Near the end of March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to rage across the United States, states across the country deemed cannabis an essential business, allowing them to continue operating in whatever capacity was necessary—sales, production, and cultivation included. For an industry that was once entirely in the shadows and is still federally illegal, this acknowledgement and recognition was just as symbolically important as it was to companies’ bottom lines. It also meant that adults who consume cannabis for whatever reason, be it medically or recreationally or some combination thereof, now had unfettered access to a plant that for generations could only be found on the illicit market.
On 4/20, which has turned into a holiday of sorts for people who enjoy cannabis, top movers and shakers across the cannabis industry reflect on a year of being “essential.”
Narmin Jarrous, Chief Development Officer of Exclusive Brands
Operations Director and Co-founder at 40 Tons
“How is it that states and big businesses are able to pay their bills with the legal sales of cannabis, but people are being locked up for the same plant? Things must change and we should free the prisoners that are locked up over cannabis ASAP. 40 Tons Brand would like to see more, if not all, of the 40,000 prisoners still incarcerated over cannabis be released. I think 4/20 does see an increase in numbers overall, especially as it relates to the giving spirit. Since there are 40,000 plus prisoners still incarcerated over cannabis offenses, this is the day we often see more donations to these prisoners.”
Kyle Kazan, Co-founder, Chairman & CEO of Glass House Group
“One year after being deemed an essential service during COVID-19, consumers have voted, and cannabis is a major, societal movement that is here to stay