AMONG THE LARGER COLLECTION of often misspent words, “unity” and its derivatives might produce the greatest ironies. Most “unified school districts” are anything but, any brands advertising supposedly unifying powers do so even as they seek to separate themselves from competitors (and to separate customers from money), and so on. It’s not easy, after all. As Buddhism teaches: “Unity itself and the idea of unity are already two.” But I refuse to believe that unity is an un-attainable ideal, a light that cannot be touched, and for proof that unity is possible doubters need look no further than to M3’s inaugural cannabis industry event: Better Together.
A gathering of cannabis industry professionals, growers, budtenders, retailers, aficionados, influencers and more, the “lunch+learn” at Neighbor restaurant in Venice was convened to address shifts in the cannabis industry landscape.
Legislative and social changes have larger actors—such as pharmaceutical firms, alcohol and tobacco companies and various global lifestyle brands—poised to enter the cannabis marketplace, and if a solid industry framework does not exist when they arrive, they will create one of their own. Instead, M3 believes the rules should be set by those who’ve long toiled in the cannabis industry and who understand—and respect—every facet of the business, and that by joining forces those parties can build and safeguard the future for the greater cannabis community. It seems that quite a few people agree: Young, tech-savvy influencers, established cultivators, visionary financiers, personable retailers, curious media, the outwardly vibrant and the initially guarded all showed up to listen to M3’s panel of experts and to share their own thoughts and concerns.
Speaking with M3 associates in the days after the lunch, what struck us was the openness of everyone we met, their willingness to chat and to share thoughts. It was as if we were celebrating with old friends, such was the familiarity and camaraderie on display. Personally, seeing such a diverse collection of people so openly and enthusiastically coming together for a greater purpose was tremendously inspiring, but for the industry itself it might also be vital. While this was only the beginning of the conversation, everyone in principle agreed that when it comes to the future of the cannabis industry, we really are better off facing the coming challenges together, a wide array of skill sets, competencies and contacts all functioning for the complementary purposes of creating a thriving business environment in which people have access to the highest-quality medicinal cannabis and cannabis information. In this I see unity of the sort expressed by composer Felix Mendelssohn, who once said that “the essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.”
Inspired, and very happy to be part of a community working toward noble goals, I’m convinced that unity can exist and that it is indeed the answer. How lovely, then, that its essence is at the heart of the very industry it can save.