Editor’s Choice: The Week in Cannabis & HempProgress is slow, but baby steps in the cannabis industry lead to giant leaps in cannabis acceptance.
I often compare the speed of growth in the cannabis industry to the early days of mobile technology. In both sectors, change is the only constant. One thing I learned while working in technology in the corporate world is that occasionally you have to take a step back and admire the view. Sometimes, we get so buried in the trenches with our nose to the grindstone; we forget to look at the big picture to see just how far we’ve come and evaluate how far we have yet to go.
How Far We’ve Come
As the industry continues to expand, so does our understanding and knowledge of the plant and its uses. This week, Cannabis Tech launched a new Research & Science category to share some of the latest developments regarding cannabis and hemp. Speaking with Celeste Miranda about the Journal of Cannabinoid Medicine, we learned of her mission to provide a peer-reviewed publication in a format which is familiar and trusted by researchers, medical professionals, and policymakers.
Although historically, research in the United States has been severely restricted, burdened by sticky governmental red tape, and tainted by poor quality test samples, the publication of this Journal is but one sign of just how much the industry has matured in recent years. With Dr. Sue Sisley’s determination and drive to improve the quality of cannabis research by suing the DEA for the ability to use cannabis from other sources than the University of Mississippi, we can only expect an increase in research activity.
Although these movements are certainly steps in the right direction today, they are giant strides from the not-so-distance past.
Likewise, I’m sure my father, a traditional crop farmer from Iowa, never fathomed the day when hemp would sell as a commodity, much like his corn and bean fields. Yet today, PanXchange publishes regular reports about the market and the rise and fall of hemp prices across the United States.
How Far We Have Yet to Go
While there’s no doubt the cannabis industry is a far cry from the days of Reefer Madness, one must step-outside the legal cannabis bubble to realize there is still much work to be done. Although many states, like California, are beginning to implement social equity programs to right the wrongs of prohibition, in certain places, people are still being ostracized and stigmatized for their affiliation with the industry.
Just this week, Kansas hemp farmers learned they are facing felony drug trafficking charges for shipping a hemp crop which Kansas authorities believe the cargo to be “hot hemp.” States continue to bicker back and forth about how to properly evaluate the shipment, as Kansas refuses to ship material over state lines claiming it would be illegal. Meanwhile, people’s lives have been completely disrupted.
On a more personal note, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing the stigmas associated with cannabis last month when my husband had a medical emergency requiring hospitalization. Despite living in Colorado, we were met with skepticism, smirks, and eye-rolls, as we explained how my husband uses cannabis in place of deadly opiates for chronic pain control. Unbelievably, the Quanta CBD salve I used on my husband’s neck and shoulders during his stay was considered “contraband” like guns or heroin. Yet, they offered him oxycontin every couple of hours. Where I expected compassion and understanding, I found ignorance and bias.
Education is the Dividing Factor
Last month, I hosted Max Simon, Founder of Green Flower Media, on my podcast, A Tech Moment, to discuss the importance of consistent cannabis education in every realm. For those who are seeking quality education to provide a foundation to enter the cannabis industry, Green Flower Academy is undoubtedly the best place to start.
However, after our experience in the hospital, I’m left to wonder when will those who have no interest in cannabis, either from a consumption or a business perspective, begin to understand the herb from a practical perspective? While close to 70 percent of Americans agree that cannabis should be legal, I am convinced the other 30 percent consists of police, physicians, and lawmakers who refuse to look at the data because they don’t want to admit they were wrong.
Certainly, as a movement, cannabis culture has evolved, but clearly, there is a long way to go before we move into acceptance. The focus on education doesn’t need to stop just with those curious, society as a whole needs to learn from the pioneers. As we share these stories and you share our stories, social media magic takes place, and eventually, we help the world learn, too.
While mainstream media will not likely be airing cannabis topics anytime soon, online and print cannabis resources like Cannabis Tech continue to be the best source for the latest advances in the science and technology behind the industry.