As I sit here watching another great episode of Weediquette (on Vice TV), I have a flash of insight that many of us involved in this industry are truly the next generation of hippies. The opportunity is bringing a lot of players to the table, many of whom are here just for the feast. But it’s also drawing people, consciously or unconsciously, who share a connection to something bigger…a desire to help people come together, to heal and to make the world a better place.
Cannabis is, after all, a female. The mother. The ultimate hippie.
The old guard hippie generation has carried the torch for a generation, sharing their love for the plant and culture surrounding it. The ripple effect of their philosophy of love, acceptance and peace touches everything and will carry forward for generations. But they’ve never had the opportunity of industry in front of them like we do now.
As cannabis becomes a multi-billion dollar industry, the question in front of us is how will it evolve? Will big pharma, alcohol and tobacco turn it into a heartless, industrial machine? It is inevitable that they will take their share, the writing is on the wall. The plant offers too much financial potential to ignore, and there will be many who simply use it for the thousands of solutions it can produce.
And so it’s the next generation of hippies that have to take the torch, to come together to protect the plant and ensure the world can access its many benefits. We will have to create big businesses, relatively speaking, to meet the demand that will come…if we don’t, bad players will breed and take us down the wrong path. But what I’m seeing in the people that I’m drawn to, who are working tirelessly to build businesses and set the stage for great success on multiple dimensions, is a common thread of ‘hippie-ness.’
The conversations we have are passionate and go far beyond the traditional entrepreneurial dialogue…we talk about how cannabis will help save the world, how people need access to its healing properties, how important education and awareness is to help bring people along. Don’t get me wrong, we also talk about profitability, branding, operations and all sorts of business talk…it’s far from a bunch of stoners sitting around getting high and dreaming about world peace. We’re taking action and building global businesses and brands, but with priorities and goals that extend beyond traditional measures of profitability.
“…this industry desperately needs people whose value system reflects the collaborative, cooperative values the cannabis plant has taught us. It can be irritating, frustrating, and even dispiriting to deal with all of the laws and regulations that are coming our way, but if we don’t do that, then people like the liquor lobby—who know nothing about cannabis, and care nothing about cannabis—are going to be the ones in control.”
Steve DeAngelo, founder & head of Harborside Health Center
We are in a transitional phase, and many will inevitably benefit as cannabis emerges from prohibition. But the role we, this next generation of hippies, play in shaping the relationship people build with cannabis, in creating an industry that stays true to its roots (so to speak), and birthing new businesses cannot be underestimated. We cannot sit back and let the system (aka ‘the man’) take over this plant and its potential. We have an unprecedented opportunity to change the world through both advocacy and industry, and to harness our positive energy to make this world a better place.
We truly are the next generation of hippies. But it needs a new name and an evolved definition. So, what do we call ourselves?