Cannabis has long been a “controversial” business both in the United States and around the world. For states that have legalized their recreational and medical programs, there are a number of elements that have led to either immediate success, or a steep learning curve, that the programs have gone through. Whether this was in the writing of the regulations, ensuring they took into account all parties thoughts/worries, or starting the vertical integration process that Nevada is going through, companies and lawmakers have adapted quickly, with one common goal: ensuring the public’s health. Of the steps in place, there is one element in particular that has not been widely discussed, and that is the idea of a standardized code of ethics that the entire cannabis community can agree to. While there are often rules within the regulations on how to advertise and label cannabis products, an actual code of ethics has not spread widely. Establishing a code of ethics could be a huge factor in the success of business, and more importantly, helping to foster the changing perspective of cannabis in the United States. Curious what these factors are? They’re not as harsh as you might think! Read below to learn about them:
1. Creating a stronger sense of community and loyalty
For those currently in the industry, and or trying to break into it, you know the importance of having a strong community of support. Agreeing to a set of standards for all cannabis businesses would expand the sense of community across a broader population. A solid ethical foundation furthers the purpose of protecting the general public’s health and extends the loyalty existing customers feel. In turn, if presented correctly, a code of ethics can build confidence and acceptance from the public in general, not just consumers or those in the business.
2. “Leading by example” to foster attitude changes
Overcoming the existing attitudes that resist the legalization of cannabis is an important step for the industry, and one that would open many doors for progress (easier banking anyone?). One of the truest ways to make this possible is for states and individual companies to lead by example, showing that the cannabis industry is a responsible, respectable and reliable investment and business offering. The best way to change people’s views, is to show, in a gentle and open way, what integrity in this business really looks like. Living by a strong universal code of ethics for the cannabis industry would be a great way to facilitate this.
3. Fostering continued cross-state relationships
Just as it is important to have community within your own state, it is equally beneficial to have cross-state communities and relationships, particularly for newly legalized states. This gives an opportunity to learn from others, help states that are just starting, and share business knowledge. If the community succeeds, individual businesses succeed. Having a code of ethics that all states agree upon, would lay the foundation for building relationships and creating opportunities across state lines.
While having a universally adopted code of ethics might sound far reaching, the great news is some states are already taking steps to make this possible. A good example is the Ohio Cannabis Committee who has rcently released their code of ethics. As you can see, the code of ethics does not need to be a 100-page document. It can be a set of 10-20 rules that everyone can agree to as a foundation for their businesses. So, what are the next steps we, as individuals, can take? Make your voice heard, and start by creating your own code of ethics, or expanding the ones you currently have in place.