The Wumaniti Earth Native Sanctuary recently won a Cannabis Business Award for its generous donations of cannabidiol (CBD) products. The nonprofit organization, based in Taos, gave its products away to those who could not afford to buy them due to financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nonprofit operates in tandem with a retail store in Taos – CBD Wellness and Natural Relief, at 203 Ledoux Street.

"This year, we gave away more medicine than we sold, just to help the community," said Gemma RaStar, the organization's founder, who said she donated more than $100,000 worth of hemp oil blends and body care products to people suffering from anxiety, depression and pain.

The Cannabis Business Awards / Colorado 2020 recognized Wumaniti Earth Native Sanctuary with an "MVP" award (the definition of which was not available at press time). Wumaniti was one of 10 MVP award recipients. Other awards included Industry Organization of the Year, given to NORML, and the Hope Award, given to American Medical Refugees.

Cannabis Business Awards are presented to businesses, individuals and organizations in the medical and recreational sectors deserving recognition and accolades. The awards were launched in 2012 in Colorado, and have since expanded to other cities including New York, Miami and Las Vegas.

In addition to its hemp-based medicine, RaStar said Wumaniti provides equine-assisted therapy to the Taos community. It has plans to open a Wild West medicine show, designed to connect the local community to horses and healing. The group also works with veterans' behavioral health.

"We remind people to self-care," said RaStar. "We remind them that this plant creates freedom in people's lives, and that it is a medicine, and the answer to a lot of our issues -- globally and politically."

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