Daylighting the conversation as we move out of Prohibition will have profound impacts on the future of our industry. Small farms engaged in qualitative production through a system of dialogue and practical support will provide excellent medicine.
One of the side effects of the Prohibition-based, plant-count policy was that farmers tended towards larger plants (if you can only have some, you might as well have big ones). I’m quite certain that as we see a shift to square footage as the appropriate measurement for cannabis as a crop under Department of Agriculture, we’ll see farmers grow more, smaller plants.
I’m looking forward to starting my seeds later and growing more of them. I’m excited to be able to do a more thorough genetic sift with the more than two dozen strains we cultivate. It’s going to be awesome to see the responses of farmers as we are released from decades of Prohibition enforcement.
We have much work to do to organize cannaculture as a cogent unit. In the past year and a half since we went public, I have been honored to meet many patients, farmers and nonparticipants with whom I would never have had the connection. Speaking with openness about our way of life has engendered a cultural shift on all levels; we are each participating in this shift.
Building the House of Cannabis
As cannaculture participants, we are relearning our role in the dominant culture as we gain acceptance for our way of life. This is a difficult transition; we move from the Robin Hood ethos into that of the American Patriot, awakened in our civic duty to alter the democratic process for the better.
As Acting Board Chair for California Growers Association, it is my duty to work towards processes that support and maintain the independent businesses that make up the cannabis industry. A foundation has been laid by the legislature but the House of Cannabis remains to be built and cannaculture participants are the architects.
We must build the House of Cannabis together. We must achieve such clarity in our processes that we lay out blueprints. No one can do this for us because we are a subculture; we must achieve self-definition; we have to describe it with enough clarity that systemic processes are capable of honoring it. Without a clear picture of what we need, the system is helpless to relate to us.
The House of Cannabis will be built through concerted efforts in four arenas: legislative, electoral, local and regulatory. Each of these spheres of influence requires clarity and focus, which we achieve together. We must be proactive participants in positive local dialogues. We seek to use the new tools presented by the legislature to build a regulated industry with the existing, independent businesses.
There are many different participants who build a house and if they don’t work together, it doesn’t get built. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, sheet rock guys, painters, roofers, etc. — they all work together.
Things don’t always go right in construction; problems crop up. We have some cleanup work to do on the job site; we need to make sure we protect the rights of patients and cultivators around the state. We need to make sure that previous convictions are not a way to bar people from participation in the industry. There are cleanup bills we will run in legislation to address the issues that are defined by stakeholder strategic planning in the coming months.
Electoral processes unfold in the current conversation at the ballot box. We can accomplish things in a statewide initiative that there isn’t the political will to get done in Sacramento. I look to the ballot box to accomplish many of the larger, human rights based cannabis issues that the legislature is unable to move on.
At the ballot box, we must expunge the records, free the prisoners, reaffirm the rights of people to cultivate and participate in cannabis, to have access to medicine, and not to be denied employment in a vibrant new industry based on wellness and health support.
Regulatory processes will be a huge focus in the time to come. The devil is always in the details and it will take clarity, togetherness and focus to make sure that the process is developing in fair and appropriate manner. We must learn to organize ourselves in a cogent public representation. In other industries, they figure out their policies and then present a unified front in public.
We must be proactive participants in every locality in the state, with clear, focused policies. We need to change the interaction that we have with the system, coming to it as active citizens seeking to be positive participants. We have to be willing to compromise, and to understand that as much as we see the world through rose tinted glasses, not everyone does. It will take time and a “turn the other cheek” approach; we accomplish this by being clear in our goals so that we focus, together.
I am looking forward to meeting farmers in the coming months, and especially to the annual members’ meeting at the Emerald Cup in December. The time has come for us to gather and work together. Clarity and focus will help us achieve shared goals of sustainable farm production of quality medicine to patients.
Scalable systems that support good medicine for low-income populations can be subsidized by people who can afford to pay full reimbursement rates. This is how we do things on our farm; beneficial commerce can create ripple effects of qualitative action in community and ecological spheres. Focusing on this potential will yield results.
Featured photo by Tom Arthur via Wikimedia.org.