What's In Store for 2016?
Conflicting attitudes toward marijuana reform exist. The industry's growth is directly tied to its image. A fast-evolving industry is seeing job opportunities skyrocket.
Cannabis is a quickly evolving industry, with scores of ups to go with the downs. For the industry's ups to overtake, or at least balance out, the negatives, cleaning up the industry's image is at the top of the list of things we need to address.
While it's true that latest polls indicate American support for some type of cannabis legalization at around 60%, this does not necessarily reflect the same attitude about the image of cannabis.
Many Americans still consider marijuana distasteful and harmful. Early 20th-century attitudes and “reefer madness”-like antipathy toward cannabis still exist. Overcoming this will not be easy, but it is possible – and it is imperative to the continued growth of the industry. If those in the industry continue to be professional, courteous, transparent, and knowledgeable, opponents will become allies and the industry will grow.
The cannabis industry now is similar to how it was during America's westward expansion in the 1800s – newly-opened, flush with opportunity, ready for the taking. But just as much of the nation then held in low regard the savvy, sincerity, and determination of those who flourished in the move west, so too does too much of modern-day America hold in low regard anyone associated with the cannabis industry.
This brings us to the industry's image.
Improve the Industry's Image
One of the industry's foremost goals in 2016 has to be this: improve the image of the cannabis industry as a whole.
The growth of the cannabis industry has soared in the past five years – and it's spiked incredibly in the past two. This type of growth will not abate in 2016. Whatever your piece of the cannabis industry is or will be, growing the positive image of a long-disrespected industry that's had to work underground forever will help us reach our goals. It will be good to reap what we've sown.
As always, the burgeoning of an industry on the precipice of explosive growth brings out inventors and creative types. In the case of cannabis, these types are known as ganjapreneurs – and the opportunities are as wide as the American heartland. These entrepreneurs will become the industry's trendsetters and innovators.
Barely five years ago, the main cogs in the MMJ movement were activists, growers, distributors, dispensary owners, MMJ doctors, MMJ attorneys, and maybe a handful each of MMJ publications and MMJ edibles vendors.
In the past two years, however, the landscape has become densely crowded – among others, there are now delivery vendors, cannabis drink makers, smoking accessory inventors, cannabis-themed app developers, cannabis research labs, and more. In fact, even the snack edibles business has morphed: where once you could choose between only a pot cookie or brownie, canna-snack choices have proliferated: crackers, gummy bears, lollipops, peanut butter, to name but a few.
And the future is limitless.
But only if the industry's image improves.
While the rest of the country has always looked to us here in California to start trends of national and often global significance, we resign ourselves in this instance to following the lead of Colorado and Washington, among others. But just as the company that epitomizes the smartphone arena today (Apple) was not first the to produce smartphones, so, too, will California take the same path.
2016 has just opened her arms, ready to endow us with opportunities that hopefully we all take proper advantage of.