The Hood Collective is asking the all-important question to those who work with (or for) this plant: Why Cannabis?
By Decater Collins
The cannabis industry may have an image of being a bastion for stoners and hippies transitioning from years in the black market, but my experience with legalization in Oregon tells a different story. One does not need to look far to find a diverse range of backgrounds, skillsets, and approaches.
That’s why we at The Hood Collective started the web series Why Cannabis, a documentary project that interviews entrepreneurs, advocates, academics, and enthusiasts from all walks of cannabis life. The premise of the show is simple. We ask a single question, why cannabis, with little or no prompt. So far, every answer has been unique.
While there are a few exceptions, most of the industry people I meet are professional, hardworking, and ambitious. There is a palpable sense of opportunity everywhere you go, and the knowledge that the window to find success may be narrow. No one wants to miss their chance.
At the same time, the reasons for entering the sector vary with each individual. Lisa Snyder, founder of Tokeativity, is motivated by empowering female entrepreneurs and is excited about the equal opportunities presented by a brand new industry. Perry Salzhauer of Green Light Law Group has spent his entire life fighting against prohibition and the scourge of America's failed war on drugs, and he is excited that Oregon and other states are finally starting to make substantial changes. Jesse Peters, owner of Eco Firma Farms (video at the top of this article), sees legalization has an opportunity for people who may not otherwise have a chance to compete against big corporations and unfair public policies that have always been stacked against them in the past.
One common theme we hear from almost everyone we speak to is that they believe in the healing aspects of cannabis. Although the federal government has made it nearly impossible to conduct proper research studies on the benefits of medical marijuana, there are countless anecdotes that testify to its effectiveness. There is a real passion in the industry to ensure that continues and expands.
From my own point of view, talking to so many motivated individuals is infectious. Why Cannabis was started as a way to bring people together and to share knowledge, information, and ideas. When you've been working inside the industry for a long time, you can sometimes forget that there is still a very real stigma associated with cannabis, even within Oregon. We hope that by sharing so many positive experiences it will offer those on the outside of the industry looking in a chance to see what the cannabis community is all about.
Finally, there's the one answer we hear most often:
Author Bio: Decater Collins is the co-founder and business director of The Hood Collective and executive producer of Why Cannabis?