As the tendrils of cannabis legalization wind through the streets of New York, I find myself reflecting on a journey that's been both personal and communal. For those of us who've navigated the cannabis world long before it stepped into legal light, the current market shift feels both monumental and disconcerting.
The Shift: More Than a Legal Matter
When New York State flipped the switch on cannabis legality, it didn't just change laws; it altered narratives. Once labeled as outcasts for our choice of herb, we're now potential customers in a burgeoning market. Yet, amidst this seismic shift, a critical element is lost - the essence of trust and community that's long defined our cannabis interactions.
A Trust Built Over Years
The bonds we've formed with our suppliers aren't merely transactional. They're built on trust, reliability, and a shared belief in the plant's power. These relationships, cultivated discreetly but deeply, are now overshadowed by glossy dispensaries that lack the personal touch we've always cherished.
From Criminals to Consumers: A Bitter Pill
It's hard to overlook the irony. Yesterday's 'criminals' are today's coveted consumers. This abrupt change in stance by the authorities leaves a bitter taste. It seems our value is recognized only in greenbacks, not in our long-standing commitment to the cannabis culture.
Cannabis vs. Alcohol: A Question of Fairness
Why the stringent regulations on cannabis when alcohol, arguably more harmful, enjoys relaxed norms? This imbalance strikes at the heart of every seasoned cannabis user who's seen the worst and hoped for the best.
In Praise of Craft Cannabis Growers
Here's where my heart lies - with the craft cannabis growers. Just as wineries and breweries are celebrated for their artisanal approaches, why can't we uplift cannabis growers who pour their soul into each strain? These cultivators aren't just farmers; they're artisans of a craft steeped in tradition, care, and community.
A Call for Inclusion and Recognition
As we step into this new era, my plea is simple: let's not lose sight of what makes cannabis culture so unique. Let's champion the small-scale, craft growers who have been the backbone of our community. Let's create a market as diverse and rich as the plant itself.
As a long-time cannabis user, my journey has been marked by secrecy, camaraderie, and a deep respect for the plant. As we navigate these new waters, I yearn for a market that honors the legacy of cannabis – one that values craft, care, and community as much as commerce. New York has the chance to set a precedent, one where craft cannabis growers are as revered as the finest vintners or brewers. Let's make it happen.