How Cannabis Businesses Can Overcome Stigma & Backlash

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Despite a wave of legalization, there’s still plenty of stigma that surrounds the cannabis industry. Many cannabis businesses and their employees even face intense backlash and harsh criticism for their involvement in the industry.

How Cannabis Businesses Can Overcome Stigma & Backlash

Fortunately, the cannabis industry continues to benefit society. With facts on our side, we can combat and even overcome the stigma.

Learn more about how you can help reduce the stigma surrounding cannabis businesses while continuing to serve your community and grow your business.

Misconceptions of the Cannabis Industry

Plenty of people think the cannabis industry is easy, illegitimate, or just a legal way to sell illicit drugs. As cannabis professionals, we know that these misconceptions are simply not true. However, many still have the wrong idea about this budding industry.

People assume that cannabis is easy to get into and unregulated; in reality, it’s everything but. As one of the most heavily regulated industries, cannabis businesses work with an unprecedented level of government control and oversight.

In fact, at least 21 states require some form of seed-to-sale software. As the name implies, this software tracks each plant from the moment it goes into the ground — through cultivation and extraction — all the way to the moment it’s sold.

No other industry requires this level of supervision. Along with a fluctuating market and a high degree of competition, heavy regulation makes legal cannabis a complex and difficult operation.

Moreover, there are those who simply can’t see how legalizing cannabis can benefit society as a whole. Yet, communities around the United States are benefitting from an organized and responsible cannabis industry in which cannabis and government cooperate.

Fortunately, the popularity of CBD and brands such as Charlotte’s Web have shifted people’s perspectives of the industry. Many holdouts — younger and older generations alike — have changed their minds thanks to the many uses of CBD for pain reliefanxiety management, and more.

The Sting of Stigma for Cannabis Businesses

Despite many people coming around, legal cannabis businesses still face enormous stigma. Particularly, during the COVID-19 crisis, most states deemed cannabis companies essential businesses and allowed them to keep operating when many others couldn’t.

However, the federal government didn’t see it that way. As a result, they were shut out of grants and low-interest loans from the $2 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress.

Sometimes, stigma can seem like something we just hear about. Other times, though, it’s much closer to home. In fact, I was recently recognized by my alma mater, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, with the Alumni Society’s Excellence in Business award.

How Cannabis Businesses Can Overcome Stigma & Backlash

I was honored to receive this award, and years of hard work and success in the cannabis space made the recognition even sweeter. However, soon after I was awarded this honor, the university took it away and provided no explanation as to why.

Although my alma mater didn’t give a reason for their decision, I’ve faced plenty of backlash for my work in the cannabis industry in the past. I suspect the university wants nothing to do with cannabis — legal or not.

The True Values of Cannabis Businesses

In spite of all the backlash I and my team at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting have dealt with over the years, I’ve stayed in this industry because I believe in its true values. Chiefly among these values are health and safety, economic growth, and social justice.

First and foremost, we take public health and safety very seriously. For this reason, cannabis pros carefully cultivate, extract, and distribute only the highest quality products. Consumer and employee safety is always our top priority.

Additionally, we create countless jobs and generate beneficial tax revenue each year. For example, in 2019, the cannabis industry boasted nearly $2 billion in sales, paid $300 million in taxes, and employed more than 34,000 people — and all of that was just in Colorado.

Furthermore, the industry works to promote access to legal cannabis for all. Whether for medical or recreational use, we want to legalize cannabis and eliminate the stigma that surrounds it.

How Cannabis Business Overcome the Stigma

As members of the cannabis community, it’s our duty to help Americans and our international colleagues overcome this stigma. Fortunately, the legal cannabis industry does a lot of tangible good for society, so the facts are on our side.

One of the best ways to fight this stigma is actually by not fighting at all. Rather, by continuing to set a good example, we can show society what the industry is really all about. Entrepreneurship, health and wellness, and social equity are driving factors behind many legal cannabis businesses.

Although there’s plenty of 420-unfriendly rhetoric out there, it’s hard to argue with tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in tax revenue. As long as we keep creating profitable opportunities, the economic benefits of legal cannabis will be tough to ignore.

If we stay true to this industry’s values, we can combat stigma without using harsh words. Instead, we can let cold, hard facts speak for themselves.

Interested in learning about how your cannabis business can overcome stigma? Contact us to schedule a consultation!

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