Serving as a good corporate citizen in a fast-growing CPG category is integral to Cresco Labs’ mission to normalize and professionalize cannabis. We firmly believe that how the company uses its considerable platform as an industry leader and steward for Social Impact and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will set the proper tone towards building a responsible, respectable and robust U.S. cannabis industry.

Our commitment to Social Impact and DEI starts at the top with our Board of Directors, who are wholeheartedly focused on fostering a fair workplace and engaged in the critical issues that are shaping this industry. Together with the Executive Management team, we are proud of our accomplishments, some of which are outlined below, were pioneering at the time and set an example for the industry to follow.

Cresco Labs has also been extraordinarily influential in policy and regulatory efforts at the state and federal level. We favor and promote Social Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the U.S. cannabis industry and support the decriminalization of cannabis for medicinal and adult use. We believe that all federal legislation should address injustices of historic cannabis prohibition, with a focus on disadvantaged minority communities that were disproportionately targeted for enforcement as part of the War on Drugs. Annually, we engage in hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill with Senators and Representatives and host fundraisers and other lobbying activities to educate and ask for support for key legislation, such as SAFE Banking with capital markets. We also participate in multiple federal associations, including the National Cannabis Roundtable, of which I am the Chairman, and the U.S. Cannabis Council, which has senior leadership on Social Equity and ESG committees. In addition to federal reform, Cresco Labs has offered feedback in the statutory and rulemaking process in six states, supporting opportunities for social equity cannabis operators.

Over the past year, Cresco Labs has been working on an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiative to help us benchmark, evaluate, and ultimately, be able to report on our companywide practices in these areas. This work is part of an evolution of our Social Impact and DEI commitments, as we continue to engage in extensive programmatic work across the country and increase more metrics-driven strategic planning and reporting. We look forward to sharing our inaugural report soon.

While Cresco Labs has demonstrated an extraordinary pace of growth in the last decade, we have learned that cannabis’ growth trajectory is rarely linear, especially in a highly regulated industry with a fragmented state-by-state structure, conflicting federal and state laws and the addition of some general macro-pressures affecting all cannabis companies. While industry dynamics and complexities have an impact on Social Impact and DEI objectives, Cresco Labs remains committed to its work and continues to drive towards its vision of becoming the most important and impactful company in cannabis.

- Charlie Bachtell, CEO

Social Impact Snapshot

  • Launched in 2019 the industry’s first, most comprehensive Social Equity and Educational Development initiative, SEEDTM. Learn more about our work, here.

  • Started in 2019 the first Community Business Incubator from a cannabis company for Illinois social equity applicants.

  • Established in 2020 the first workforce development and training center with full-scale dispensary that is run by a multi-state operator called the Illinois Cannabis Education Center.

  • Procured $11 million in goods and services through minority and women-owned businesses and provided ongoing financial support and educational resources to a multitude of restorative justice and community-based organizations, businesses and colleges.

  • Diversification of the Board starting in 2020 to include two African Americans and two females resulted in Cresco Labs having the highest level of board diversity of all public cannabis operators.

  • Created in 2020 the industry’s first Responsible Advertising and Marketing Standards to ensure that Cresco Labs always markets and promotes its brands and products responsibly.

  • Led two state efforts to craft and pass legislation in support of Social Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act—the first legislatively passed adult use bill with a focus on social equity applicants—and the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act in New York—the largest U.S. social equity program.

  • Supported all federal legislative instruments—the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity (CAOA) Act, Secure & Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act, and Capital Lending and Investment for Marijuana Businesses (CLIMB) Act—that would provide pathways for restorative justice, economic opportunities for social equity applicants and pathways for licensure for communities impacted by the War on Drugs.