Do you remember when the country’s first recreational cannabis sales began in Colorado in January 2014? As a Californian, I remember feeling envious and a little frustrated. While a win for cannabis anywhere is a win for us all, deep down, there was a wave of disappointment that crept up inside of me. And although the feeling subsided almost as quickly as it came, it was hard to believe that California had yet to allow adult-use of cannabis. We set the precedent as the first state to legalize medical cannabis—where had we gone wrong?
Now, four years later, our state has finally caught up with several others, as the licensing process for our state-approved recreational cannabis businesses has officially begun. It was a monumental milestone in November 2016, when voters decided to finally permit adult-use in the state. And since then, CULTURE has participated and reported on every step of the journey toward implementing this new legislation into reality. Although there is still time before we see dispensaries popping up in every city that has chosen to allow recreational cannabis sales, this month is still a very exciting time for our community.
California is consistently ranked as one of the world’s largest economies. Not only are we responsible for growing much of the nation’s agricultural goods, but we also come with the very significant super power that is Silicon Valley. From there, add in that our notoriously liberal state is home to the oldest medical cannabis program in the nation, and we look forward to creating the nation’s largest legalized cannabis marketplace that the entire world will be watching.
For many adults, legalized recreational cannabis was beyond their wildest dreams growing up. Now, they can now walk into a cannabis store and buy whatever their hearts desire.
At CULTURE, we are excited to witness and partake in the recreational cannabis industry that is just beginning in our great state. We started this publication in California, and today we dedicate three separate editions of our magazine to markets here. We can’t express the gratitude we feel to be a part of this significant moment in our state’s history.
While there is much to be celebrated with the start of recreational cannabis licensing, this issue of CULTURE pays homage to cannabis as not only a recreational substance, but as a wellness tool. After all, this great plant has a long history of promoting and providing a healthier, more enjoyable lifestyle for those of us who choose to incorporate it into their daily lives. Congratulations to The Golden State for making it easier for adults to explore how much cannabis can add to a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle. Here’s to a year brimming with wellness and growth.
January gives us hope of a new beginning; it marks our chance to wipe the slate clean and move forward. For those looking to improve their overall health and wellness this year, there is good news for you—cannabis can help. So, with all the miraculous benefits cannabis provides, we’ve decided to focus this issue of CULTURE to cannabis, health and wellness.
On Dec. 6, 2018, adult recreational cannabis consumption and possession became legal in Michigan. In the months since, we have seen signs of a welcome shift in the attitude of our state’s employers, even if it is not reflected in their formal policies. Here is a brief look at the history, and future, of workforce policies in Michigan as it relates to recreational cannabis consumption.
It is important to note that, legally speaking, virtually nothing has changed for employee rights. The use of cannabis, even by registered patients, enjoys no constitutional protection. Employers are free to lawfully discriminate in employment decisions against any person who consumes cannabis, and nothing in any of Michigan’s cannabis laws (the 2008 Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, the 2016 Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, or the 2018 Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act) does anything to increase protections in employment.
So, knowing that any business can not only fire, but can refuse to hire or promote, any employee merely because they consume cannabis on their own time, employers need to ask whether a zero tolerance policy is really the right policy anymore. Do Michigan companies really want to exclude that much of the workforce from their potential employment pool? Turns out, the answer is rapidly becoming “No.”
In its recent “Drug Testing and Marihuana Legalization Study,” The American Society of Employers reports that even though most employers are not changing their written workplace policies relating to drug use, 46 percent of employers responding to the survey indicated that they will no longer test for cannabis, and an additional 32 percent of employers will ignore a positive test for cannabis. In other words, a majority of employers will no longer make employment decisions based on a person’s private cannabis use. This is a significant and common-sense step in the right direction for Michigan businesses who understand that lawful cannabis use that does not impact a person’s employment should not affect a person’s employability. At last, it appears that Michigan companies are starting to view cannabis as the medicine and lawful recreational drug it is, and not the stereotype villain of the “War on Drugs.”
In addition to this positive and, hopefully, continuing trend in employer attitudes toward legal cannabis and cannabis consumers, those who were convicted of cannabis-related felonies can no longer be asked to disclose their convictions as part of pre-employment screening, thanks to former Gov. Richard Dale Snyder’s “ban the box” executive order. Before this year, employers could, and for the most part did, require felony disclosures on applications, meaning that Michigan residents who were convicted of felonies for their cannabis-related conduct during the arguably very confusing last decade were banned from gainful employment. Now, most employers cannot ask. In the kind of ironic twist that could only exist in Michigan, drug felons cannot work for any state-licensed cannabis business. If you have any other felony, you can work in the cannabis industry in Michigan. But if you have a cannabis-related felony, you can’t. Seriously.
“At last, it appears that Michigan companies are starting to view cannabis as the medicine and lawful recreational drug it is . . . ”
Of course, there will always be a need to determine if somebody is impaired while at work, and there will always be those jobs—bus driver, crane operator, educator, and the like—that require a zero tolerance policy and accurate testing. For these occupations, employers will have to move beyond traditional tests of the past and look to new and more accurate testing. The Michigan State Police recently wrapped up a year-long trial of saliva tests for roadside testing to include not just cannabis but more dangerous and illicit drugs like heroin. It is presumed that when these saliva tests are perfected, that their applications will transfer easily to the workplace.
In the meantime, a decade after the Medical Marihuana Act, Michigan is finally seeing cannabis find its sensible place in workplace drug policies.
Lead by Example
This just in! Mainstream wellness and fitness publications have confirmed it—cannabis will be one of the hottest health trends in 2019.
While we rejoice as the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) continue to make headlines and bring benefits to the masses, it’s important to remember that whole plant cannabis and hemp have also been used for wellness purposes for many, many years before the CBD trend took over. It should come as no surprise that every year CULTURE dedicates its January issue to focusing on health- and wellness-focused topics that are relevant to the cannabis-loving lifestyle.
Reversing the stigma that cannabis consumers are lazy, CULTURE is joined by professional athletes, wellness experts and everyday people who are dedicated to living healthy and active lifestyles with cannabis and hemp. In this special Health and Wellness issue, our cover interview with champion boxer Ava Knight demonstrates just how intertwined wellness, cannabis and professional athletics really are.
While our community is always eager to learn more about the many benefits of the most mainstream cannabinoids, CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CULTURE is looking into the endless wellness possibilities that are held by lesser known cannabinoids that are steadily gaining in popularity. You will also find within these pages an inspirational story about a professional cannabis and hemp chef, who is able to overcome her own dietary restrictions utilizing cannabis. It doesn’t matter what has led you to picking up this issue, rest assured that you’re now a step closer to embracing wellness through cannabis.
In honor of the new year, challenge yourself to focus on bettering your wellness as a resolution—You can start training for a 5K, look into cooking with fresh ingredients at home versus eating fast food, or choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator the next time you’re given the option.
Be an example of balance and wellness to others, and make choices that help demonstrate that hemp and cannabis are complementary to a healthy lifestyle.
‘Tis the Season
Cheerful and festive cards arriving in the mail, shopping for the hottest deals, warm cinnamon rolls in the morning and spiked eggnog in the evening—there are endless signs that the holiday season is upon us.
When it comes to holiday shopping, the experience wouldn’t be complete without small bells ringing outside of grocery stores as volunteers accept donations for mainstream charities. As we get ready to wrap up the year, there is also no denying cannabis culture’s focus on giving back to the communities we live in. While we support the sentiment, altruism shouldn’t be limited to the holiday season alone.
Year-round, our friends and neighbors are facing economical hardships, from not being able to feed their families to unemployment, low incomes and homelessness. Don’t limit your charitable actions to just the month of December—give back through donations and volunteer work year-round. And if you’d like to witness inspiring examples of how to act every day and month of the year, you need not look further than the cannabis industry.
Countless dispensaries, cannabis companies and entrepreneurs have adopted a culture of altruism into the identity and mission of their brands. While we can assume the desire to do this stems from compassion and dedication to helping others, it’s clear that these charitable actions also help dismantle the negative stigma that cannabis companies often face in mainstream society. It’s essential that as consumers we continue to support companies in the cannabis industry that elevate our identity and work to improve their surrounding communities.
Be inspired and find ways to support those in the industry who are so dedicated to giving back to their communities throughout the year. In this issue of CULTURE, you can rest assured that you’ll find everything you need to elevate your holiday celebrations. From our annual Holiday Gift Guide to infused and shareable dessert recipes, we’ve packed these pages with loads of holiday cheer.
Let’s continue to demonstrate through our actions the world in which we hope to live in. Happy holidays from the CULTURE family to you and yours.
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