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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Q&A: How cannabis consciousness is changing

Cannabis legalization also includes efforts to empower minority communities that have been the most impacted by incarceration for drug-related offenses. (Getty Images)
Rob Mejia EVERCANNABIS Correspondent
Q: What is the most important issue facing the cannabis industry in the US today? Signed, Keeping Up with Cannabis A. While there are several crucial issues, such as social justice reform, safe and secure banking, and lack of research, they all have their roots in one thing: stigma. The stigma around the use of cannabis keeps potential patients from reaching out and learning more. It keeps adults from sharing stories and experiences. It keeps medical professionals from including it in pain management regimens. Until recently, it kept big businesses from investing. Coupled with decades of misinformation, stigma inhibits investigation, research, and dialogue. But the emergence of hemp and the popularity of CBD have opened minds and started conversations for change. It must be working; the fastest growing group of cannabis enthusiasts is the over-50 crowd. Q. More states are implementing medical and adult-use cannabis programs that focus on social justice. What do this mean and why is it important? Signed, Cannabis for All A. Social/racial justice and the cannabis industry are deeply intertwined. Did you know that while the U.S. has about 5% of the world’s population that we house about 25% of all prisoners? While cannabis usage rates among whites, blacks and Latinx are similar, people of color are imprisoned nearly four times as often as whites for possession? This means that people of color and the neighborhoods they live in have been impacted by the “War on Drugs,” specifically cannabis. With legalization, states are trying to find ways to remedy this by bringing people of color into the industry through training programs, special licensure processes, mentoring and by assisting in bringing business to those neighborhoods. There must be provisions for those affected to quickly (and inexpensively) expunge their records. There are many organizations dedicated to these issues. Your local chapter of the ACLU is a good place to start. Q. My dog has terrible separation anxiety. I visited my veterinarian and hoped she would bring up CBD, but I had to ask. She was reluctant to discuss it. Is this normal? Signed, Love My Furry Friend A. Veterinarians are even more restricted than medical doctors when talking about CBD and cannabis. They cannot prescribe, recommend, or even discuss cannabis/CBD unless the pet’s owner brings up the subject. Even then, many veterinarians lack proper training in methods of consumption, dosing, and possible side effects. But some groups are lobbying to change this. The most common uses for pet CBD help anxiety, pain relief, and arthritis. CDB for pets is available in treats, capsules and tinctures/drops.
Rob Mejia is president of Our Community Harvest: A Cannabis Education Company; he tweets at @OurComHarvest. Rob lives in New Jersey and spends his free time cooking, playing tennis, and repairing an old house.