There are seminal moments when companies have the opportunity to separate themselves from the pack. This occurs when a company takes a bold stand, drawing a line in the sand and making it clear to the rest of the universe that they stand for something, something greater than themselves, something greater than the sum of their parts. Normally those moments are recognized through financial gains or innovative ingenuity, but in this particular case, it is through social responsibility during a global pandemic. That’s why when I heard that the international cannabis brand Binske was donating meals to the Feeding America COVID-19 Relief Fund, I wanted to learn more, so I contacted Alex Pasternack whom I interviewed last year for an article in Forbes. What I have learned is truly impressive. From April-July, the Binske brand is donating 5 meals for every Binske product purchased across the country. 

We are all aware of the tremendous economic hardships that have been created by the COVID-19 pandemic, plaguing businesses from every corner of the world. It’s during trying times like these when leadership is most important and frankly paramount to being able to recover from such an ordeal. Leadership is not just reserved for elected officials; businesses can provide leadership and inspire others to join in aiding those who need help. Quite simply, this is inspired leadership.

At the end of March, while most businesses were laying off employees and scrambling to keep an eye on their bottom line, Binske’s Executive Vice President, Alex Pasternack and his older brother, Binske’s Founder & CEO, Jacob Pasternack wanted to develop a plan to support the communities they do businesses in and assist in providing relief to the millions of American families that do not know where their next meal is coming from. “We found ourselves in the position of being able to take immediate action and help create a platform to assist those in need”, said Jacob. “We didn’t want to wait to help, we wanted to start immediately”, added Alex, “the unfortunate and devastating reality of a world pandemic means there is a substantial opportunity to give and be of service.”

One of the worst parts of COVID-19 has been how Americans have struggled to put food on the table and feed their families. Helping keep people fed is paramount to a successful outcome of this pandemic as millions of Americans are out of work and millions of children are out of school, which in too many cases serves as their primary source of breakfast and lunch. This unprecedented chain of events has led to a lose-lose scenario for much of America. 

As we approach the end of April, Binske has already provided funding for a quarter-million meals for the month and at this rate should exceed over 1 million meals during the four-month program. “We wanted to empower our consumers with the ability to make a difference in their communities, and our consumers are responding”, said Jacob.   

Social responsibility is a cornerstone of Binske’s ethos.  In 2019, Binske participated in a hurricane relief fund effort. Additionally, the cacao that they use in all of their chocolate products is sourced from a remote part of Peru where a portion of the proceeds go towards building orphanages and schools in the region. “Giving back is in our DNA, it’s part of who we are. Being a family-run company, it’s easy for us to continue doing what we love to do. The only high I like better than our products is the high I get from giving to those in need”, said Alex.  

Binske’s influence spreads from coast to coast as they have become the familiar face of luxury cannabis. To fully ramp this program, they have engaged with many of their local partners, including Trulieve and LeafLink, who have assisted in creating exposure for the program and drive meals to the needy. “We are blessed to have such great and dedicated licensees, retail partners, and customers that have been the driving force behind this all. We would not have this opportunity if it wasn’t for our incredibly loyal fan base”, said Alex.

 With 42 states issuing stay at home orders, each state was forced to decide what businesses would be considered essential and would be allowed to stay open. Thankfully to all of us consumers, almost every state deemed cannabis as “essential”. While that was good news for the industry as a whole, it also presented a glaring contradiction between state and federal laws. 

“The situation presents a fascinating paradox, where a plant which has been characterized as a Schedule 1 narcotic and considered illegal at the federal level, is at the same time, being deemed essential by almost every single applicable state”, said Jacob. “I believe that when federal legalization does occur, whenever that may be, lawmakers will look back at this moment in time as a catalyst for our industry”, he continued.   

 Since inception in 2015, the Binske brand has been a leader in the industry, consistently differentiating itself from its peers; from their award winning, best in class line of products to their sexy and sophisticated packaging, Binske has consistently delivered the goods. No wonder they are one of the fastest growing cannabis brands on the planet— with active licensing deals in 12 US states and Canada, Binske products will soon be available to over 83 million consumers in North America. “When you have that type of forum, you have a certain level of responsibility to pay it forward and lead by example.  Actually, it is essential that we do so” said Jacob.