JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. (420CanNews) — The cannabis community in the United States is experiencing rapid growth, surpassing the intensity of a dorm room hotboxed to the point of a contact high. From those close quarters where strong bonds were formed amidst a cloud of smoke to the emerging national networks that are dismantling barriers between states, the community has flourished through ‘joint’ efforts.
Legal weed is sweeping the nation quicker than a dealer after receiving the text, “You around?” With medical marijuana legal in 36 states and recreational bud legal in 19, Ganja’s gone mainstream. These days, smoking grass is less taboo than smuggling actual grass across state lines (still very illegal in some states, though).
People from all walks of life are embracing Mary Jane, taking part in the puff-puff-pass. Grandmas, teachers, and even squares in business suits vape vaporizers on lunch breaks. The origins of cannabis has grown from an underground movement into a diverse culture with tokers of all types.
What is the Population of Cannabis Users?
The cannabis community has diverse ages, genders, and backgrounds. Over 55 million American adults currently use marijuana. That’s nearly 17% of the adult population lighting up. Additionally, around 45% of Americans have tried cannabis at least once.
While the stereotypical stoner is often portrayed as a young slacker, the cannabis community encompasses people from all walks of life. Surprisingly, baby boomers are the fastest-growing demographic of marijuana users. With all the aches and pains of aging, the boomer generation’s new fondness for cannabis seems understandable. After a lifetime of drinking canned prune juice and watching Matlock reruns, relaxation with some giggle bush doesn’t sound half bad. With those aged 50-64 making up over 20% of cannabis consumers, marijuana isn’t just for teenagers anymore.
The cannabis community also includes a rising number of women. Historically, men used marijuana at higher rates than women. But that gender gap is closing. Women now represent roughly 35-40% of cannabis users nationwide. From soccer moms to nurses, teachers, and businesswomen, gals of all types are firing up doobies and buying buds. Who says weed is just for teenage burnouts in their parents’ basement?
As the demographics of cannabis consumers evolve, so do the massive cultivation operations fueling demand.
Who is the Largest Cannabis Grower in the United States?
Behind every joint, blunt, and brownie is a cannabis grow operation. But who’s running the show regarding large-scale marijuana cultivation in America? Turns out, it’s a company called Ultra Health based in New Mexico. With over 9 million square feet of cannabis cultivation space, Ultra Health is the nation’s largest weed grower.
Other major players include Copperstate Farms, Los Suenos Farms, Village Farms, and Canna Hub. These commercial cannabis growers each operate facilities covering over 1 million square feet. Their super-sized operations allow them to harvest hundreds of thousands of pounds of marijuana annually.
However, the cannabis community encompasses more than just big business. Thousands of small “craft cannabis” farmers are sprouting up nationwide. These boutique bud growers provide consumers with high-quality, small-batch marijuana products.
While large-scale cultivation fuels the growth of the cannabis industry, this blossoming business affects communities small and large across the nation.
How Does Cannabis Affect the Community?
The growth of the community extends beyond just consumers and businesses. Entire towns and neighborhoods are impacted as marijuana becomes legal.
In states like Colorado, California, and Oregon, the emergence of recreational cannabis has transformed local economies. Businesses like dispensaries, cultivation facilities, and weed tourism companies create jobs and generate tax revenue.
On the medical side, a Capital cannabis community dispensary improves access for patients in need, with medical cannabis community outreach providing education on the therapeutic uses of marijuana.
Cannabis legalization has delivered economic opportunities while presenting new challenges for local communities. Neighborhoods must balance welcoming the cannabis industry and managing its impact. But with thoughtful regulations, cannabis and communities can thrive together. This “thoughtful” approach inevitably leads to a growing call for social equity within the emerging cannabis industry.
What is Cannabis Social Equity?
While the cannabis community blooms, social inequities from the War on Drugs linger. Marginalized groups faced disproportionate arrests and incarceration for marijuana under prohibition. Now, advocates are calling for social equity within the emerging cannabis industry.
Cannabis social equity programs aim to make the marijuana business more inclusive. It provides resources and opportunities to minority communities affected by the criminalization of weed. This includes expungement of prior cannabis convictions, workforce development, and assistance accessing marijuana business licenses.
Several states and cities have implemented cannabis social equity initiatives. In places like Los Angeles, Portland, and Massachusetts, a portion of marijuana tax revenue funds these reparative efforts. The goal is to allow those most harmed by the War on Drugs to participate in the new cannabis economy.
The cannabis community continues evolving as legal weed takes hold. While stereotypes persist, marijuana users represent diverse ages, genders, and interests. Legalization has allowed massive commercial growth to thrive. But small “craft cannabis” farmers are sharing in the success. And social equity programs are beginning to address past injustices. America’s cannabis culture still has room to grow, but the future looks bright and hazy.
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— Story Filed By 420CanNews Staff
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