Wana Brands CEO makes seven-figure donation to fund cannabis research

Wana Brands Founder and CEO Nancy Whiteman Steps Up Charitable Activities with $3 Million for Cannabis and Psychedelic Medicine Research at Johns Hopkins University – The Wana Brands Foundation’s Largest Gift to Date .

Whiteman said Johns Hopkins’ donation aligns with the cannabis edibles maker’s focus on mental health, a cause she called “close to my heart.”

As Whiteman steers Wana Brands for more growth with new edibles such as her Optimals Stay Asleep product, she’s also actively promoting a social agenda.

The Wana Brands Foundation logo is featured prominently on the company’s product packaging.

Wana Brands

The company’s primary goals include food security, housing, domestic violence, LGBTQIA+ rights, and racial justice within the cannabis industry. Wana Brands is a long-time supporter of the Last Prisoner Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to releasing from prison and expunging the criminal records of those imprisoned for cannabis-related offences.

The company also funded autism research and donates to related causes, and it supports the Realm of Caring, a nonprofit that provides grants to fund cannabis research and to connect people. with medical resources to treat various diseases.

The $3 million donation from the Wana Brands Foundation includes $2 million for the Johns Hopkins University Cannabis Science Laboratory and its team led by Ryan Gregory Vandrey, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, as well as $1 million for the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness. To research.

Vandrey confirmed the donation and said the Cannabis Science Lab plans to use the money to conduct initial research into the potential therapeutic effects of cannabis in treating autism. His team collaborates with Jay Salpekar, pediatric neuropsychiatrist and medical director of the epilepsy neuropsychiatry program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

“This is the first philanthropic donation to the JHU Cannabis Science Laboratory and we are extremely grateful to the Wana Brands Foundation for their support of our work,” Vandrey said in an email to MarketWatch. “These gifts allow us to conduct the science that we believe would have the most impact in areas of genuine innovation and scientific interest without being constrained by the priorities of other funding agencies.”

The Wana Brands Foundation, which Whiteman created with $50 million from the company’s $297.5 million payment by Canopy Growth Corp. CGC CA:WEED in 2021, made its first donations in the spring of 2022. Johns Hopkins’ donation, however, marks its first big move in the philanthropic field.

Read also : Canopy Growth is accelerating entry into the US cannabis market instead of waiting for the federal ban to be lifted

About his role on the board of Canopy USA – the planned entity that will own Canopy Growth’s U.S. assets, including Wana Brands, Jetty Extracts and Acreage Cannabis Inc ACB,
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“Whiteman said it was still early.

“I’m super thrilled,” she said. “Over time, the Board will figure out how to structure the new organization to enable synergies between the two companies and leverage what each does best. We are in the early stages, but all the underlying businesses will remain as they are.

Canopy USA will be like a holding company that will allow brands to continue working to gain market share and stand out in the cannabis industry. As the parent company, Canopy Growth would provide resources to Canopy USA businesses, such as research and development facilities.

“Canopy understands that building a brand takes a lot of work,” said Whiteman.

Wana Brands


Looking ahead, Wana Brands plans to continue expanding its Wana Optimals product line with the Stay Asleep product. The company has also increased its staff to 120 from 100 last year.

The Wana Brands Foundation seeks other opportunities to contribute to causes locally and nationally. It plans to provide resources to meet immediate needs as well as fund longer-term initiatives that address the root causes of societal problems.

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