Everyone is in Agreement
What does the cannabis industry need right now?
“Education, education, education.”
In Atlantic City, in the second week of November, cannabis was a hot topic among thousands of New Jerseyans looking for answers. Between the annual League of Municipalities Conference and the Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana Town Hall, the opportunities and challenges of the industry are front of mind for those in the industry and those who intersect with it.
What takeaways, in regards to cannabis industry challenges, were the same from cannabis-focused sessions at the League Conference and the M4MM Town Hall?
Sensible decision-making. Many of those in the position to make decisions about cannabis are often uninformed. This rings true for elected officials, local government employees, and influential community members. While there are some people that seek out current and relevant contextual information, that’s not occurring enough.
Information gaps. There are concerns on all sides for existing gaps in information, but those most directly, negatively affected are the entrepreneurs and business owners that are trying to launch in a brand-new sector. Access to transparent information (data, resources) is important, but it’s crucial to note that there still has to be a conscious choice to be open to seeking and considering the information.
Emotions and existing views are prioritized over facts. When it comes to cannabis, many people tend to make decisions with from a subjective place than an objective place, more with their emotions and opinions rather than from facts and sound conclusions. Years of direct and indirect messaging have contributed to this, resulting in fear and ignorance, or, more likely, a combination of both. It’s a default setting for many…and it’s often something unrealized.
What’s the problem?
Lack of informed decision-making.
What’s the solution?
Cue Elucidation Strategies and the Cannabis Community Conversation program. Granted, it won’t solve all the challenges in the space, but it’s an ideal place to start.
Why does the conversation work so well?
History. It provides a framework that’s harder to argue. It requires more work, but it results in conversations that prompt people to consider why they feel the way they do about cannabis. For some, it’s the first time they’ve even considered how their attitudes, beliefs, and values formed when it comes to the plant and the people that use it. When invited to participate in the conversation exchange - it’s often when the light bulb goes off, which is the turning point. That doesn’t flip a switch in the industry, but it can flip a switch in the person, one person at a time. Yes, it’s incremental change, but we’ve got to start somewhere.
At the most recent ES Cannabis Community Conversation, the most encouraging comment came at the end of the evening. While everyone was heading out, one participant started to leave and then returned.
“I didn’t realize any of this. It looks like I’ve got a lot of research and reading to do. I think I didn’t get the truth growing up.”
Everyone says knowledge is power. That’s true. ES is trying to help people access the power of informed decision-making.
Contact Elucidation Strategies for cannabis educational services.