Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no magical crystal ball that can foresee the future — because if there were, it would have been shattered by what came to pass in 2018, particularly in cannabis. Straight out of the gate, January 1 began with an epic bang, when, 20 years after legalizing medical cannabis, the world’s sixth largest economy — i.e. the great state of California — launched its market for legal, adult use cannabis. It seemed game-changing — and it was — until that massive event was bested 10 months later, when the great nation of Canada also legalized weed for adult use. Then, as if the American government couldn't stand to be bested, the Farm Bill passed this month, legalizing hemp cultivation in the US after 81 years of prohibition. And, a few days later, that Act was bested by the passage of the shockingly bipartisan Criminal Justice Bill, promising monumental reform for non-violent offenders, which will directly impact our nation’s ability to move beyond weed’s long and dark history of incarceration. Oh, and speaking of dark pasts, the weed-trolling Dixie Pixie, none other than Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III left his position as attorney general this fall, sending cannabis stocks soaring sky-high in November. What’s that they say about no greater revenge than success?
In the financial sector, it was a year of mega deals from companies like Canopy Growth, which invested C$429 million to acquire Colorado-based company ebbu’s hemp intellectual property, while Marlboro-maker Altria invested 1.8 billion in Canada’s Cronos. On the political front, it was a year of some mega hypocrisy as former Speaker of the House John Boehner, new to the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, tried explaining the fact that you can’t get high on hemp to Mitch McConnell. Proving that weed can help unite us, former presidential candidate and DNC Chairman Howard Dean took a seat on the board of med giant Tilray, alongside former RNC Chairman Michael Steele. Not surprisingly, in August, Canna Law Blog announced that The Patenting Wars have officially begun, with the filing of United Canna Corp v. Pure Hemp Collective, Inc. And while the midterms heralded 2018 as a Year of the Woman, women in cannabis are demanding industry-wise change, beginning at the top, with far greater equality in the boardroom.
On the cultural front, style bible T Magazine anointed weed as fashionable. Master blaster Snoop Dogg got a star on the Walk of Fame and then stopped to smell the roses by smoking a blunt outside the White House. Elon Musk stopped to chat and smoke a blunt with Joe Rogan — and then saw his company stock take a nosedive, but still. And on the small screens, stoner Sims fans rejoiced to learn their characters can now smoke bongs — with them — in real time, even. On the silver screen, Weed the People, Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s award-winning documentary, revealed the insanity and inhumanity inflicted on American families, seeking medical cannabis treatment for their children. And lest we forget, to this day, in 2018, there are bone-chilling reminders that we still live in a country where a SWAT team may descend on a med-card-carrying cannabis user like he’s the Unibomber.
Finally, Governor Andrew Cuomo has seen the light and announced his #2109JusticeAgenda on Twitter: “We will end the disproportionate criminalization of one race over another by regulating, legalizing and taxing the adult use of recreational marijuana.” About time too.
So, in the spirit of taking a quiet moment to reflect on what has passed and to set one’s intention for what’s to come, Civilized invited a wide swath of cannabis people to share their resolutions. Here’s to peace, posterity, and a greener Earth in 2019.
Camille Chacra, Founder of Allume
Full transparency: I've always felt New Years' resolutions were a tad unnecessary! Blasphemous, I know. I come from the school of thought that believes we should be consistently working on ourselves in big or small ways. Believe it or not, that perspective has been shifted by none other than cannabis. As I launched Allume — my online shop and subscription box service catered to women — I became increasingly aware of social issues related to the plant as I interacted with more advocates, educators, followers and customers. I became passionate about two particular causes: the accurate representation of female cannabis consumers, and [record] expungement of those with minor cannabis convictions. Though I've been actively fundraising for Cannabis Amnesty and showcasing women from all walks of life, races and backgrounds, through Allume, I had a thought: 2019 is going to be a game-changer. This is only the beginning as legalization continues to spread, and my resolution is to amp up awareness surrounding issues that affect many people. What's special about this resolution is that it will carry on over the years. It's not exactly like a limited-time promise to yourself; it's social action with staying power. With that, I encourage the cannabis community to join me and others in doing their part in flipping the stigma and creating a more inclusive space. Here's to a New Year of acceptance, love and lots 'o weed!
Banner photo and portrait of Chacra, courtesy of @fallforvee
Jill Trinchero, Founder/CEO of SDK Snacks
My resolution is to leave people happier than I found them. A simple smile, a compliment, any act of kindness or a SDK cookie will usually do the trick.
Skip Stone, Founder of Stashlogix
My resolution is to exercise more . . . novel idea, right? In life, there are four main categories: family, work, hobbies (mountain biking), and friends. But when you're in a start-up company, you only get to pick two. So for the past two years, I chose work and family, but now that STASHLOGIX is out of the “danger zone,” I’m ready for more balance. Mountain biking is hard to do in Colorado winters, so I’m vowing to get up at the crack of dawn to start running again. Cheers to a more balanced life in 2019. #sleepwhenyouredead
Katie Stem, CEO of Peak Extracts
One of my favorite things about cannabis is how it takes you out of your normal trajectory and makes you focus on the present moment. My goal this year is to let go of the panic-inducing news cycle and try to focus on contentment. Good thing we make an indica-dominant CBD chocolate!
Julia Jacobson, CEO & Director of Business Strategy of Aster Farms
To incorporate more CBD into my life. There’s so much new research about CBD and a whole range of products have sprung up from animal supplements to face cleansers. We’re just beginning to understand the power of this cannabinoid and as someone in the industry, it's exciting to be apart of it all.
Meryl Montgomery & Valarie Šakota, Co-Founders of BARBARI
Resolutions, like rules, are easily made and easily broken. So rather than set a resolution, we're starting the year by smudging ourselves and our homes with some BARBARI Herbal Blends, taking a deep breath, and reminding ourselves that we are enough. We're excited and energized about the year ahead, not only for our own growth, but for the strengthening of our community of women, people of color, and our LGBQT sisters and brothers who are constantly breaking rules and defining their own vision of happiness and success. And as we all move into 2019, we know that each step of the way, we are perfectly enough, and we are all together.
Anna Symonds, athlete/director of CBD Certified
I don’t really do “resolutions,” but this year, I look forward to furthering my holistic endocannabinoid system wellness practices. This includes cannabis, but also a huge spectrum of other beneficial plants, foods, herbs, spices, fungi, and therapeutic movement.
Joline Rivera, Founder/CEO of Kitchen Toke
I'd like to encourage more discussion, more questions and more dialogue around cannabis — no matter how simple those questions might be. In 2019, I hope to normalize cannabis by simply encouraging people to talk about it as if you’d talk about anything else.
So many people want to speak up or just ask a question, but hold back because they’re embarrassed or think they should already know. There are so many cannabis users or people who want to know more. The industry is growing so fast; companies are so busy telling people about their products that they’ve forgotten that most people have no idea what a cannabinoid is or what “full spectrum” means. I always try to remember, being in Chicago — a major city, but still not fully legalized like California or Colorado — that cannabis isn't everyday language here. We don't have as many or as much access to dispensaries or product yet, but we can help advance the industry simply by offering more information and encouraging people to talk about it, ask about it, and be curious about it.
Alice Boher, Co-founder of Miwak Junior
I resolve to play more this year. Work kinda worked us over in 2018, but this year, we’re making work our bitch. I want to host and entertain more. In front of all of you reading this now, I resolve to at least have a big brunchy, festive, open house-y type thing ASAP.