Trail Blazin’ Productions
Up until owning a cannabis company, I voted in presidential elections and that was the extent of my political involvement. My mom made me. She said it was my birthright for being born in America and it was my duty to use it. But since owning Trail Blazin’ Productions, a licensed cannabis farm cultivating medically certified products, my involvement with politics has become so much more than my mom ever instituted.
On a local level, I find myself hosting meet-and-greets (a nicer term for fundraisers) with politicians who support the cannabis industry. And not just “support,” but have a deep understanding of our industry’s visions and roadblocks. I’ve also invited all the candidates to tour our facility. The more they know about not just our industry, but Trail Blazin’ specifically and how it affects their constituents, the more likely they are to listen to our concerns. I can see now the importance of getting someone into office who comprehensively understands our issues.
On a broader level, my understanding of how government works has been enlightened. Gone are the days of me saying “just fix it” or “all you have to do is …” The issues the cannabis industry faces are incredibly complex, layered with the bureaucracy of our government’s operating procedures. It’s not an option to sit back and hope the government creates a good solution; we will be woefully disappointed.
We, as cannabis business owners, need to be intimately involved, do the research on the ground, plan for all the possible outcomes and predict all the unintended consequences. Then we need to hand our work to the government and say “whatcha goin’ do?” No one knows this industry better than us. We are the experts. And it’s important that we share that knowledge with the regulating bodies and government officials who are passing policy that affects the outcome of not only our businesses, but of the entire industry.
I won’t lie: It’s frustrating. To start a new business in a new industry with all new and changing regulations and new associations and to do business with other brand-new companies (80% of which would fail in any other industry in the first five years) is already difficult. And I’m supposed to spend time doing the government’s work. For free.
As a taxpayer, I’m livid. But as a business owner and a citizen, it is self-preservation and the only path to being the change we wish to see in the world. If we don’t share our vision with the government — of being a socially conscious industry, one that cares about the environment and our employees as much as our personal profit — and create a road map to get there, there is no way we’re going to evolve.
Democracy isn’t a spectator sport. Get involved.