Prohibition is ending. It is dying a slow and painful death and then it will change in a quick and rapid burst. This zeitgeist is what we see happening right now.
We are in a strange matrix in time where cannabis fluxuates between legal and illegal, as well as understood and misunderstood. I am not sure any of us can understand completely what a legal cannabis market will look like, but we all know it is going to be different than what we see right now.
As we see the progression happening on many fronts to move towards more sensible cannabis policies, the industry finds itself in a strange position. We do not have the protections and oversight of normal businesses because all of our activities are technically 100% illegal. You also have an industry that is legal enough to draw the attention of people who want a piece of the imminent pie. What you have is the perfect storm of chaos to push bulllshit lies and fraud. There is a lot of that going around these days.
But what if prohibition failed to exist? Take the criminal element out of the equation for producing, selling, and buying weed. Then what are we looking at? If we are looking at an above board business community that had oversight and accountability would we see the same level of bullshit con-games that we see happening now? Would we see folks taking advantage of the system to profit of of lies and deceit? Is there a certain level of unethical and immoral behavior that we put up with because technically we all are criminals in the eyes of law enforcement? Do we not rock the boat when we see unsavory business practices because of the veil of prohibition hanging over us all telling us not to?
So what does that look like when that veil is removed? What standards and ethics should we demand as a community for people who want to operate in the cannabis industry? Is there things that are apparent now that would not fly in most other regulated industries, like booze or even coffee production and distribution? Are we susceptible to more corrupt forces because of our culture of being afraid of prohibition? Of course….but soon that will change.
In a legal and open market would we see the level of false advertising and gratuitous claims we see now? Of course not. Folks could not batch up some muddy oil made from questionable hemp paste and tell people it cured children from disease without having the FDA so far up their ass that their head would spin. Would we see people attempting to muscle their way into the market by pushing people out with fear and threats of being reported to authorities? Nope. Do we think that any jackass with some pink sheets could make a stock corporation focused on weed and sucker the masses into buying their inflated stocks based on their affinity for weed? Doubtful.
But right now we are kind of fucked.
We will not be forever, and I believe that more acceptance of this as a legitimate industry is coming quick. If we cannot begin to envision what that will look like, we will likely be run over by some well-funded and connected people who will take advantage of our conundrum. But if we can envision the world beyond prohibition we may be able to find ways to avoid a lot of the bullshit, and allow for the industry to evolve naturally.
If we continue to play the game by the rules of yesterday we will certainly be at a disadvantage. When we begin to understand that the world has changed and so has the cannabis industry, we can begin to prepare for the realities of tomorrow.