Self-Regulation – Commercial Cannabis Industry is a post that is very likely going to land yours truly in a substantial amount of “hot water”. However after some reflection, to hell with it, the passing of Senator John S. McCain, III, who is an American hero and an icon of the values that represent American individualism and of beliefs and values about doing what is right, for a greater good, even if it isn’t in our immediate self-interest makes this an easy one. The success or failure of the legal, commercial cannabis industry depends, in large measure, on four factors. The are
- Regulated Markets
The creation and development of regulated, legal markets that are perceived as fair, having a reasonable cost without the complexity that so onerous that compliance is impossible [Our view is that California is well on its way to achieving that goal, though there are some significant corrections, notably with respect to compassionate medical use, compliance, and lab testing, and banking to be addressed.]
- Licensed Professionals
The development of a significant pool of licensed professionals, particularly attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents [yep, that group that I poke at all the time is critical here assuming that they have the requisite thirty hours or accounting], and scientists [my term for the chemists, healthcare, and others with graduate-level degrees and professional licenses that are critical to demonstrating the integrity of the industry to the regulators.
- Competent Skilled Workforce
The workforce that performs all of the labor and services [distinct from Licensed Professionals] that provides skilled, semi-skilled and manual labor for the cannabis industry [akin the enlisted ranks in the military] are critical. The workforce needs to be recognized as performing legal, legitimate services that feed families and contribute to communities, part of the legal immigration, taxation, and healthcare systems [free from the scourges of human trafficking and scourges of discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse]. Cannabis needs to lose its status as “a plant with an attitude” and be recognized for what has become, legal agricultural activity in California and other states. [The larger discussion includes, delisting from DEA Schedule I, acceptance by FinCEN and the banking system and a change in IRC Sec. 280E, possible replacement with an excise tax.].
- Industry Self-Governance, Guidelines, and Process
The commercial cannabis industry needs to follow through on the creation of organizations, standards, and procedures to demonstrate its integrity. The process is going to have to include leadership from industry associations that take a long view with respect to lobbying activity, an objective process for the selection and sponsorship of content providers at trade shows and on websites. The abhorrent practices of “pay for play” for platform speakers, and tolerance of incompetence, outright criminal conduct, and the pontification of rubbish, blather, and gibberish as “expert knowledge” needs to cease. Pseudo-scientific claims and self-aggrandizement can NOT be tolerated if the industry is going to have credibility.
Our next several articles are going to dig into the practices and conditions that attention for the four prongs to develop. Specific examples that we will explore include:
- “Pay to Play” – Financial costs, beyond association membership for platform speaking slots at trade shows and conferences.
- “Toxic Spew” – The willingness by the website owners, community and forum managers overlook criminality, incompetence, and the ramblings of soothsayers and “tossers” [collectively “Toxic Spew“] merely because they provide financial recompense. If posted content falls within that definition, it is rubbish and should NOT be published for sake of filling space.
- “Whistleblowers” and anyone else with the requisite expertise that identifies Toxic Spew must be protected, acknowledged and valued by the owners, sponsors, and managers for their role in bringing integrity to the industry. The banning, muzzling, shunning and castigation needs to end immediately, and any one individual or entity that engages in such practices scorned, sanctioned, subject to penalties that include reporting to regulatory authorities and law enforcement.
- Respect, Dignity and Safe Environment – Everyone is entitled to expect that their interactions with colleagues, agents, suppliers, and clients will be non-threatening and respectful [that doesn’t preclude spirited disagreement or even argument] on a reciprocal basis. A safe, healthy, and productive work environment is a right, and in many jurisdictions, the law. Everyone needs to commit to eliminating any actions or circumstances that undermine such an environment. Unlawful discrimination, verbal or physical harassment or abuse, or offensive behavior (whether or not sexually related) is unacceptable and requires immediate, clear and consistent consequences.
We have chosen to label the unwillingness or lack of fortitude on the part of anyone with the responsibility to be part of the solution to these issues as Gumballs [which is hereby stipulated to be gender neutral]. We are going to spare everyone the mental images that would come with my effort to elucidate the definition.
We all need to be part of the solution, otherwise, we are part of the problem