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The situation has also unleashed a public discourse that has subsequently branched-off in several, important directions. To help you get an idea of what’s going on, we’ve put together some of the key information to follow on this matter.
For starters, there are those who ridicule the fact that cannabis is considered akin to a steroid in the eyes of Olympics officials. Comedian Seth Rogen, who also runs a cannabis brand of his own, took to Twitter to share his take:
“The notion that weed is a problematic ‘drug’ is rooted in racism,” Rogen noted in a July 2 post. “It’s insane that Team USA would disqualify one of this country’s most talented athletes over thinking that [is] rooted in hatred. It’s something they should be ashamed of. Also, if weed made you fast, I’d be FloJo.”
Solid punchlines notwithstanding, the idea that cannabis cannot enhance one’s performance isn’t exactly accurate. To learn more on this subject, check out the concept of the flow state, which suggests that the right combination of caffeine, cannabis, and exercise can maximize one’s mental productivity.
Naturally, having a crisp mind doesn’t give you record-breaking speed, so Rogen’s quip comparing himself to the fastest woman of all-time for taking a bunch of bong rips was definitely right on the money.
Following news of the ban, a number of Richardson’s fans, sponsors, and fellow athletes instantly spoke up as well to voice their support for the 21-year-old, who had won the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field trials in Oregon just last month.
Nike confirmed it would not end its contract with Richardson over the issue, while Kansas City Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Maholmes kept his comments short and simple: “This is so trash man… just let her run!”
The preposterousness of Richardson’s ban even inspired the satirical masterminds over at The Onion to conjure up one their best (NSFW) headlines in recent memory.
Another faction of outrage over Richardson’s ban stems from those who simply believe the Olympics are long overdue for an update to the rules. In a statement, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri highlighted several of the arguments in favor of the Olympics taking an evolved stance on cannabis.
(What’s NORML? Short for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, this important advocacy institution is the oldest and largest national organization dedicated solely to marijuana law reform.)
“In the past, it has never made too much sense for marijuana use outside of competition to be a disqualifying factor for athletes,” Altieri said. “In 2021, at a time when marijuana use is legally accepted in a growing number of US states and around the world, it makes exactly zero sense for regulators to continue to take punitive actions against athletes like Sha’Carri Richardson or anyone else who chooses to consume cannabis in their off-hours.”
Altieri continued by highlighting Richardson’s publicly given reason for consuming cannabis: its potential therapeutic benefits as a way to cope with grief. In this case, it was the tragic death of Richardson’s mother that led her to seek solace in cannabis.
For Altieri, that context makes this ban all the crueler.
“To use this as a rationale for denying this athlete, who is otherwise competing at the top of her sport, the ability to represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympics should be an unacceptable outcome in this situation,” he concluded. “Let Richardson race.”
If there is any positive outcome to Richardson’s unwarranted ban, comments made by President Joe Biden in the wake of the news suggests that reform of some sort may at last be on the horizon.
On Saturday, in response to a reporter’s question about Richardson’s cannabis-related suspension, President Biden offered the following response:
“The rules are the rules and everybody knows what the rules were going in. Whether they should remain the rules is a different issue, but the rules are the rules.”
In his analysis of these comments, Marijuana Moment’s Tom Angell notes that Biden’s words “could raise questions about whether his administration will use its seat on the WADA Foundation board, on which the U.S. is represented by the acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, to push for reforms.”
As is often the case, it appears that once again is has taken a glaring example of how bad current drug policy remains for meaningful change to become a priority. For track star Sha’Carri Richardson, hopefully this is the last time cannabis is used as a pretext to prevent an athlete from competing for Olympic gold.
In the meantime, Sha’Carri, if you’re reading this, Purple Lotus has you covered on all of your essential training supplies the next time you’re in our neck of the woods.
Before humans even had a name for THC, we knew we liked how it made us feel.
By the same token, the concept of a career in cannabis is not something new to the legal age. But whereas before the entirety of the “industry” operated outside of the law — not exactly the same demands you’d find at a normal 9 to 5 — the dawn of legalization has ushered with it a tidal wave of new, legitimate employment opportunities for candidates of all stripes.
With federal legalization potentially on the precipice of becoming a reality, recreational cannabis is presently legal in 17 states (plus Washington, D.C. and Guam). And business is booming.
It’s honestly difficult to overstate just how hot the cannabis job market in the U.S. is at the moment. According to a Leafly report published earlier this year, the U.S. currently supports 321,000 full-time cannabis jobs.
“To put that in perspective,” notes the reports’ authors, “in the United States, there are more legal cannabis workers than electrical engineers. There are more legal cannabis workers than EMTs and paramedics. There are more than twice as many legal cannabis workers as dentists.”
As a result, the time has arguably never been better to consider a career in the legal cannabis industry.
However, for many prospective workers, there may be a poor understanding of just how many different kinds of jobs are required to keep dispensaries, farms, distributors, etc. all humming. They know about farmers, yes, and possibly budtenders too — both amazing and utterly crucial pieces of the puzzle, no doubt — but do they know that those gigs are but two pieces of a far larger puzzle as well?
The easiest way to talk about careers in cannabis today may honestly be to try and think of any specialties that do not translate naturally to the weed business.
For example: those with experience in the fields of construction, plumbing, electrical wiring, security systems, and real estate are all in high-demand as many companies continue to expand their footprints and reinforce their operations. The same goes for those in roles necessary to any proper business plan: accountants, lawyers, receptionists, custodians, and sales and marketing specialists.
Naturally, there are some who hold the above positions but have opted to tailor their expertise to more specifically focus on cannabis.
Thus, a new class of cannabis-focused lawyers, cannabis-focused accountants etc. are now also emerging onto the scene, providing a blueprint for prospective hopefuls in those fields to quickly set themselves apart from the competition. The same goes for security and drivers (both delivery and transportation).
On the other hand, as a result of legalization, an entirely new crop of careers has also been created.
First up are the aforementioned farmers, who are undeniably a lifeblood of the whole enterprise. While being a cannabis cultivator is no easy career to choose, a fierce devotion to terroir, community, and a commitment to growing the best cannabis in the world makes cannabis farmers a revered and respected lynchpin of the industry.
Oh, and they are also employers!
Sure, much of the work is seasonal, but from trimmers to transportation, each cannabis farm is also providing jobs in addition to serving up tasty flower. Ditto for cannabis manufacturers, who require a whole different set of qualified staffers to create the drinks, dabs, balms, and more that we know and love.
From positions on assembly lines to quality-testing to ice hash processing experts, there’s a ton of folks finding their true calling in the world of cannabis manufacturing right now.
The same can be said for cannabis marketing efforts overall, where traditional marketing blockades continue to prevent legal brands from taking advantage of platforms like Facebook and prime-time television commercials. As a result, innovative solutions (and the sales smarties who can think them up) remain an extremely hot commodity.
In a slightly similar vein, those with big ideas for how the industry should evolve will find any number of positions in related non-profits, lobbying outfits, and with a wide array of lawmakers on the local, state, and national level all eyeing cannabis reform at present.
Of course, no survey of cannabis careers could possibly be complete without the job that truly links the flower to the customer: budtenders. While dispensaries are absolutely a team effort (one which also includes knowledgeable buyers and trusted security staff), it is budtenders who are often ultimately entrusted with the responsibility of getting the right thing into customers’ hands.
That doesn’t mean folks should be scared to apply though!
The beauty of being a budtender is that there’s no formal education required — just a willingness to learn and a certain degree of empathy. That latter part is especially important, given the customers you’ll meet as a budtender range from the newly 21-year-old excited to buy their first preroll to the terminally sick seeking some form of relief. And that could just be one ten-minute stretch of the day.
Combining a knack for retail sales, a willingness to stay up-to-date on all of the latest trends in cannabis, and superb active listening skills, budtending can be a majorly fulfilling profession for those who desire to help people in need while collecting a paycheck. As a bonus, you’ll also likely meet some awesome colleagues and score a nice discount while you’re at it.
Whatever you may choose, just remember: if the job you want in cannabis doesn’t exist, that’s probably just because you haven’t created it yet.