In addition to being an account manager at the PR firm NisonCo, Zane Bader is actively involved in kick-starting Georgia’s cannabis industry as co-founder of the Georgia Cannabis Trade Association.
“There’s a tremendous amount of potential for bringing Georgia up to speed with the rest of the country, as can be seen with the results of the last federal election,” says Bader, who first got involved with cannabis advocacy in 2015 with the Georgia CARE Project and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “We also have a lot of things going for us that can position us to be the cannabis hub of the southeast United States — Atlanta and Savannah as distribution hubs, the University of Georgia for agricultural research, Emory University for medical research and a robust population of 10 million-plus.”
However, without a ballot initiative process, all legislation has to go through the Georgia General Assembly, “which historically has not been very cannabis-friendly, especially for non-medical uses,” Bader says.
Couple that with an under-funded state cannabis commission and a highly restrictive, low-THC medical program and the business landscape for cannabis in the Peach State is challenging, at best. Bader says the state desperately needs a strong education campaign for lawmakers, city and state officials and government agencies.
But being on the front lines of cannabis advocacy and working with an industry-leading PR firm have been part of Bader’s lifelong passion project to legalize all drugs in the United States.
“Moving the cannabis and psychedelic industries forward through PR and education is a stepping stone to helping achieve that lifelong goal that I believe we can accomplish within my lifetime,” he says.
— Garrett Rudolph