It’s time. After decades of hard-fought activism to decriminalize marijuana use. After decades of grassroots movement to legalize medical marijuana and adult use. After all the hard work by so many to get us to this moment. It’s time.
In the recent midterm elections voters turned out in record numbers and marijuana legalization again made big strides. Michigan became the 10th state to legalize adult use, Utah legalized medical use and across the country legalization supporters won legislative and executive seats including in Illinois governor’s race where J.B. Pritzker, who made adult-use legalization a part of his platform.
The election results should come as no surprise. According to the most recent Gallup poll, two-thirds of Americans support full legalization of cannabis, and that’s across the political spectrum. It is a number that keeps growing every year.
It is important to understand that this moment did not happen overnight. All of us owe a debt of gratitude to those who dared to rise against the Prohibition, groups like the Marijuana Policy Project that have chipped away at our country’s senseless ban of cannabis. It is decades of courageous activism that is now allowing us to build a multi-billion-dollar industry around a product that, when used responsibly, helps us lead better lives.
Cannabis today is an Industry. Yes, there is still unchartered territory and new roads to pave, but we have all of the hallmarks of a thriving industry – and we are not going anywhere.
We are gaining consumers, creating jobs, paying taxes and assessing capital at unprecedented rates. Canada’s public securities markets have been a boon for Canadian and U.S. marijuana companies adding fuel to our growth. Given the prevailing political winds, it is only a matter time before American exchanges start
welcoming cannabis companies.
The appetite from the global investment community continues to grow as investors realize the commercialization of marijuana is the biggest opportunity of our generation. But to maintain this momentum, we cannot focus only on building and growing our own individual companies.
Competition is good, competition is healthy and competition is natural, but the main narrative of our industry today cannot be about competition. It cannot be about who has the biggest footprint, who has the largest market cap or who has the best brand. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been guilty of tooting my own horn, but as I stand in this pivotal moment in our history, I believe it is time to shift the narrative.
We have an industry to build and it only happens if we work together. Where is the discussion on how much of our own resources we are allocating for lobbying efforts? What about education programs for policymakers, healthcare providers and communities? Why aren’t we talking about the state of prohibition today and what we’re all doing about it?
We need to remember that we are still building an industry under the realities and restrictions of a federal Prohibition in the largest cannabis market in the world. Growth projections don’t mean anything if we fail here. Whether you’re in data, lighting, grow, retail or multi-state, we all have our own story, but we risk forgetting our industry story.
As we stand at the doorstep of the end of Prohibition, it’s time to shift the dialogue and take action. We must increase our lobbying efforts as an industry and tackle common goals. It’s time we work together on greater access to banking and 280E reform. It’s time we push for smart policy like the STATES Act. It’s time we educate policymakers that legalization can make safer, healthier and happier communities.
We all started in this industry with a vision of what the future would hold. We cannot get there unless we work together. It is time to turn our vision into reality.