Now that we’re a few weeks into the new year, let’s revisit some of the most important things we’d all like to see happen in the cannabis industry in 2022.
Keep in mind, that as a collective I think it’s easy to say, none of us are under any illusion that our law makers are going to wake up smarter one day and all of sudden do the right thing when it comes to the plant; they’ve been parroting prohibitionist nonsense for about 100 years now, and I suspect most of them will continue their outdated, fear mongering, reefer madness, and racist viewpoints.
And that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t develop a list of must haves going forward.
#1) Free all Cannabis “drug war” prisoners
This is a big one. And not just people that’ve been convicted of non-violent possession.
Often when someone has a gun in their home during a raid, the arresting officers have the discretion to add a violent charge. This type of shit needs to stop.
And the fact that we have people sitting in jail and still being arrested for cannabis possession while so many others are allowed to profit from state legalization simply doesn’t make sense. Once our prisoners are released, they need to be given the necessary support to become a productive part society again.
That means they should be given money to make up for the lost wages they experienced while being locked away. It means offering education courses and expungement of records.
And finally, they deserve an official, written government apology for their continued incarceration because of a failed drug war against citizens in the name of supporting racist ideology for 100 years.
#2) Full federal legalization
Federal legalization means rescheduling, or better yet de-scheduling Cannabis and removing it from the list of controlled substances so that the plant can be fully accepted into every aspect of our society, without the state enforced stigma.
Many of us in the cannabis industry have different ideas of what full legalization means, but there are five main things I tend to focus on: Home grow, a standardized testing system, interstate commerce, marketing, and banking.
- Home Grow - If we restrict cannabis cultivation to only businesses, we do an enormous disservice to people’s access to life saving medicine, while we continue to look at the plant as just another way to fatten corporate pockets.
We all want the ability to make an honest living with things we are passionate about, but if we allow cannabis companies to lobby law makers to try and crush caregivers and make home cultivation illegal, we all lose.
That is not cannabis culture, nor is it humane; it is strictly a disgusting capitalistic business tactic that doesn’t belong in the cannabis industry.
- Standardized Testing - Having a standardized testing system does a lot for legitimizing the industry while protecting consumers who are purchasing cannabis from the market.
If we are going to be an industry that stresses health and wellness, at very least we should be adhering to a standardized testing system to make sure we aren’t ingesting heavy metals, poisons, and other toxins that can contribute to the further degradation of health and wellness.
We have standards in place for fruits and vegetables and I’m one that thinks regulating cannabis more like broccoli is probably a great way to move us forward.
- Interstate Commerce - Restricting interstate commerce is a huge obstacle for a fair chance at free market growth. There’s no good reason to place restrictions on selling cannabis or doing business across state lines. It simply adds more complicated processes to developing a brand, while severely restricting small businesses.
- Marketing - Allow for cannabis to be marketed just like any other CPG, within reason. Since it’s considered medicine, when making medical claims, these claims need to be backed and scientifically proven.
When focused on the recreational side, we should only have to follow the same restrictions as other adult products like alcohol and tobacco, and even that is pushing it since both alcohol and tobacco are known poisons and cannabis is a known wellness product with actual health benefits.
- Safe Banking - The fact that cannabis businesses are still unable to use something so essential to our society like a full suite of banking services is just one of those head scratchers. We essentially have a multibillion-dollar industry with many player operating as cash only, which is extremely dangerous, as we’ve seen with all the robberies in California over the past few months.
Being able to remove that cash-only burden would be huge. Not to mention the fact that cannabis business owners and employees could qualify for mortgages and other federally backed credit and loans. If I can buy pharmaceuticals, vitamins, alcohol, and cigarettes with a credit card, I should be able to do the same with cannabis.
#3) Remove barriers to entry
Ridiculous lotteries, enormous amounts of fees for licensing, unrealistic and unfair standards that no other industry must deal with, endless amounts of taxes, forced verticalization in some states, the denying of a license to anyone with a felony conviction, and the list goes on and on.
All these barriers are in place as a money grab and to keep the people out that are responsible for the actual cannabis culture and industry that exists today.
#4) Time to embrace cannabis lounges and farmer-to-consumer models
This is a no-brainer. Allowing for the consumption of cannabis products in social settings, and Cannabis sales directly from farmers to consumers are both instrumental to the growth and survival of certain aspects of the industry.
These aid in social equity, allow for healthier alternatives to alcohol, and they’re another revenue stream for the industry overall, while helping to support small businesses and farms.
What do you believe is essential for the cannabis industry in 2022 and beyond?
About the author:
Dustin Hoxworth is a wellness focused, legacy Cannabis professional who is the Co-Founder of Cecily Skincare, a cruelty-free, vegan, earth responsible skin care company and private retail spa located in Atlanta, GA. He’s contributed to the Legacy Cannabis Professional Series by Beard Bros Pharms and is currently working with Element Apothec as a Business Development and Creative Marketing Consultant.
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