The Legal Cannabis Industry Is Populated By Professionals, Says New Oregon Campaign

Before joining Oregon’s legal cannabis industry, Joel Alexander was a fishery biologist; Christine Smith was an architect; Hannah Hayes was a midshipman with the United States Naval Academy. 

Now, they’re the faces of a new campaign aimed at “pulling back the curtain” on cannabis – and pulling business away from the black market.

Go Legal! launched last week with a series of videos meant to highlight the importance of cannabis consumers and industry members choosing to participate in the legal market.

The videos – produced by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC)’s Recreational Marijuana Program and the Metropolitan Group – feature interviews with major players from Oregon’s regulated cannabis marketplace, from growers to lab technicians to retail workers. 


“We wanted to help dispel old stereotypes and enable Oregonians to better understand who’s in this industry,” Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the Recreational Marijuana Program, told Civilized.

“The idea was to show that there’s a professional class of individuals who are participating in the regulated market and really want to make a go of it.”

Oregon has had recreational cannabis legalization in place since 2015, but Pettinger said many people living in the state continue to have unanswered questions and concerns about the industry. He hopes the Go Legal! campaign will help spread awareness to those people and bring them into the fold.

He also hopes the campaign reaches those who continue to contribute to the black market in one way or another.


A worker at HiFi Farms in Oregon lugs cannabis into a greenhouse // Photo Go Legal!

“Seeing the folks who are making products in the cannabis industry and hearing the enthusiasm in their voices and the proficiency that they’re bringing to the craft – that’s important,” says Pettinger, adding that, for the most part, “people don’t want to have to go to the illegal market.”

“There’s a certain peace of mind consumers can have knowing that they can walk into a cannabis retailer in Oregon and purchase product that’s been grown and produced and processed in a safe manner, and that’s not going to jeopardize their health.”

The folks behind Go Legal! are already mulling over their next endeavour, which may come in the form of an awareness campaign about the kinds of cannabis products that are available to Oregonians.

In the meantime, Go Legal! will live at, where Pettinger hopes it will serve as a “compendium of information that folks can come to and learn.”

Banner image: Laura Rivero of Yerba Buena // Photo Go Legal!


It’s no secret that my husband and I are longtime cannabis and hemp advocates. We’ve cheered as the majority of Americans have come around to supporting legalization, and applauded as cannabis law reform spreads from state to state. Still, decades of prohibitionist propaganda have left many in the dark about the powerful wellness potential of these long-demonized plants.

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