegrete shared his personal connection to New York with Honeysuckle Magazine, saying, "As someone who knows the history and deeply respects the New York culture, it's important to me that these roots are reflected in our brand."
It is clear for anyone to see, 40 Tons represents the vanguard of mission-driven cannabis brands using business as a force for social repair. By aligning sustainable revenue with community uplift, 40 Tons offers a model for grounded, accountable social equity programs. One that moves beyond rhetoric to drive institutional change.
As the cannabis industry matures, the principles of inclusion and justice must not be forgotten. 40 Tons' work breathes life into these ideals, forging paths to economic mobility for the communities who suffered most under prohibition.
Their success only serves to illustrate the positive ripples one ethically focused company can generate. By starting with and focusing on those people most impacted, 40 Tons transforms hardship into hope.
In summary, 40 Tons' entry into New York's cannabis market is not just about selling cannabis products; it's a powerful statement of commitment to social equity and justice reform.
Through partnerships, recruitment efforts, and a passionate team, 40 Tons is set to make a lasting impact, bringing hope and opportunity to those who have been impacted by the injustices of the past.
Their touch down in New York simply represents a homecoming, a return to roots, and a promise to reflect the essence of the city in their brand. As the cannabis industry matures here in New York and across the country, it will be brands like 40 Tons that remind us that business can be a force for positive change and community upliftment.
To that, we say welcome to New York 40 Tons!