by Rick Thompson/originally appeared in The Rolling Paper January 2021
Sorry to disappoint, but this is not some super-villain reveal column and there are no spoilers for the new Wonder Woman movie. Charon is the mythological Uber for the planes of Hell, and Baby New Year is a marketing ploy we’ve adopted as a cultural pillar.
In essence, the figure which most embodies the innocence and optimism we cling to during the transition from the old year into the new, is actually the dessicated skeleton of a fallen hero who is obligated to haul our broken people out of a decidedly hellish 2020, who then dumps us into what is supposedly going to be a less hellish 2021.
Let’s talk less hellish for a moment. The Donald will be gone, but the problems remain. The proposal for federal involvement in the cannabis industry includes a federal tax, control of who is allowed to own businesses, and more. We might get banking reform and we might not. The NIH proposal to expand the number of cannabis growing facilities providing stock for scientific experiments is written to exclude anyone licensed in a state to grow cannabis- which describes all the people with experience at growing cannabis. That should be fun.
Two cannabis corporate giants are squaring off in a legal battle that could shake the processing world. Questions about who owns the rights to the CO2 extraction process used by extractors all across the world will be decided in a courtroom in 2021. Also to be decided: what penalties can be assessed upon those who practiced the patented methodology before they knew it was patented. The regulated market could be rocked by a bad judgement.
Michigan’s regulated marketplace is likely to see some bumpy times, too as a proposal to merge the MMFLA and MRTMA business programs grows into a regulatory monster involving taxes, the tribes, new definitions and old enemies lining up to make mad profit on the industry. Trying to make things better almost always ends up making some other things worse, when the Michigan legislature is involved. The road to hell is paved…
2021 is going to be the year some cannabis companies fail, and we have to let them do it. No legislative fixes to save an industry leader; no last-second call to the MRA and a new remediation process magically comes into play; no boosted plant count allowances for cultivators; no attacks on the unregulated market, no efforts to force municipalities to play ball, no blame game and no favors. Bad businesses need to fail, that’s how a free market works. Their people will be re-employed and their businesses will re-open under new ownership. LET THEM GO.
But 2021 will be the year of the cannabis consumer. Skyrocketing cannabis supply will lead to lower retail prices in the regulated market. The unregulated market will continue to churn along as it always has. More stores will open. Restrictions on gatherings will ease. The planet’s hip nations are expanding their cannabis businesses and getting into international trade. Job opportunities and business possibilities will continue to rise. Hopefully, common courtesy and grace will return to fashionable status and we can be human to each other again.
But it’s going to be tough. The virus isn’t done torturing us yet. Our socio-economic and political ideological differences are not done torturing us yet. Our normally boozy, bright and cheery New Year’s celebrations will feel like a cold ride in a leaky boat, led by a smelly man who makes you pay in advance for his services, headed for the shore of the unknown.
Well, at least we made it out alive.