The culture is the key

I’m at SFO, waiting on an aeroplane back to Cleveland. I’ve been in Oakland all week with the Cannabis Business Times crew. Our annual cultivation conference was a big hit, and honestly I feel more in tune with the plant and with the culture than ever before. It was a great learning experience, and it was really just fun and fascinating as hell to be able to buy weed legally (and then enjoy it prolifically).

Two of my favorite takeaways from this trip come from Casey Rivero, cultivation manager at Yerba Buena in Oregon. I wasn’t recording that session, so I’ll have to paraphrase here.

Rivero offered what I think is the linchpin of the legal cannabis scene right now: Cannabis was a community before it was an industry. Now, it is an industry. But it needs to remain a community. (Again, paraphrasing.)

This is part of what has always enticed me to cannabis. It’s the same thing that interests me about craft brewing (although I just can’t muster up the intense curiosity needed to really drive a passion in the thing). Cannabis cannot be separated from the culture. And what was once underground is now coming into the light. We are in this together, and we welcome all who are earnestly willing to take the ride with us. From recreational use to medical research and local economic development, cannabis is communal at its heart. This is important.

At another point in his session on indoor facility design, Rivero said that the cannabis industry is uniquely positioned as an agricultural influence in the U.S., almost directly because it started as a community. Best practices and SOPs in cannabis cultivation have tended to steer toward the sustainable, the organic, the ecologically and socially conscious (soaring electric bills of 2018 notwithstanding). Rivero said that the cannabis industry can become a standard-bearer and a national leader in renewable energy use and sustainable infrastructure development. Businesses across a spectrum of domestic industries could draw lessons from cannabis cultivation and distribution operations.

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the legalization of cannabis will be a revolution for American society and business.

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