Remember fifth-grade civics class? The teacher tells you all about the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and how you need to be involved. There is a tour of the state capital with their monuments, high ceilings and marble bathroom stalls. I remember thinking how untouchable it all sounded; this was for other people. I’ll just vote, that’ll be my contribution as an American citizen.
Cannabis, however, changed all that.
At the beginning of the 2017 legislative session, I sat in my car, staring at Washington’s capital building, paralyzed in fear. I knew the major issues and I knew someone needed to educate our elected officials from the perspective of the cannabis community at large. I must have sat there for 10 minutes shaking and doubting myself. They didn’t teach effective lobbying in fifth grade, nor had I taken any poli-sci classes in college, but I knew that I looked the part and had an effective message to convey. It is our duty to help the government make good policy around cannabis so I told myself, “Get out of the car, Danielle. One foot in front of the other.”
Every cannabis business owner I respect is involved with the government process. We must. Our livelihood — our American Dream — rests on the decisions of our state and federal governments. We know our elected officials, and more importantly, they know us.
We engage in the regulatory process. We participate in work groups. And though we’re still learning the ins and outs of the process, when the state agencies have an open comment period on proposed rules, they hear from us. We call. We email. We show up.
When the Legislature is in session, we spend time educating the legislative aides and elected officials. And when the Legislature is out of session, we work to create bills that are in the best interest of the cannabis community at large — the consumers, the stakeholders and our communities. We work tirelessly for what’s best for EVERYONE, not just our own individual business. I think this is especially accurate for those of us who have been part of the cannabis community since before it was legal. We understand the importance of elevating everyone, not just our personal gain.
As we become more involved, we realize the importance of our voices being heard. We realize that government isn’t just something for “those guys”; it is something we all need to actively engage. Are you doing your part? Have you joined a trade association? Do you know your elected officials, and do they know you? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you need to recognize your duty; the government needs your guidance to develop this industry.
Who knew cannabis would make us all a little more patriotic?[contextly_auto_sidebar]