Contributor: William Kramer
Ah, the cannabis industry. It is pretty impressive, isn’t it? I mean, think about it. In every state that’s either allowed medicinal and/or recreational use, they have seen a massive boom in funding for all sorts of things. To say it’s a major “cash cow” wouldn’t even come close to doing it justice. With all this money out there for the taking, a number of different folks have decided to drop everything else in their lives and focus on the growing marijuana industry that, for lack of a better term, shows no signs of slowing down.
In fact, with more and more territories in this great nation of ours finally realizing the countless benefits that legalization comes along with, I doubt anything will ever be able to stand in the way. Considering we lived in a prohibition era of sorts, seeing this sort of skyrocket to success is equal parts fascinating and enjoyable to witness.
Of course, there is going to be a bunch of growers, farms, and alike that will go about the legally-approved way of continuing their newly approved businesses. That is pretty much a given. But, much like the alcohol industry, a plethora of celebrities have chosen to lend their name, fame, and likeness to a number of different cannabis products and companies. All of whom seem to have their own reason for doing so.
Obviously, with the amount of wealth that is bound to be had in the cannabis industry, there is a handful of celebs who see this as another form of exorbitant supplemental income. Countless rappers and B-list celebrities have leapt at the chance to get their pockets fattened by marijuana. These ventures don’t often pan out into global success. Far from it, to be completely honest. Sure, they may hit on a quick pay day, but their longevity in the cannabis game is pretty much non-existent from the start.
Why, you ask? Easy. They don’t possess the passion. It is really as simple as that.
Musicians and actors who enjoy the calming effects of marijuana from time to time, are ecstatic when a company comes out with a strain or vape named after them in one way or another. But the fact that they lack that inherent drive and devotion in the process (other than their name and face slapped on the packaging) comes across to enthusiasts in ways that they didn’t anticipate.
Yeah, I’m not going to lie, it’s fun to pick up a strain named after one of my favorite reality show contestants or failed sitcom stars – once – but it is so gimmicky, that it rarely (if ever) results in repeat business or positive word-of-mouth.
But that’s not always the case with high-profile endorsements. For example, celebs who do have an unspoken love for all things cannabis can often be found in retired athletes. Most of them coming from high-impact sports that have left their bodies (and minds) battered and bruised beyond belief. In short, they search out relief for their ongoing ailments, and have found that cannabis, and its varying mediums, are the best way to go. Especially in the face of the growing opioid epidemic that has claimed more than its fair share of former athletes.
Ex-athletes like Rob Gronkowski and Mike Tyson are picture-perfect examples of how former superstars can truly win over a cannabis-toking audience. Both of these massive humans felt (and dealt with) their fair share of punishment during their careers, and needless to say, the damage is still very much with them. That is why they have worked with companies in a more hands-on capacity, to create and distribute more therapeutic cannabis products that actually do a whole lot more than furthering their own brand awareness.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
As great as those endorsements are, they pale in comparison to top-notch celebrities who actually use their stardom to further the cannabis industry and research, as a whole. For example, beloved comedic actor, Seth Rogen, has worked tirelessly to help wrongfully convicted inmates, currently serving sentences for marijuana-related crimes in states where it’s legalized, to find the much-needed legal help they deserve. He has even been a part of events that help council and train folks who need help expunging similar charges from their permanent records. All of which have prevented them from going to school, getting jobs, and even renting places to live.
As saintly as that is of Rogen to devote his time in such a positive manner, he still falls short of another celebrity who is choosing to use his heart-breaking disease to help push powerful pieces of cannabis research legislation though our often stubborn and rigid government.
That’s right, people. Michael J. Fox, and his Michael J. Fox Foundation, have been more than adamant about how the government needs to speed things up when it comes to researching just how marijuana can help those who are also suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Recently, on the official website for the foundation (also known as MJFF), they posted a lengthy statement, directed to the government, in regards to the need for increased research and decriminalization of marijuana.
Specifically, the statement reads, “The MJFF supports increased access to cannabis for medical research. Congress has begun to recognize this need, and there are several bills in the U.S. House and Senate designed to remove barriers that impede safe and legal access to cannabis by medical researchers. The MJFF public policy team is tracking these bills and working to educate members of Congress and their staff on their importance to the Parkinson’s community.”
To get even more specific, the foundation named after the Back to the Future star is in favor of pushing the following bills through: Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act, Medical Cannabis Research Act, and the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act. All of which deal with their own specific ways that they plan on increasing research (and knowledge) of how beneficial cannabis can be – especially for those dealing with Parkinson’s disease.
The senior vice president of public policy at the foundation, Ted Thompson, was more than clear with his words when asked to comment on the dire need to pass these bills.
When broached with the question as to what good could really come from this, he said that it, “…is one way in which Congress can help scientific researchers determine what the benefits of medical cannabis might be for Parkinson’s disease.” Adding, “Our role on the public policy team is to work with Congress and the administration to ensure there is access and funding for research and care initiatives that can benefit people living with Parkinson’s and, right now, that includes access to medical cannabis for research.”
This wholesome, steadfast, and earnest approach is just what we need – especially now. Congress, and the other powers that be, have dragged their feet on this topic for far too long. With every moment wasted, we lose the chance to help out somebody who could have lived an entirely better life by simply knowing more about how cannabis can help them, and their disease.
Things like this seem like a “no-brainer” to you and I, but sometimes it takes the star power of somebody like Michael J. Fox to truly drive the point home. Hopefully, it works this time.