Friends – passing along two OpEd pieces written recently that highlight a challenge and opportunity for the Cannabis industry. Both are written by the same author, Alex Berenson, and they appeared in the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal: LINK LINK (both behind paywalls). New York Magazine does a good job of raising the same skeptical eyebrows that I raised when reading these and their claims of connections between Cannabis and violence: LINK.
Berenson’s minor jeremiad should not be dismissed, however. Having grown up in the “Just Say No” generation (I still remember the very special episode of Diff’rent Strokes” in which Nancy Reagan guest stars to ply her message to the TV-viewing youth of America)*, there is still a part of me that finds it simply odd reconciling that message with the fact that Cannabis possession/use is now legal in some form in a majority of states (and growing).
As the Cannabis industry seizes this delicious moment of legitimization, acceptance, and market opportunity, it shouldn’t forget that there are plenty of skeptics out there. And whether those opinions are based on misguided facts, bad science, or simply fear, those opinions should be respected and appropriately addressed. This means a strong focus on education, solid (but fair!) consumer protection regulations, credible product claims**, and more research. Consider what’s happened with the rapid rise of the vaping industry and the regulatory backlash they’re now facing – granted, it’s not a perfect analogy (not even a good one), but while trends continue to rise for Cannabis acceptance in this country, there’s still a large minority that needs to be convinced. In other words, the Cannabis industry shouldn’t overplay its hand.
*Yes, I’m old enough to have watched Diff’rent Strokes when it was originally broadcast; however, I’m not old enough to make a Reefer Madness reference here.
**Which also has the added benefit of avoiding lawsuits!
Written by: Marc Hauser