Big Cannabis Companies and Compassion: The Truth!

By Sekou Black

I pause as I come to a complete stop at a stop sign coming off of Hwy 205/580. To my left a homeless dude holding a sign, a common sight to see, each time unique as to the individual and I see something that catches my eye.  The gentleman flips his “Please, Anything Helps” sign to the opposite side reading “Weed Please!”   Now is this a common sight in California?  Is it surprising that someone might roll down their window and instead offer a joint, rolled blunt or bud of some flower to help aide this gent in whatever his reason might be for smoking the miraculous tree?  What many have hoped for was a rise in compassion with proposition 64 amongst newer companies, forcing out the lesser –quality companies that cut corners however, this has not been the case. Many new Cannabis Start-ups not used to patient’s unique demands were thought to bypass what the patients want in order to fulfill their own idea of what the “Green Boom,” Should be, financially in their eyes.  This sometimes has been the case, as we even see producers with familiar names cited for having pesticides and trace metals within their products and flowers. Not only are those immersed in flower, oil and edible commerce subject to criticism here, for allcompanies and individuals that offer any service or event to a cannabis patient has a responsibility to uphold.  It is when this responsibility is not taken seriously that bad things occur, such as the cancellation of events or the event being raided by local law enforcement for not having proper permitting and permission beforehand.  In these unfortunate instances, too many to name, so-called industry professionals, by their actions seem more concerned with ticket and booth sales as opposed to the safety and comfort of the initial reason for the event… the patient!

Flower as Percentage of Total Sales

Unfortunately, as many have predicted, taxation is often taken out on the patients in the form of exuberant prices within the Dispensary Storefront atmosphere.  As reported by and, the spike in cannabis prices and taxes have forced many to pay an increase of up to three dollars or 38% tax with new regulations and have made it possible to incubate a thriving black market.  When they compared Colorado prices vs- California prices, Colorado won by a landslide, as the writer/researcher reported – “If we judge the price based on brand smiles, California would win. But that’s not our measure. Instead, we analyze the breadth of consumer smiles, and here Colorado stream rolls California. The average retail price for a cannabis product in Colorado, from a gram of Super Lemon Haze to a vape pen, was $7.82. In California, the average price hit $14.04. Those poor California consumers! Hey, Cali — not everybody in the state rolls like Zuckerberg!” Luckily it is also reported as well as represented on a graph, that these prices will eventually fall, but truly when?

Taking photos for Caliva and Metron Capital, Inc

Snap shot of Matt Barnes with fan

Yes, due to contrary belief from outsiders, yes we have palm trees, weed trees, the beautiful Pacific coastline yet some rely on low cannabis prices as an alternative to expensive co-pays as well as expensive Western Medicinal treatments.  According to another report released in March, due to regulations, California will lag the growth seen in other states that have legalized first such as 84% in Washington, 56% in Colorado, and 57% in Colorado. Our regulatory structure here seems to send money into some pockets while it leaves others quite disadvantaged.   Some of these reasons are local jurisdiction restrictions, tax rates, forcing retailers to raise prices across the board to compete. Currently we here on the Gold Coast experience a 77% tax load.  What are the patients, the experienced companies, as well as the not-so experienced emerging companies to do?

How should business be conducted?  Many questions are currently floating around that still need answering, such as how should companies conduct business with clones and seeds for one? Let us remember one important thing more than any other point, that this is the healthcare industry meets Cheech and Chong, and no matter what reasons products, events, companies, and new regulations come into effect, the patients need to be thought of and consulted with, first!  What happens in any system where the people aren’t listened to? They rebel!  The Bureau of Cannabis Control, a fresh entity on the forefront of cannabis change, are often found working tirelessly with many companies as well as local municipalities to decide how patients are to be served.  In this blog I’ll quickly look into 1) ways in which the patients and farmers can drive the fast-changing market into a bright horizon, 2) A fantastic highlight of companies which go above and beyond as well as 3) How we ourselves can become empowered show compassion and make waves in an industry that many families and individuals rely on. Ex: (Encourage an equity program in your municipality to give the already existing Mom & Pop cannabusinesses a change to adapt to the quick, changing financial hardships they are and have been previously faced with.)

Although the agriculture industry is not oftentimes thought of as being synonymous with health, the cannabis industry is, at its roots is the New Wave of Holistic Medicine and Preventative Health, backed by science.   As I type this article, research is being conducted around the world to determine the best uses and avenues for using many parts of the cannabis plant as a valid and very effective treatment source.  Even countries such as China have sought over 600 patents for cannabis to help their huge population. One such patent was for a plant-based food to help people with their immune system.  If we ask our dispensaries specifically for products that benefit us in ways such as to help with digestive orders, headaches, or anxiety, perhaps we might be led in the right direction or perhaps not.  One thing for sure is that the consumer is always right and the patient when it comes to what works for them, is always right as well.  This “Consumer Sovereignty,” that we experience helps buyers decide what is needed in stock.  Supporting good business and getting involved through events and community meetings are other ways of making sure the “good guys,” the ones with your needs in focus remain around while the big dogs quit their wall street jobs to participate in what they as well as many see as a golden ticket to wealth and lasting prosperity in cannabis.   I firsthand have witnessed inflation and heard complaints about dispensary pricing, as some companies, either due to how they conduct business, or pressure, have been found oftentimes to have prices that exceed what the patients can afford.  This is one reason many have forecasted the staying power of Black Market cannabis sales vs Licensed Business owners.

While some figure out new ways of how to boost profit margins in an industry of seedlings and mature growth, others are effortlessly and wholeheartedly giving back to the very communities that they serve and beyond.  Cannabis vapor pioneers such as Jetty Extracts donates free medication to cancer patients, while we see a company such as CannaCraft, an industry giant what works closely with Absolute Extracts donating to fire victims of the Santa Rosa fire that left hundreds homeless and without help.  There are countless others that I have failed to mention that are stepping up for the cause. When we hear of people having compassion for patients, we think, “yeah, that’s kind of cool,” but when we witness it personally of directly contribute to the positive well-being of another, you see the waves that are being made and you feel the impact through the lives you see positively influenced. When individuals and companies such as The Honey Flower Collective– San Diego, Magnolia Wellness of Oakland, or Mean Green another visionary decides to put on markets for the patients such as the new Hollywood ‘Terp’ Market, not only do the patients and the families benefit, but the community as a whole becomes richer through helping to allow others provide adequate and affordable health care options for many of the residents.  Last time I met with Mean Green he spoke of a lounge on the horizons.  Some of these residents cannot travel far due to serious health conditions and these markets and lounges provide a safe and warm community atmosphere aside to the cookie cut out dispensary feel with limited patient options, as well as a place for them to medicate safely and responsibly.

Recreationally, the options for consumption are boundless however for the patient with a specific need or healthcare concern, the availability of adequate medicine can be as serious as an emergency visit to the hospital for some.  Some could feel powerless in their capacity to influence change on an economic level since they might not have lots of money or high power lawyers, yet many are discovering how powerful the voice can be when it comes to influencing cannabis law. On the push back or negative side of things there are community members, some uneducated community members that band together to prevent cannabis licensing within their municipalities with compounded conjured fears fed to them by some local politicians and law enforcement.  On the other hand are the advocates, family members, helpful and knowledgeable law enforcement, and a handful of community leaders that refuse to wait for the next generation to change things and would rather see change happen on their watch, for the community’s sake as well as for their family’s sake.  There are empowered individuals as yourself reading this article right now that might see the right opportunity somewhere, perhaps somewhere fresh and new to jump in and influence things.  By supporting local businesses and initiatives that support small business such as inner-city incubator programs-focused on bringing down crime, incarceration and building rich community pillars such as Green Huddle and Hood Incubator of Oakland as well as shark tanks for cannabis entrepreneurs such as Direct Cannabis Network’s “Seed Series,” and the Weed Show, we begin to see opportunities arise in places that ache, not just for the income but for the life-changing services needed for so many. Now if you’d like, below is a poem I wrote for this occasion of healing medication. Cheers!

Terp Market vegging teen shot

Smiling Leaves

Communities of bugs we can in no way see with naked eye

Party with expectation as the soil, bucket or formula they live within will in no way stay dry

As microbes and mitochondria mix in delicate fashions, chlorophyll and cellulose play

To display miracles only a grand designer could create

Doesn’t every living thing want to live up to its divine purpose?

As the gardener walks past to gently caress the smell from a leaf

Cultivators, breeders and rare seed keepers dance with the light given to their flower children

As aromas known as terpenes tantalize our senses

Strengthening things within us from our very bones to our instincts, responses and defenses

It is known that the potential of life to thrive with love, water, nutrients and the right light is limitless

While all we see is the world we understand at our level, there exists another

Some say it was an alien race who have gifted us this plant while others seek traditional teachings

Those that slow down enough to see the beauty in petals, trichome and bud notice the display of

Smiling leaves moving toward us, dancing as they receive the nourishment any child would appreciate



Images via,