Since Washington state legalized the recreational sale of marijuana, gross sales are pushing the 2 billion dollar mark with the cannabis excise taxes collected approaching half a billion dollars – a staggering figure that excludes sales tax collected. More importantly, recent statistical data shows that violent crime is down, and underage use of cannabis has declined. Notwithstanding the doom saying of marijuana detractors and alarmists, the sky has not fallen, and the Washington Cannabis Industry has emerged as a leader in the country, if not the world.
All that being said the stigma surrounding our industry still exists. As stakeholders in the cannabis industry, working to change this stigma is a battle we fight daily. As industry leaders, each of us is obligated to do what we can to change the conversations and perceptions of cannabis to better reflect the realities of our marketplace. We can do this proactively by volunteering in our communities, participating in local governance and commerce organizations, and by setting the record straight when misinformation is being spread.
Recently Liz Uihlein president and CEO of Uline, posted an opinion piece on Uline’s online newsletter that perpetuates many of the myths surrounding cannabis. Ms. Uihlein states,
“Marijuana – Have the politicians gone mad? Marijuana stays in your system for at least 5 days. This can affect Uline warehouse employees who go up 30 feet in the air to pick products off the shelves. It affects your children or grandchildren, who may be busy telling you it’s safer than alcohol. It’s bad news. It remains a gateway drug.”
Ms. Uihlein has a right to state her opinions in a company newsletter, it is her company. Moreover, she is free to have a drug free workplace. I believe that we can all agree that the use of cannabis, or alcohol, or even prescription opiates, while at work is reasonably discouraged. What we should take issue with, however, are the three statements she makes:
“Marijuana stays in your system for at least 5 days.” While the metabolites of cannabis can stay in your system for several days, it only remains psychoactive for a period of hours. Similarly, the metabolites of alcohol stay in your system for days, and well past the point where alcohol is still impairing the user. Her statement conflates the presence of cannabis in one’s system with impairment and is both misleading and uninformed.
“It affects your children and grandchildren, who may be busy telling you it’s safer than alcohol.” Apparently the “affect” that is causing Ms. Uihlein concern is that our children and grandchildren are of the opinion that cannabis is safer than alcohol. If the vocalized opinions of our youth are a byproduct of legalization, we should all be grateful for the opportunuty to have open and honest discussions about both alcohol and cannabis with our kids and grandkids.
“It’s bad news. It remains a gateway drug.” Really? Ms. Uihlein must be unaware that even D.A.R.E. has walked back this old chestnut, and no longer lists marijuana as a “gateway” drug. By repeating this untruth, Ms. Uihlein is doing her part to perpetuate the myth that cannabis is the first stop on a long road to ruin. This is exactly the sort of falsehood, which flies in the face of research, and continues to undermine our industry.
Again, it is Ms. Uihline’s right to opine on whatever she wants on her company website. It is also our right as stakeholders to do business with those entities who support our industry, and to not do business with those entities who are actively working to undermine it. What Ms. Uihline fails to mention in her opinion piece, is that a significant portion of the cannabis industry relies upon Uline for their packaging and business consumable needs. Retailers, producers, and processors use Uline every day, it plays a large role in our industry.
That being said, there are always other options in a free market, and The Evergreen Market will be taking its business elsewhere. Specifically to West Coast Paper Solutions, who are local, quick and price competitive. Moreover, we will be asking our vendor partners to likewise find more supportive partners for their business needs. Perpetuating myths, half truths, and outright lies does a disservice to the hard work of lawmakers, business owners, and consumers. As an industry, we are obligated and duty bound to move the needle away from the misinformation and harmful rhetoric spouted on Uline’s website. We are committed to this task, and will do so in lockstep with other vendors and partners who share our vision that the use of cannabis can be a normal part of an adult life.
Co-Founder, The Evergreen Market
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