First, I’m happy to report that Marijuana Venture continues to grow at a fast clip. We’re now in book stores nationwide, and mailing hard copies to all licensed marijuana businesses in states that have legalized and regulated forms of medical or recreational cannabis.
Our goal is to be the best source of quality information for anyone in the business, or considering it.
The July issue of Marijuana Venture focused on the new look of people in the marijuana business. The point to our cover story wasn’t that we embrace one type of look or lifestyle over another, but that we see a rapidly-evolving industry heading in many different directions, with room for all.
As our regular readers know by now, we made a conscious decision when we launched Marijuana Venture to mostly avoid the culture end of the spectrum, while focusing almost entirely on business. That said, there’s no way to avoid the obvious conclusion that an awful lot of what passed as “normal” in cannabis culture would be — or could be — seen as way outside the social norms of traditional American society. I’m not necessarily saying that’s bad.
However, I will point out that if the goal is widespread acceptance of a mind-altering drug that most now view as fairly harmless (and demonstrably less dangerous than alcohol), then it stands to reason that the most effective way to proceed would be an approach that downplays the “wackier” side of marijuana culture, while emphasizing and highlighting the aspects that appeal to — or at least don’t scare off — the vast majority of Americans who live their day-to-day lives going to work, paying taxes, driving their kids to school in a mini-van, and attending church on Sundays.
Twenty years ago, I lived on Capitol Hill in downtown Seattle. For the gay community, it’s the Seattle equivalent to the Castro District is in San Francisco: A vibrant, fun, wildly eclectic neighborhood with a diverse mix of singles and families, gays and straights, college students, business professionals and tech workers.
Many of my friends and neighbors were — and still are — gay. And, let me be perfectly clear on the subject of gay rights: I’m 100% for gay marriage and believe any discrimination whatsoever against gays is bad. I’ve taught my kids that all forms of discrimination are wrong.
However, after watching a couple gay pride parades on Broadway Avenue in the mid-1990s, I realized it was not an event I’d take a young child to. Explaining how we as humans can be different, and why some men love men and some women love women seemed relatively easy. On the other hand, trying to explain whips, chains, leather, bondage and huge phallic symbols to a child seemed an altogether more challenging task, and one I realized I’d rather avoid.
In other words, the gay pride parade, back then, with its heavy emphasis on sexuality, might have been counter-productive in promoting widespread acceptance.
I’d draw a similar parallel to the movement to legalize marijuana. The fastest path to marijuana legalization is presenting it as a relatively benign substance that is mostly used responsibly by normal-looking folks who go to work, pay taxes and raise their children to be positive contributors to American society.