The $20 Billion Elephant in the Room

It is estimated that the global Cannabis market is now about $20 Billion in size. Cannabis and Hemp businesses have many trade associations and lobbyists representing them, and they generally want the opposite of what Consumers need. Regulators and police have a seat at the table, as does the medical side (Big Pharma and doctors), but none of them have a reason to care how policy actually impacts patients. There’s a trade association of Cannabis regulators and of Controlled Substances Act authorities, to which each state belongs. And of course the police unions, private prisons, and pharma/medical industry spend enormous sums to protect their interests and jobs. Even the crime organizations are represented, via Regulatory Capture and lobbying. Regulators focus on maximizing revenues and leveraging the law to increase budget, relevance, and power.

Ironically, the only reason ANY of this exists, the Consumer, has absolutely no seat at the table, no voice whatsoever in the process. I’m a patient with a long and storied history of doing business for decades, so they consider me a traitor for telling you this. But I’ll keep talking until there is institutional and bureaucratic change; no state or nation has yet given us a fair shake and our due.

How does this policy help or hinder the Consumer?” is my sole metric. That is unique in the space, no other stakeholder represents us in the process. Not just the patients with formal prescriptions, but all those using any Cannabis product. To me, all Consumers are Patients because all Cannabis use is medicinal, intent is irrelevant.

Consumers want low cost, high quality, and access to a wide range of products. Anything which improves that is better; anything which which degrades that is bad.

Ultimately, businesses want high profits and as much of a monopoly as possible, which is the worst outcome for patients. Cops and doctors have their own reasons to not rock the boat and keep things status quo. Cannabis regulators, lobbyists, associations, and lawyers help businesses realize its goals. “Corporate Activist” is an oxymoron, real activists do it for the outcome not the income. Many of the industry players are openly hostile to Consumers, lobbying to ban homegrows and making a farce of quality assurance programs. This unholy alliance has also impacted the integrity of local officials and bureaucrats; as we’ve seen over and over with millions of dollars at stake the pressure for corruption is great.

So you can see the deck is stacked against us Consumers, all those powerful forces marshalled to get the opposite of what we need. We can’t even get in the door let alone a seat at the table let alone protection and assistance from predatory tactics of businesses. None of this is by accident, it is all intentional. Ad-hoc or uncapitalized groups representing Patients are blocked from participating, only those spending money can even fill out an application to be part of the process. But groups which spend money, need money; consumer-funded groups are far more rare than business-funded ones. There’s millions of dollars available to get and protect monopolies, and zilch to protect Consumers.

Here’s what’s best for Patients and Caregivers (“Consumers”) regarding all forms of Cannabis and Cannabinoid products:

Complete and total descheduling and decriminalization, and formal “lowest enforcement priority” policy for law enforcement. Regulate like zucchini.

Consumers can grow at home, including hemp in an ornamental or horticultural style.

Friends can grow for friends and Patients, and sell at cost plus 30%.

No maximum plant count for Consumers.

Allow free production, no local jurisdiction may prohibit cultivation or processing for Consumers.

Allow the same marketing as any other business, including advertising, sponsorships, and free samples.

Allow both outdoor and indoor cultivation.

For those non-Caregivers producing for sale, Community, national, and local jurisdictions can impose only low-impact regulations such as those for regular food production. Apply the same regulations to retailers as is used for other stores selling pre-packaged non-perishable foods.

Authorities must do everything possible to make an easy entrance to market for companies, including low if any fees and no caps or obstacles for Licenses.

Laboratory analysis for Consumers subsidized in order to keep companies honest, report goes to regulators and the Consumer.

Analytical testing of every batch with a QR code to the certified report on each commercial package. Full disclosure of chemical content and quality metrics.

Appropriate packaging and as little of it as possible, easy to open.

As wide a range of products as possible, with no cannabinoid or terpene banned: smokable, vape, tinctures, powders, pills, sprays, suppositories, foods, patches, topical, drops, etc.

As wide a range of retailers as possible and especially discreet delivery.

No state or physician recommendation or prescription required.

A national free market, allowing imports under the same rules as locals.

Formally exempt from Novel Food registration.

All Hemp 1% maximum THC, and no maximum for non-hemp Cannabis products.

Freedom for any farmer or Consumer to use any cultivar, no mandatory use of only approved or specific cultivars.

Add non-fibre forms of hemp production to the CAP subsidy list in Europe.

No THC testing for non-consumable hemp production, such as fibre. No THC testing for plots less than 1 hectare (2.47 acres).

Jurisdictions must do whatever is necessary to reduce cost, increase access, and level the playing field for farmers, processors, and retailers.

Since there is no formal group representing Consumers, recognize ad-hoc and legitimate unincorporated consumer advocates.

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