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Speaker Spotlight: Kelly Perez

by | Dec 16, 2021 | Event News | 0 comments

The Future of Cannabis Marketing Event Speaker Spotlight: Kelly Perez


On January 18, 2022, the Cannabis Marketing Association is hosting the Future of Cannabis Marketing event. This forward-thinking, half-day virtual Ted-style event will discuss the cannabis future we want cannabis marcom leaders need to do to shape this future.

Kelly Perez will be the fifth and final speaker of the day. Learn about her background and what she will be talking about:

What topic will you be speaking about at the future of cannabis marketing event?

Consumers demand racial representation in what they see from brands now, but the future calls for authentic representation, not just in images. Cannabis businesses win by modeling diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) that is authentic. DEI are metrics, a way of knowing if what we are doing is working, but what is actually the aim? If we want to tackle racism, we better use the word, “race.” An anti-racist cannabis sector looks like its roots are represented in its plants.

Why is what you are discussing at the event interesting and important?

The cannabis sector’s–not amazing story (the War on Drugs and its collateral damage)–wasn’t written by us. We are making history now. We our individual cannabis stories; why we are here, amazing cannabis stories of healing, soil regeneration, etc., but THE cannabis story of the future is being crafted by us in our small and big choices. When we choose to be actively anti-racist in our marketing and communications and in other key areas of our businesses, we are changing THE story. Rather than being focused on the metrics of DEI–which are an indicator of how we are doing, we can in fact change the face of business. We do this humbly, with shame resilience, courage, and in community.

What is your background in the cannabis marketing industry?

Kelly Perez, MSW is the co-CEO/founder of Cannabis Doing Good (formerly kindColorado), the co-founder of the Cannabis Impact Fund. Trademarked, Cannabis Social Responsibility (CSR), puts into action, purpose-driven cannabis partnerships to support racial equity/justice, positive community impact, and environmental sustainability. CSR helps to shift the cannabis narrative—from the War on Drugs, to a cultural sea change where opportunities are racially equitable, policy is just, communities benefit, and cannabis is a model of circular economics. She believes every cannabis company has the power to receive measurable ROI in the process of doing the right thing; purpose driven consumers vote with their dollars. Cannabis Impact Fund (501c3) brings a cannabis presence, and financial resources, to national anti-racism efforts, and supports homegrown cannabis racial justice efforts.

What do you bring to the cannabis marketing industry that sets you apart?

I come from health equity and racial equity policy. I lobbied for, and created the first office of Marijuana Coordination in the world, in Colorado. I saw first hand that the policy crafted from the people’s initiative, “Amendment 64,” would not benefit the communities who had paid for legalization with their Black and brown lives. I set out to change that, and I still have the honor of continuing that effort. I have also gratefully employed cannabis to treat my brain injury and pain for years.

Why do you think the future of cannabis marketing is important and why should people be educated about it?

We live in interesting times, cannabis is crafting itself today. With open eyes we can know our history and do so much better. Marketing is storytelling and the narratives we tell are very personal. Examining the ones we’ve been told and aiming high for the ones we tell…well, sign me up. We need good stories for hope and for healing.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I am deeply grateful that you asked. I love cannabis.

Buy your ticket to hear Kelly speak at the Future of Cannabis Marketing event here!

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