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The Benefits Of Corporatizing Cannabis Culture

By Roger Moleskin

October 23rd, 2018 photo/istock/eldadcarin

Last week, I took a look at the inevitable corporatizing of cannabis culture once it is decriminalized at the federal level. As someone who values individuality and personal agency, I’ve always felt that corporatizing represents conformity at the expense of self. It’s one thing to put on a suit and go to work, but the reach of corporate culture goes beyond individuals.

 Using New York’s Greenwich Village as an example, we can see how it changes the very essence of a place, making longtime residents feel like outsiders. But maybe focusing exclusively on the negative is the wrong approach. The cannabis industry does have some problems, and as much as we might not want to admit it, it’s important to understand some of the benefits corporatizing can bring to the culture overall.

The main benefit would no doubt be allowing businesses to move away from being cash-only enterprises. For those who aren’t aware, cannabis businesses do not have access to banks in the States because of the schedule 1 classification. This means they have to operate only with cash, making them primary targets for criminals. There have been dozens of armed robberies at dispensaries across the country because everyone knows they have to stock their cash on premises.

Giving businesses access to banking would immediately remove that threat. We live in a nearly cashless society, and most transactions will be through cards. Additionally, it would ease some of the overhead costs of operating a business - right now they often pay armored trucks for transportation and extra security on site. Access to banking would streamline the money flow while removing dispensaries from the soft target list, making for a much safer environment for owners and customers alike.

Entrepreneurs are not the only ones who will benefit from regulation. Users, be they medical or recreational, would have access to a much safer and potent product. State and local governments use high tech tracking software to monitor every plant throughout its entire grow cycle. Cannabis and cannabis derivatives are tested for chemicals, contaminants and other harmful additives prior to entering the marketplace. Test results, including potency, are automatically assigned and printed on product labels.

This system allows for a safer product, as well as adherence to state laws and industry standards, making the cannabis industry more legitimate and honest overall. It cuts off the black market, and can find the root cause of contamination or illness, should they occur. That last part is particularly useful in light on the synthetic marijuana deaths and injuries that have occured in the past few years.

There have been some concerns about marijuana access for minors once legalization happens, but any sensible bill would limit those who could buy to at least 18 years, perhaps as much as 21 like alcohol. It would also alleviate some of the disparity in petty possession arrests seen in minority communities.

Overall, there is a lot to consider when thinking about what corporatizing cannabis could bring to the culture. It can be frustrating to face change when you have little control over it, but cannabis culture has always managed to evolve and maintain its identity throughout hardships. No matter what changes are in store, we will retain our beliefs, ideal, and practices - they run deeper than any corporation can change.