happy 4/20: why you should give a f*ck about the green rush in america

April 20, 2019
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There are quite a few names I can toss around when it comes to describing this type of plant medicine. In the interest of normalizing proper terminology let’s use the word, cannabis. This plant medicine is commonly misunderstood due to damn near almost a century worth of stereotyping, criminalization, racial profiling, and “reefer madness”. The current state of cannabis is a billion dollar industry that is gaining medical and adult-use approval across various states and countries. Meanwhile cannabis, minus hemp as of late 2018 thanks to the Farm Bill, is federally illegal and marked as a Schedule 1 drug. If you are just catching up to the conversation slash differences between cannabis, hemp, THC, CBD, and why you should definitely get in this money bag somehow someway use this quick and dirty guide as a reference.

There are over 80+ cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, the most prominent of which are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds react to our endocannabinoid system is an essentially a network of receptors within the human body. Both are derivatives of the cannabis plant with subtle yet noticeable effects. CBD is a great alternative for anyone that wants to medicate throughout the day to alleviate pain, inflammation, anxiety, or other chronic issues relating to sleep. The psychoactive effects of CBD are less than that of THC  delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol which produces the feel good effect. The brain and its reward system factors into the medicine and its ability to create a sense of euphoria. Hemp CBD, given its legal status allows for way more flexibility and utility when it comes to making products such as topicals, hempcrete, packaging material, sublinguals, edibles, and cooking oils. In most countries such as China and parts of Eastern Europe, hemp farms are driving the construction industry, because of the multi-use potential of the hemp plant. If you have access to land in the states, you need to think about taking hemp farming seriously this year. This industry was larger than timber and cotton at one point in the early 1900s. There is money to be made if you have the time and willingness to innovate when it comes to resources. Where the money at? Equity, Capital, and Concerns

The starting capital needed for a plant touching, small business (dispensary, cultivation, processing) is about five million dollars. You cannot get that from a bank as a loan. Grants are not part of the solution either. This is all private capital. If you want to open a dispensary you must have a track record breaking down your experience in the industry, on the legal side, displaying financials and history in cannabis. For marginalized communities of color, specifically Black and Brown, that may rule out direct participation mostly due to capital and access to wealth. Not the mention that application fees typically range from $1,000 to $25,000 dollars and you’re dependent upon the results of a selection period. These initial costs are major hurdles to consider for any business owner. The economic and policy potential behind equity, which needs to be activated day one alongside any cannabis program, provides a pathway to ownership in the industry.

Given my experience in this industry, as an ancillary business owner and co-founder, I am 100% sure that this pathway will unlock generational wealth. Research shows that cannabis and hemp are one of the last accessible industries that melanated people can greatly benefit from given our access to this plant in the first place. When you consider The War of Drugs, Rockefeller Laws, and the intentional destruction of neighborhoods due to the influx of harmful substances into Black and Latinx communities — this medicine is ours. This medicine is indigenous in its origin. Communities of color, namely Black and Brown, have suffered the most from stigma and stereotyping due to racially driven campaigns over the course of a century.

Now what?! It’s all about where to research and how to get active. Here are a few resources which often leads to research for intel on this industry. Leafly, Weedmaps, and Marijuana Business Daily provide hourly insights on what is happening in the cannabis industry along with facts about science, use, and changes within legalization efforts. As for the melanated perspective, these are the organizations that matter the most, Minorities for Medical Marijuana (business and advocacy support), Drug Policy Alliance (decriminalization and policy), Minority Cannabis Business Association (policy, business, and social equity support), Equity First Alliance (equity, advocacy, and education), The People’s Dispensary (equity, business, support for the formerly incarcerated), Good Tree (business and incubator), The Hood Incubator (education and business training), and Supernova Women (advocacy, business, and women of color focused). Having a true Black and Brown perspective on what is worth your actual time in this space. There is a lot of inaccurate information across the web regarding cannabis business and an understanding of sources when it comes to information is important. If you are looking for just an IG post or two for insights into the industry you are playing yourself. Cannabis is the wild, wild west when it comes to this business. Paying attention or going for that consultation will save you quite a few mistakes if you’re really ready to dive into a fast moving and soon to be federally legal business.