While some of you have been involved in this industry longer than others, the industry, overall, is in its infancy. But it’s an infant that is growing fast.
The legal cannabis industry is, in fact, the fastest-growing in the country, according to a report this year in The Huffington Post. While that’s an amazing (though not surprising) fact, it’s also a little scary. Every day, new challenges come to light. Take the minor (sarcasm) challenges around lab testing and pesticide use. (See the “Testing 1, 2, 3” feature on page 64, and “The Pesticide Dilemma” feature on page 76.) Take the banking and tax issues that continue to plague legal businesses.
California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana nearly 20 years ago, still is experiencing growing pains; it is just now implementing significant regulations. As Hezekiah Allen, California Growers Association’s executive director, notes in his Guest Column (page 40), “A solid foundation has been laid for sustained policy progress.” But it’s a process, and one that Allen notes will be ongoing.
Allen also notes that not everyone is satisfied with the new regulations. Well, there’s a reason the old adage, “You can’t please everyone,” became an adage.
In this industry, passions run sky high, making for an even greater challenge in appeasing everyone’s interests. There are those who are passionate about CBD and medical marijuana, those passionate about extracts, cultivation, genetics, lighting, sustainability (see our cover story, “Sun-Grown Success,” page 46), the use of pesticides, lab testing … you name it. And, there are those with significant industry roots, as well as many who are entering the market for its vast business opportunities. And between many in those groups, there is tension.
As Melissa Etheridge—famed musician whose battle with cancer was helped by cannabis—said in her keynote at the recent Cannabis World Congress and Exposition in L.A., “That’s what’s going to bring the change: the business of cannabis.” And she’s right.
That’s why we’re all here, whatever our motives, whatever our roots. The more stable the industry becomes, the more money it generates, the more likely it will gain the power to move mountains. To once again cite the very wise Hezekiah Allen, “It is time to work together to advance a cannabis industry that honors our heritage, creates opportunity today, and sets us up for future successes.” Amen.
So, as I welcome you to the premier issue of Cannabis Business Times magazine, and thank those of you who have been with us on our own fast-paced journey over the past 14 months (the rapid growth of our website and e-newsletter; CBT’s acquisition by GIE Media in April, and now the launch of its print magazine), I am acutely aware of the industry’s challenges and risks, but I’m optimistic that together, we can maintain our status as the fastest-growing industry in the country for years and years to come.