Most of us remember a time when Cannabis was completely illegal, in any form, for any purposes. We have, as a community, and as an industry, seemingly come a long way since the first US States began to legalize, beginning with California's passage of Proposition 215, the first medical marijuana law.
However, some aspects of the industry remain entrenched in the shadowy areas from whence they should have long ago emerged, and to the detriment of an industry that still has to fight for the perception of legitimacy.
We have all heard the horror stories of the “trim slaves” (unpaid, and often held literally hostage), and of the recalls of tainted herb, or the various scandals of mislabelled or otherwise falsely advertised Cannabis and Cannabis products.
We as an industry need to elevate our standards (and not just our heads), because if our industry, or indeed our community, seeks to achieve legitimacy in the eyes of the sceptical, we cannot allow ourselves to behave as a black market industry behaves.
Scandals in our industry are more than an embarrassment, they seek to undermine the legitimacy of the industry as a whole, and those responsible should be exposed as anomalies, rather than understood as the standard, because when someone in our industry breaks the laws, the entire industry stands to suffer, and that is not fair for those that work so hard to keep everything above board.
Cannabis industry products should be labelled accurately, tested thoroughly, and produced ethically. Responsibility is key, responsibility to the consumer, as well as the environment and the labor force within the industry. We have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility as an industry not to repeat the mistakes that plague so many other industries; to ensure that a living wage is not an issue for those in our industry (that those working in this industry not only survive, but thrive), to ensure that this industry minimizes harm done to human health or environment, & to ensure that this industry has a positive influence on our society.
In doing so we can build a healthy, happy, and strong community, one based on respect, honesty, and most importantly, basic human ethics and values; an industry that puts people before profits, whether those people be consumers, or those who are employed in the Cannabis industry.
Nobody can deny that the legalization of Cannabis has has the potential to create an unprecedented amount of wealth, but in doing so, will it help close the gap between the rich and the poor (both within and without the industry), or become simply another textbook example "evil big business?"
The choice is ours, each and every one of us.