Normally reserved for the advocates and supporters of the cannabis cause, the future of cannabis is in danger of being monopolized by the interests of a few individuals with the goal of creating a "Big Marijuana" - much like what has happened already with Big Tobacco and Big Pharma.
Outsiders with little to no interest in advancing the marijuana movement are eyeing the industry. The usual defenders, groups like NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), who have worked on for years on the cause need help defending cannabis against big business interests.
Like the group of ten businessmen in Ohio that almost took control of the state's cannabis industry. Or the trio of Silicon Valley investors who raised $82 million dollars to buy and license the name and image of Bob Marley. There's also the tech millionaire, Jamen Shively, who wants to bring the chain store model to the marijuana industry. Shively proudly calls himself a part of "Big Marijuana."
Even those longtime fighters for legalization mentioned above have occasionally been forced to compromise their core values.
Calling it "a bitter pill to swallow", NORML endorsed the very ballot initiative that would have created the state's monopoly over cannabis in Ohio, choosing that some legalization was better than flawed legalization. It was surprising, coming from the same organization that advocates everyone should have the right to grow their own cannabis. Ultimately, Ohioans voted it down, but had it passed, Ohioans would have been left with a vice grip on their individual freedoms.
MPP has also made compromises to Big Marijuana at the detriment of the movement. It's "Pledge 4 Growth" campaign, specifically aimed to support big businesses, launched the same day its Federal Policy Director resigned. The Director, Dan Riffle, said he left because the "industry is taking over the legalization movement."
The key to disrupting this corporate tide is giving the marijuana's gray economy a digital upgrade, a platform for the average person in the industry to connect to one another.
When the big guys sell out, who is losing out?
The same people who have been demonized and criminalized for decades.
It's the marijuana cultivators, vendors, and users who lose when the industry becomes dominated by major corporations. Dubbed "legacy" growers, drug dealers, and stoners by Big Cannabiz, they are the undesirables that Big Marijuana wants to weed out. It is at the risk of being labeled "criminal" that these advocates, workers, and organizers kept the industry going underground during prohibition.
Even the most liberal of legalization strategies aims to weed them out. Licensing schemes and regulations will keep out these "legacy" workers.
If what's happening in Seattle is any sign of things to come, legalization's first economic victims will be independent marijuana delivery services who can't afford to buy a storefront - let alone ad space on sites like Weedmaps, which can cost thousands of dollars.
The answer may lie in cutting out money-minded corporations altogether.
LeafedIn, a map-based app, is a 420-friendly twist on a unique and new concept specifically in the marijuana market and industry: free, anonymous, and most important of all focused on a person to person model. Even though it's focus is the person to person model, it embraces every participant in the marijuana industry and community, so business to business and business to consumer model individuals and entities can leverage it just the same are are doing so. However, LeafedIn goes beyond anonymously connecting vendors and buyers; its mission is to also connect marijuana-related businesses with skilled labor and experts. Marijuana experts, employers,and workers (cannabis trimmers, extractors, accountants, any profession) who aren't allowed on Craigslist, let alone Facebook or Instagram, as well as cannabis buyers and vendors, are all adapting this tool as the most effective one available to them in the market.
Leafedin.org itself can be used on any mobile or desktop device simply by going to www.leafedin.org on your browser, as there is a mobile responsive site that works seamlessly on any mobile device and of course a classic desktop web application. It is FREE to sign up, takes just seconds, is as anonymous as you want it to be, and can meet the product or employment need of any person or party/business within the marijuana field. Furthermore an iOS app is scheduled to come out any day now, and a private beta of that iOS app is already underway for months now.
It's no comparison to the trade brought on by the Han Dynasty Silk Road yet (this has nothing to do with the more recent Silk Road many know about, no association there) but it is a new trade route where the majority of the marijuana community that is stuck within the gray economy can connect without relying on costly advertisements or corporate sponsorship.
For more information, visited Leafedin.org
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