As a farmer of some 40 crops, I find the negative distinction placed upon cannabis to be arbitrary and ludicrous. The rock of prohibition has been sitting on the mountaintop for our entire lives; it has begun to roll, and it is our fundamental opportunity to pool our collective energies and push this boulder where we need it to go.
There has been a grave societal misunderstanding concerning all forms of the plant; we are blessed to be in a time and place to influence the conversation.
Sacramento is where the final regulations will be decided. It takes significant monies to operate effectively in a large scale political arena. The cannabis industry in the Emerald Triangle has been estimated at $9 billion per year. This makes us approximately 7 times the size of the Napa Valley wine industry. Napa spends about $30 million every year on lobbying, and they achieve effective political representation.
Sacramento is the Battleground
Heritage Cannabis Farms Just Need a Foothold
Never in our lives have we been able to influence the conversation at such a broad policy level. The doors are open to our culture, provided we are able to coalesce our energies and speak for our perspective in a cogent manner. We face an existential crisis; until we have a regulatory right to exist, we remain in a grey area that includes the possibility of federal prosecution.
As a people, we tend to bog down hopelessly in the details but that is not what is needed. We need to sketch in broad strokes a policy of inclusiveness that creates an open playing field for all. Our asks must be simple and coherent.
We have three firm legislative needs for upcoming cannabis regulation:
- A simple recognition of “Cannabis as agriculture,” which includes regulation under the Department of Food and Ag. Cannabis is an agricultural commodity and should be treated as such.
- A system of “permit before compliance” so that we honor our heritage farms and make sure we have the time to come into full compliance.
- People with felony convictions specifically for cannabis must have the right to participate. No background checks for farmers. (In full disclosure this is a personal one for me).
We have neither the money nor political clout to achieve much more than a foothold in a legitimized industry from which we can then continue our march. We created our bootstrap reality from the ground up but the fundamental truth remains: we are not in control of the process, and we would do best to remember this.
As a Ganjier, I stand confident in the power of our region to rise to the top given the power of effective representation. Cream rises to the surface and I’m willing to take the Pepsi Challenge and put the Emerald Triangle up against anyone, anywhere. I’m thrilled to stand as Secretary of the Emerald Growers Association and to take my stand to speak for my people as best I can.
Let Your Voice Ring Out!
Our farm made the difficult decision to step forward, knowing the possible consequences. The tide is fierce and would sweep away those without strong footing; we have chosen to join the effort, one careful step at a time.
Our cultural Time of Action is at hand. Come what may, I have no regrets. It feels truthful and right to finally be able to speak openly on the subject of cannabis; I do so with the fervent hope to serve as one of many sparks that build the flame.
We are part of the homestead ethic that this country was founded upon. If you feel as I do that we have a need to speak for ourselves, for our culture, join me in representing. Tell your friends and family from out of the area about us; who we are, how we live our lives. Put your name on the document, sign up with the Emerald Growers Association, support your local political processes, go to meetings and let your voice ring out!
Image credit: By Suvicce (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons