Earlier month I had the good fortune of sitting on a New West Summit panel with some like-minded individuals that believe, as I do, in the power and potential of the cannabis plant. What Dave Morin, Roger McNamee, and I discussed left me with renewed vigor that the time is now to grow this industry, to educate consumers about the very real health benefits of this plant, and to pioneer an industry that spans pharma to hospitality, and everything in between.

At Big Rock we are passionate about the whole plant and the whole person, but we are living in an era of prohibition around cannabis. While it’s changing for the better, it’s still dramatically impacting our ability to enjoy life and be human, while also impacting everything from our agriculture, to our farmland, to our basic health. Here are my top three takeaways from the event:

  1. The stigma around cannabis comes from lack of understanding – as Roger stated during the discussion, the “incredible tragedy and ridiculous failure of the war on drugs” is going to take time to undo. But science is showing cannabis helps with so many of our societies most common ailments, from depression to inflammation (which is at the heart of so many diseases). As the stigma breaks, more and more people will be open to the healing benefits of cannabis.

  2. California is set to play a pivotal role in this industry, starting with the transition of Prop 64 in January 2018 to allow the legal sale and taxation of recreational cannabis. The people that have already laid the groundwork of this industry have a real opportunity, and while there are still a lot of unknown challenges that will need to be solved, I like the current playing field.

  3. Perhaps most exciting of ALL is that we actually don’t even know yet what will be out of the cannabis industry. If I look at my smartphone as an example, half the apps on my phone now I would have never been able to predict. I look at cannabis as the same thing. There’s all these different microcosms and impacts that it’s having, everything from regulatory to new medicines, and so on.

The possibilities are endless and THAT’S why I’m so passionate about this industry.

Mike Harden