Yes, the cannabis boom has happened. But is it too late to still make an impact on the business practices in the cannabis market as the laws slowly catch up? The positive thinker in me says “It’s never too late!” And while it is true that you can always use your dollars to take a stance, the marijuana industry is still new enough that it can make a BIG difference who and what you choose to support. Using common knowledge of other industries, we as consumers can ensure the cannabis industry does better. Here are 4 simple ways to do your part in ensuring this market becomes one that we are proud to be involved in.

Go local first! Some smaller towns are unfortunate in being limited where they can legally procure cannabis. In my own hometown, our own dispensary was voted out of existence, and I easily went back to buying from local growers. I felt good supporting organic, natural, home grows like the one my ex boyfriend’s grandmother ran. If you have local farms and shops in your area, help the town where you live thrive economically, and you’ll see the returns.

Because cannabis as a legal industry is new, we can pave the way for minorities and women to do well. While marijuana has wrongly imprisoned an incredibly disproportionate amount of too many black and hispanic people for holding weed, now is the time to rectify those mistakes. While in no way making up for lost time of imprisonment, we can see the businesses of groups who have been long abused do well. For women to be shut out as major players in a market equally important to all sexes is also unacceptable and can be curbed by you, the consumer.

Do your research! If you have a favorite product, flower, dispensary, glassblower, etc., make sure you know who is behind it. If the grower, artist, or owner of the product is someone who you know you wouldn’t want to support, then stop! How many people complain about the practices of massive retailers like Amazon and WalMart and refuse to vote with their dollars elsewhere? I know personally know many. When we have as many options as we do, we should be aware of where our money goes when we support a business. Make sure that your “artisanal” greenery isn’t just some mega millionaire’s side project.

Don’t just vote with your dollars, actually vote! When a cannabis issue is presented on your local, state or federal ballots, get educated and make the right decision. Some propositions can be trickilly worded (as I’m sure many of us felt during this year’s midterms), so yes, a little effort might be needed. If you’re lucky, you will get to see a clear path to supporting legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, and can cast your vote confidently. If you have the time to take your support a step further, involve yourself in grassroots campaigns to espouse the benefits to your community of legalization.

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