The past 10 years have been good for cannabis consumers.
How does one truly define the last decade in cannabis hype?
Is it the wild strains that took over the world in waves? When the decade began, Cookies held court at the top, as the great Purples and OGs that captured the American connoisseur’s attention through the 2000s fell to the wayside for Cookies’ new “exotic” terpene profiles. Then, Cookies’ next of kin Gelato took over for a couple of years, leading up to the Zkittlez era in the middle of the decade. With the way the marketplace diversified following the launch of the legal cannabis market in California in 2018, we think we’ll continue to see strains that carry as much mystique as the winners of the 2010s.
Or is the decade of cannabis hype best described as a tale of surviving political challenges? Despite Barack Obama’s campaign trail promises before the New Hampshire primary in 2008 that he wasn’t going to go after providers in compliance with state law, providers like Richard Lee at Oaksterdam, the Berkeley Patients Group, Harborside, and so many others spent years in the courts defending their models originally intended to provide access to the sick. By the end of the 2010s, they ended up with a new president at odds with his now-fired Attorney General of the United States over the approach his Department of Justice took in enforcing cannabis laws.
Or should the focus be on how the industry blossomed into one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors this past decade? Seemingly every quarter, new estimates put a larger number next to how much the global pot industry will be worth at some point in the 2020s, with a bevy of data explaining the hypothesis.
Or maybe it’s defined by the communities of color that got hit the hardest by the War on Drugs’s racist enforcement of cannabis laws in places like New York, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Chicago who are now fighting for their fair shot in the industry?
It’s probably all of these things.
Let’s consider how hash has progressed in the last decade as a perfect representation of the industry as a whole. At the beginning of the 2010s, most cannabis concentrates were consumed through waxy lipid-filled dabs that smelled like a candle shop that sold wet towels. Those days are behind us. Now, we smoke terpene-loaded badders and diamonds so fat they wouldn’t have looked out of place on Elizabeth Taylor’s necklace at the Cleopatra premiere. The progress from what we were smoking in 2010 was fast after the first slabs of dewaxed shatter hit the world that year.
And this story of progress is mirrored with the development of cannabis flowers, edibles and every other type of cannabis product people enjoyed for kicks or used as medicine over the past decade. Things aren’t perfect, and THC limits certainly hit many edible folks in the wallet, but generally, the consumer is a lot better off today than they were in 2010. Laboratory testing for cannabis was two years old in 2010, and again still not perfect, but certainly has taken the level of safety up via the scrutiny flower could face.
Overall, the tale of the decade’s cannabis hype is one of enthusiasm and education, of being excited about where the game went for those that wanted to take part in the legal market, and of learning the lessons from each place that cannabis moved into the light.
Despite every state and nation that got involved thinking they had to reinvent the wheel when it comes to how they do legal marijuana, we’re trending upward. A good scenario for the next decade is the weed continues to get better, and it becomes easier for people not backed by millionaires to open cannabis businesses.
The best-case scenario is that there is nobody left in prison for marijuana by 2030, but our hope is that it will be much sooner.
featured in @cannabisnow