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BigMike & Humanity Heroes Help Los Angeles’ Homeless on Skid Row

Humanity Heroes is the non-profit started by BigMike Straumietis, founder and CEO of Advanced Nutrients, to help society’s most vulnerable.

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Humanity Heroes
PHOTO | Casey Rodgers/AP Images for Advanced Nutrients
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The coach doors opened onto a filthy street. It was a sensory overload of sights, sounds and above all else, smells. This was my first visit to Skid Row, a neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, whose homeless residents have found themselves marginalized by society.

It wasn’t where I had expected to find myself the weekend before Christmas. The week before, I had interviewed BigMike Straumietis, founder and CEO of Advanced Nutrients, at MJBiz in Las Vegas, during which he spoke passionately about his non-profit charity, Humanity Heroes. When it transpired I would fortuitously be in L.A. on 12/21, I jumped at the chance to help.

BigMike launched his initial organization, Holiday Heroes, in 2016. This year, as a sign of BigMike’s commitment to helping those that need it most, Holiday Heroes has grown and expanded into Humanity Heroes, creating a year-long effort to help the vulnerable instead of only once a year at Christmas.

It has the same ethos and mission: to help cultivate sustainable communities by providing them with the tools necessary to strengthen their foundations and propel them toward lasting change.

“Holiday Heroes was very limiting, so we thought we’d change it to Humanity Heroes,” BigMike told me as we handed out backpacks. “It opened up a lot more versatility for us to help. The goal of Humanity Heroes is to grow it as big as we possibly can, to help people who need it and give back to society.”

BigMike hands out backpacks to some of society’s most vulnerable on Skid Row. PHOTO | Casey Rodgers/AP Images for Advanced Nutrients

I have followed the successful businessman’s philanthropic passion project for years and admired the generosity and humanitarian nature of the work BigMike does for the community. For the last four years, BigMike and his team head to Skid Row to hand out backpacks stuffed with things like blankets, gloves and toiletries. To date, the organization has donated more than $450K in nonperishable items — packaged in over 5,000 backpacks — to the Los Angeles homeless community. My husband and some of our friends joined volunteers from Advanced Nutrients and My Friend’s House Foundation to hand out food, coffee, clothing and conversation to the residents of Skid Row.

“It’s helped the homeless down here on Skid Row quite a bit,” BigMike told me. “There’s a lot of folks here, they know about us, they know what’s in the backpacks and they’re lining up to receive them. And I gotta tell ya, it’s how it makes you feel. The volunteers here, I’ve talked to a lot of them, it makes you feel really, really good to get out and participate and to give back. And I encourage everyone to do it. Whether it’s Humanity Heroes, or any other type of charity, go and help. It will make a difference in your life.”

He’s right.

“These folks down here are going through some hard times and we’re here to help them get back on their feet and back into society,” said BigMike.

Part of that is making them feel like society hasn’t forgotten about them. That they matter, that we see them and that they haven’t been forgotten about.

“A lot of people drive past homeless people, they forget about them,” BigMike continued. “Instead, they should be driving by thinking, ‘What can I do to help?'”

Advanced Nutrients Founder and CEO BigMike Straumietis, left, teams up with My Friend’s House Foundation’s Founder Tiffany Rose to pay it forward this holiday season on Skid Row on December 21, 2019 in Los Angeles. PHOTO | Casey Rodgers/AP Images for Advanced Nutrients

I asked him why Advanced Nutrients is partnering with My Friend’s House Foundation, another L.A.-based non-profit that’s dedicated to helping the homeless and economically disadvantaged.

“They are down here every Wednesday from 12-2 pm feeding a lot of folks,” he told me. “And it’s not about us. It’s about the community collaborating and getting together — we’re stronger together than we are apart.”

I asked him why he believes corporate philanthropy is so important.

“I first started in Bulgaria in 2012, where I helped with handouts to those who have nothing,” he said. “It just happened. I started in Bulgaria and I brought it here. It just seemed like the right thing to do.”

BigMike would love roll out Humanity Heroes on a global scale. “First, we have to get the situation here in L.A. taken care of, get a system and a pathway that works then roll it out all over the world,” he said.

How can people help, I asked him.

“It’s easy. Visit joinhumanityheroes.org— it’s that simple to help.”

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

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Psychonauts Celebrate Magic Mushroom Day

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Magic Mushrooms Day

September 20 is Magic Mushroom Day. Similarly to stoners celebrating 4/20 and 7/10, and LSD enthusiasts celebrating 4/19, entheogenic communities around the world celebrate the psychedelic renaissance on 9/20.

The concept was coined in 2015 when Nicholas Reville, a mushroom advocate from Providence, Rhode Island, declared September 20 as an “educational day of action,” apparently citing the spirit of 4/20 as an opportunity to talk about psilocybin reform, regulations and, of course, rejoice in the magic of psychedelics.

“9/20 was chosen because it is at the beginning of autumn, when mushrooms are most plentiful; because it is close to the equinox, representing a change in direction; and because it echoes 4/20 and the successful movement for marijuana decriminalization and legalization,” said Reville in an interview with Rolling Stone.

Magic Mushrooms: The Next “Green” Wave?

Interest around the benefits and effects of psilocybin, the main active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been steadily growing over the last number of years, with legalization closely following.

In May 2019, Denver became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin. Oakland soon followed with its own law in June that same year, decriminalizing plant and fungi psychedelics.

At the last election in 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin with Measure 109 for mental health treatment in supervised settings.

At the same time, the District of Columbia decriminalize the use of magic mushrooms and other psychedelic substances with the passage of Initiative 81.

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Peep the Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection

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Pepsi x Dapper Dan
Photos | Courtesy of Pepsi

Pepsi has partnered with Harlem-based designer and streetwear legend, Dapper Dan, to create The Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection.

As part of the Pepsi “Made for Football Watching” NFL campaign, the iconic collaboration brings the football fan apparel game to the next level with this limited-edition capsule collection created for fans to show up in style, no matter where they’re watching.

The Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection features fashion-forward football-watching pieces including a lounger, hoodie, bucket hat, and custom-patterned Pepsi can to ensure fans are fitted and geared up for every touchdown, sack and fumble.

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Power & Collaboration Are the Name of the Game at WEIC Women’s Leadership Summit

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Power & Collaboration WEiC
PHOTO | Tinnakorn

In 2019 women held 37% of senior level positions in cannabis. Alarmingly, less than 8% of CEOs are women and only 38% of all positions in cannabis are held by women. This statistic and much more will be the topic of discussion at the Women Empowered In Cannabis (WEIC) Power & Collaboration summit on July 21, 2021, from 10 am PST – 5 pm PST.

The one day summit is WEIC’s first virtual Women’s Leadership Summit and will address the rapid loss of female leadership and power in cannabis and question how the community can address and stop this trend.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build an industry from the ground up that is inclusive, diverse and just, and yet women are losing ground at a distressing rate,” said Kyra Reed, WEIC founder and CEO. “The summit is designed to help women elevate our voices and establish real power in the global cannabis market.”

Power & Collaboration WEiC

Meet the Speakers

The Women’s Leadership Summit: Power and Collaboration brings together a diverse group of influential women. This virtual summit offers opportunities for women to learn and interact with each other, irrespective of their location.

Andrea Brooks, Founder and CEO – Sava; Annie Holman, Founder and CEO – The Galley; Christine De La Rosa – The People’s Ecosystem; Kate Lynch, SVP Marketing – Curaleaf; Khadijah Adams – Girl Get that Money; Franny Tacy, Founder and CEO – Franny’s Farmacy; Helen Gomez Andrews, Co-founder and CEO – The High End; Katie Pringle, Co-founder – Marigold Marketing; Kendra Losee, Founder and CEO – Mota Marketing; Lelehnia DuBois – The Humboldt Grace; Dr. Lola Ohonba, WCI Health, Clinical Pharmacist, Certified Medical Cannabis Specialist – WCI; Mara Gordon, Founder and TEDx speaker – Aunt Zelda’s; Mskindness Rivera; Nancy Whiteman, CEO – Wana Brands; Rosie Mattio, Founder and CEO – MATTIO Communications; Scheril Murray Power, Cannabis and Agricultural Attorney – Doumar Allsworth Laystrom Voigt Wachs Adair & Dishowitz LLP; Susan Soares, Founder and CEO – The State of Cannabis; Tiffany Yarde; Valda Coryat, CMO – Trulieve

Nancy Whiteman, Wana Brands CEO

“Pursuing inclusion and diversity in business is not just a way to encourage goodwill. It is a strategic business decision that can literally make or break a company. This is not a wishful, feel-good attempt to make news or have people speak well of the industry. It is truly how we survive — and maybe how we change the world a little bit.” – Nancy Whiteman, Wana Brands CEO

Mara Gordon – Founder Aunt Zelda’s

“This quote from the late Helen Keller says it all – ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.'” – Mara Gordon – Founder Aunt Zelda’s

Dr. Lola Ohonba PHARM.D.

“Women are the “Pillar” of the world but are being left behind in major sectors of our economy especially after the pandemic. It’s time for us to come together as one to claim our spot at the decision-making table!” – Dr. Lola Ohonba PHARM.D.

Chrystal Ortiz – CEO/Founder Herb & Market Humboldt, High Water Farm

“It is well known that women are more than good enough to run companies. We need to recognize if we are good enough to do the work, we are good enough to own the work. We need to empower one another, create financial opportunities and invest in each other to become owners and make sure there are women in the C-suite of the companies we work with. This is why.” – Chrystal Ortiz – CEO/Founder Herb & Market Humboldt, High Water Farm

Power & Collaboration Event Topics

The day’s schedule will be broken into ten categories:

  • Keynote: EXECUTIVES: How to Use Power in Leadership
  • Keynote: MESSAGING: Developing a POWER message for women in cannabis
  • Keynote: FINANCE: Women, Money & Power
  • Panel: CULTIVATION: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: MANUFACTURING: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: SCIENCE & RESEARCH: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: RETAIL: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: INTERNATIONAL: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: CBD: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: HEMP: Power & Collaboration

Join the all-day live virtual conference on July 21, 2021, at 10 am PST / 1 pm EST – 5 pm PST / 8 pm EST

Don’t miss this incredible event! Register here to attend.

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