THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CANNABIS ENTREPRENEURS

Cannabis legalization and the path toward
drug law reform

JANUARY 22, 2019 ERROL SCHWEIZER

video courtesy: BevNet

About 20 years ago, I was in a NYC diner with some fellow anti-prison and drug law reform activists. At the time, weed (or as it’s now known in business circles, “cannabis”) was illegal and every year thousands of people were being arrested for smoking, possessing or dealing small amounts of it. I had been arrested a couple times in my youth and saw firsthand that nearly everyone else in New York’s jails and court systems were non-violent offenders, usually Black or Latino. Back then, NY State’s Rockefeller Drug Laws were among the most draconian and racist in the nation. My friends and I were brainstorming how to start a campaign to overturn these laws. We called it “Drop The Rock”. The campaign went on to be among the first big victories that common sense drug law reform activists had in decriminalizing and legalizing weed.

Two decades on, and I’ve had the privilege of being a co-founder of one of the first THC-containing beverages, launched last year in California. Formulated and managed by beverage industry professionals, mood33 contains a small amount of THC blended into a sparkling drink that you can have after work or at a party. It’s a small step in continuing the path to mainstreaming the responsible use of marijuana, and recognizing that THC can be used like other safe and mild psychoactive substances, such as caffeine. But reefer madness and our decades long drug war is not over. Thousands of people still get locked away for non-violent drug offenses, and drug abuse is treated as a crime, instead of a disease like alcoholism. As cannabis entrepreneurs, we have a responsibility to not only market high quality products to a broader audience, but to seek justice for the many people that this country has criminalized for weed use and distribution. mood33 thanks Bevnet and especially Jeff Klineman for hosting a thought-provoking panel on the new normal and what we hope will be the first of many cannabis forums in the food and beverage industry. Peace, Errol.

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