Cannabis brands should honor the past to avoid the perils of today’s commercialization.
There is a scene in the movie Moscow on the Hudson starring Robin Williams that reminds me of my first experience in a cannabis retail store. In the movie, Williams plays a character who is new to New York, having emigrated from Russia during the communist reign. Used to seeing only one brand option for food, he is rendered speechless looking at the grocery store shelves, awash in options shiny with branding.
For those of us who grew up during cannabis prohibition, this is an experience we know well. I still remember the first time I visited a medical dispensary. It was Oakland, CA, in 2002. As someone who had been consuming cannabis since the 1990s, this visit to an actual cannabis store was one I will never forget. I walked up to an actual counter and before me were a variety of flowers, edibles and other products in their pre-regulatory glory. There were “Reefer’s Peanut Butter Cups” from a company called Tainted, and flower was labeled by the strain. I knew then that this was a whole new world — one that was titillating yet vulnerable