Stoners: The real backbone of the cannabis industry

By Jeremy Norrie

This article is a little different than most of my others, mostly because I have a bone to pick. There has been a few things going on for a while that I really have come to dislike, and the

time has come to say something about it. If you have been in the cannabis industry you might already know about  it, there are a number of people who feel the same way I do. It is not often I encounter someone who feels differ- ently when they really sit down and think about it. By now I am sure you are wondering what I am getting at, and I’ll tell you its a simple problem. Everyone is the mar- ijuana industry has lost sight of who really makes it pos- sible, and its not only the people on the production side, in fact it is quite the opposite.

We often hear about how important our growers are and how much marijuana does for their communities. It is true and for them the industry is providing and they are enjoying the fruits of their labour. They often talk about how much harder they have it, and the great deal of risk they take in order to provide the best marijuana they can for people all over, especially here in California. It is true they do risk a great deal and their life is very heard to a degree but they complain year after year about how much less they get for their harvests, and how it is becoming more and more competitive even with the laws as they are. The result of this is often varied but it can cosist of efforts to make it less appealing to newcomers, or per- haps voting against legalization, running people out of town or ruining relationships both personal and business,

there are a variety of possible ways people can go with these obstacles but the general idea is to keep it quiet and to do what they can to prevent others from entering into the trade in any way they can, while still maintaining the best prices. They think this is somehow the BEST way to maintain their profits and stay functional in the cannabis industry. It has lead to the loss of various legendary genet- ics and countless people being arrested, and in the mean time all their worst fears continue to happen despite their overwhelming efforts to ruin cannabis for everyone but themselves. Maybe the problem is partly a lack of actual love for marijuana, because a huge majority of successful growers that I have met seem to be in the business main- ly for the money, it is their means to an end and what pro- vides for their actual passions and/or their families etc. They usually only have complaints about financial diffi- culties related to their marijuana business rather than problems trying to make new strains, breeding issues, even taste and flavour, it can be basically anything relat- ed to the passion of the growing of marijuana culture. This idea has permeated into various parts of the cannabis industry, and in my opinion does more harm than good. Personally I think this is not the way we should be handling these problems.

The reality is, that all the while these growers have been enjoying maximum profits they did little to nothing to further expand the culture of cannabis and thus prevent- ing the industry from thriving the way a normal business would. By not doing anything at all for your customers

for the last twenty years, they have missed the concept of expanding their market and growing their business. The idea that the growers and the people on the inside are what make the industry thrive is actually a false premise. The reality is that the people who are paying the absolute most for their cannabis day in and day out at the retail end are the real ones keeping all of the people in the cannabis industry alive. Every stoner who buys a  gram for about $20 is keeping food in your children’s mouths, cloths on your back and a roof over your head, and sadly no one does anything to show them any  appreciation. Too few people do anything to let the stoners who are on the bottom floor see inside a little more, or to promote the culture that goes along with cannabis, the thing that has crept into every sport and every form of entertain- ment and art known to man. The people who grow pot are not the only ones missing the boat, this is true for other industries as well.

There are so many we can talk about, and some are less- er guilty than others. Let’s be honest, we all know the NBA doesn’t test for marijuana for a reason, and there  are NFL and MLB players that have been caught enjoy- ing the plant. The more obvious worlds of video gaming and extreme sports, like skateboarding and surfing, have always seemed to be known for having pot smoking ath- letes but no one really talks too much about it during any of those events. In fact in the UFC more fighters have test- ed positive for marijuana than anything else, some are even known for their love of the herb, yet not many

attempts to bring attention to these facts have been made in fact they try to hide it every chance they get. Surprisingly the world of glass blowing is exceptionally guilty of marketing to essentially only the head shop owners and basically doing little to nothing at all for the kids buying pipes at retail prices. There have been a few people trying to take notice as of late, but it is still over- whelmingly true.

When I was young, I saved up money to buy myself an awesome pipe at retail price because I thought it was beautiful and the better pipe I had the more elite stoner I felt like. I did it a few times, and I always went in to the shop and looked real hard, but I also always paid retail price. There was seemingly never any promotion as to why I should buy a nice pipe, they basically all worked the same, my inspiration can when I saw a friend with one and I thought it was awesome and wanted one of my own that was unique to me and my style. People like us partly make their lives possible from the head shop to the glassblower, but no one ever did anything for us, not to promote what they do or to even bring any kind of knowledge about it, nothing to make it have more value or to increase interest The entire scene is very secretive, but with the internet it is all being exposed and now there is nothing they can do to stop it.

They do all come out from their hiding places once in a while to get together for these huge trade shows. It is a wonderful thing, it truly is, but honestly it is the wrong

audience. The shows are the closest thing to any kind of promotion of marijuana culture and products, but they are wholesale only shows. Meaning that they are market- ed to store owners only, so if you are just a regular mem- ber of the public you are not allowed to come in. Granted I totally understand the need for this,  but they take  it to a crazy level of performance and I think the things they do are meant for the public who are paying the retail prices for these products.

At the two biggest glass shows in Las Vegas there are always great “Flame Off” competitions or demonstra- tions, and it is incredibly impressive but really the people who would most appreciate the glass blowers involved are not invited to the show, and more importantly there is no show for those people who would mostly appreci- ate something like a “Flame Off”. The people who go to the shops and will pay sometimes double or triple the wholesale price for a piece by one of these amazing artists are not allowed into these shows, and therefore has virtu- ally no event that is for them. There are some promotion- al events that do a good job, for example this magazine “Treating Yourself” has done three very successful Treating Yourself Expos with the world’s largest Vapour Lounge, also a Flame Off Glass Blowing Competition and a Medical Marijuana Cup that are all open to the public in Toronto Canada, and of course The High Times Cannabis Cup events are the current best in the USA   and   Amsterdam   but   really  there   is not

enough retail events that educate people about the culture and expose people to our way of life and what it means to be a cannabis user who is at the top of their craft, whatever it may be.

The basic way to increase your fan base is to do things to promote your product to your poten- tial audience, and mostly to an audience that is not currently already hooked into your product or brand. These shows that do exist are basical- ly marketed to people who are already big fans of cannabis, when really these people are already the most likely people to go to an event with lit- tle to no promotion. The real trick is to attempt to bring in people who are not already going to attend the event with their friends, and inspire these new people to give it a try. The next  part of the plan is to give them a great show, make sure you deliver on the fun times because many people will not give it a second chance. Show people just how far cannabis can go, and just how incredible the products and art that go along with it are, and we will give more and more people jobs and opportunity in the cannabis industry. Other industries have done it, the UFC came back from being banned  on PPV to now being one of the biggest sporting events around, same can be said for the extreme sports

industry and many others, even all the traditional sports started small. The art world has been transformed by street art and there are so many other examples that it is just the obvious answer.

Legalize it and we will advertise it. Overgrow the govern- ment. We can start with the aspects of our culture that are already legal, get after it. Thanks for reading, stay with us next time. Hope this article was helpful for you, and maybe you will be inspired to start expanding the social culture of cannabis. Try to look for events in your area and get out there. Spread the love of cannabis and try to find something related that you can support. Next issue we will talk about more cannabis related news. If you enjoy these arti- cles, follow me @Professor420 on Twitter for more per- sonal stories & behind the scenes details & pictures from my articles, including things that don’t make it in the magazine, and get them as they happen live. We have a new website for high end art including functional glass, www.BoroLehr.com. Also don’t forget to check out www.VapeontheGo.com to get the absolute best per- forming, most economical, portable, and re-chargeable essential oil vaporizer on the market. Take it easy, have fun, don’t believe the hype! Find success and make it work for you. Good luck.

102 TreatingYourself Issue 36, 2012

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