By Donald Monday, Doobie Nights Store Manager
The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and yet it is still heavily regulated and stigmatized in many places. This is due in large part to the fact that cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.
However, the tide is slowly turning. More and more states are legalizing cannabis for medical and/or recreational use, and public support for legalization is at an all-time high. There are even talks on the Federal level about rescheduling cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule 3 (our humble opinion is that it should not be a scheduled drug at all but regulated more along the lines of alcohol and tobacco, but hey, it’s progress considering how slowly these things shift).
If the cannabis industry wants to continue to grow and thrive, it is essential that it comes together to advocate for change in legislation.
Why is it so important for the cannabis industry to come together?
To educate lawmakers and the public about cannabis.
They can be woefully uninformed and heavily lobbied to by interests who don’t align with cannabis (like Big Pharma).
Many lawmakers and members of the public still have misconceptions about cannabis. It is important for the cannabis industry to provide them with accurate information so that they can make informed decisions about legislation, and to lobby their representatives in an organized manner.
To advocate for fair and equitable cannabis laws.
The cannabis industry is still in its early stages of development, and there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of regulation. It is important for the cannabis industry to advocate for laws that are fair and equitable for all businesses and consumers and to get their feedback to the right people in government and the DCC.
To protect the rights of cannabis businesses and consumers.
The cannabis industry is facing a number of challenges, including unfair tax policies, barriers to banking and financial services, and discrimination against cannabis businesses and consumers. It is important for the cannabis industry to come together to protect the rights of its members and consumers. There are a number of ways that the cannabis industry can come together to advocate for change in legislation.
Form trade associations and advocacy groups. Trade associations and advocacy groups can provide a platform for cannabis businesses to speak with one voice and advocate for their shared interests. Support lobbying efforts by groups like NORML PAC and NCIA. Lobbying is the process of contacting lawmakers and other government officials to influence their decisions on legislation. The cannabis industry can support lobbying efforts and organizations that advocate for fair and equitable cannabis laws.
To educate the public about cannabis.
The cannabis industry can educate the public about cannabis through public relations campaigns, educational outreach programs, social media content, events, and by educating budtenders and empowering them to be educators in their communities.
To get involved in the political process.
Encourage cannabis businesses and consumers to vote and get involved in their local and state elections. This will help to ensure that cannabis is represented at all levels of government.
By coming together, the cannabis industry can make a real difference in the fight for legalization and more equitable regulation. By educating lawmakers and the public, advocating for fair cannabis laws and local cannabis equity programs, and protecting the rights of cannabis businesses and consumers, the industry can help to create a brighter future for itself and for the millions of people who rely on cannabis for medicinal or recreational use.
What you can do to help
If you are interested in helping the cannabis industry come together to advocate for change in legislation, there are a number of things you can do:
Get involved in a trade association or advocacy group. There are a number of trade associations and advocacy groups that are working to promote the interests of the cannabis industry. Find one that is aligned with your values and get involved. Locally, you could support the Sonoma County Cannabis Alliance and attend their monthly industry mixers.
Support lobbying efforts. Contact your elected officials and let them know that you support fair and equitable cannabis laws. You can also donate to organizations that are lobbying for cannabis legalization and regulation such as NORML (nationally) and California NORML (locally).
Educate yourself and others about cannabis. Learn about the history of cannabis, the science of cannabis, cannabinoids, terpenes, and the benefits of cannabis. (Hint: we have lots of educational posts on this blog!) Share what you learn with others to help dispel the myths and misconceptions about cannabis.
Get involved in the political process. Vote in your local and state elections. Support candidates who are supportive of cannabis legalization and regulation. Remember, you can help to make a difference in the fight for cannabis legalization. Let’s Legalize It! Like all the way.