Connecting the Dots: why cannabis needs to go mainstream

cannabis mainstream

Cannabis is becoming more normalized across the country and is legal in some form in nearly every state. However, it feels as though the industry still exists in a bubble, posing many significant challenges with regard to acceptance. 

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The cannabis community is its own entity. Reaching mainstream is challenging for others to understand us, the plant, and its benefits. We host all these amazing events and it’s all people interested in cannabis. The problem is this is not removing the stigma with mainstream individuals. We only hear the negatives about cannabis, not the positives. I believe we need to change the perception of the plant and include more non-cannabis people so that the understanding and the beauty of the plans are actually discussed.

The stigma is so strong surrounding cannabis as medicine—we must change that. The propaganda from the last five decades has damaged the reputation of this plant and created a great deal of confusion. We must educate the uneducated on cannabis. We must speak to news outlets. We must involve politicians, law enforcement, educational facilities, PTA, and those who are buying into the lies and propaganda.

One of the problems is lawmakers who are regulating cannabis don’t understand the plant. They don’t get input from those who use it, especially for medical purposes. If you don’t understand it, how can you issue regulations surrounding it? It is not like any other commodity; it is not a pharmaceutical, and it isn’t just another consumer-packaged good. It is a life-saving medicine; for many, it improves the quality of life, and most importantly, it does not cause death or serious addiction issues. 

Having consumption lounges and educational seminars is so important. One of the things I’d like to do for new or inexperienced consumers is how to use cannabis. I share legal products. I explain the difference between the legacy and the legal markets. I explain the different methods of consumption as well as detail potential adverse effects, none of which include death.

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We must find a way to have our voices heard in mainstream media. The censorship on everything cannabis-related is so frustrating. The blocking, the removal of content, and the engagement of consumers on all social media platforms are incredibly frustrating. I had almost 1,000,000 accounts reached in 2021. In 2022, that number decreased by a third, and in 2023, it decreased by half. Now, in 2024, my engagement and my reach have plummeted. 

We must all use our voices to get the positive stories out there about the plant! We must challenge social media platforms that keep picking and choosing who gets to share what and fight back. We are so much stronger together. Please help me connect with the right mainstream media outlets to have the conversation heard.

*This article was submitted by a guest contributor to GreenState. The author is solely responsible for the content.

nikki lawley

Nikki Lawley is a patient advocate, speaker, and founder of Nikki and the Plant. She personally discovered cannabis as medicine after suffering a life-changing injury while working as a pediatric nurse. Nikki resides in Buffalo, NY.