Somebody said that it was a three-and-a-half-mile trek all the way through the MjBizCon trade show in Las Vegas just before Thanksgiving, the largest cannabis conference in the country. Don’t know for sure, but it took me three hours to stroll the endless aisles of tables and booths and chat with some vendors and friends along the way.
Perhaps I need to get out more, but it was easily the largest trade show I’ve ever confronted. More than 17,000 attendees came each of the three days, paying a hefty sum to walk among business owners, angel investors and true believers past more than 700 exhibitors offering hardware, software, packaging, tools and advice to enhance sales and security, improve compliancy, cultivate more plants, purchase the right real estate and scale your business, among many other things. There were more companies with canna in their names than I thought possible. Hordes of people were taking notes and asking questions at the dozens of panels offered each day.
Anti-cannabis crusader Kevin Sabet and others argue that marijuana is the next Big Tobacco, and beyond his unwise assertion that the industry is “trying to hook” minorities and children, there is a smidgen of truth to that. Growth is a tenet of capitalism, and development in this sector, at least at this point, seems to be heading into outer space. It won’t last forever, of course, but it’s there, bringing thousands to Las Vegas, all looking for an entrance into the cannabis gamble. By this November some of these companies won’t have made it, but there will be more to take their places.
Cannabis isn’t Big Tobacco II. It’s being regulated and sold to adults for all kinds of reasons (I’ll argue that the main one is retaining sanity), and the public-health issues and accessibility to children that Sabet and others push as unsustainable are really all workable. No reliable study suggests that legalization is increasing teen use, and nobody is dying because they went to the emergency room after eating too many edibles.
Sorry, Dr. Sabet. Sorry, AG Sessions. Look around you. It’s 2018. Millions of Americans have made it clear that we are going to use cannabis — to relieve pain, for insomnia, seizures and as a sanity retainer, and yes, to get high — no matter what you say about it and no matter how much money you waste on your stupid war to try and stop us. Period.
All American adults should have legal access to this plant, for medical or whatever reason. A growing coalition of voters, businesses, investors, advocates and dreamers have lined up alongside us. The legal cannabis train is leaving the station. When will you find your seat and help us make this work?