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ForewordStranglehold — A force or influence that chokes or suppresses freedom of movement or expressionThe decision to theme this edition of Evolved “RISE” was inspired by the many people and businesses in the industry that, despite the ever-present force against it, it is RISING.Some would say the enemy is BIG Pharma and others the law. I believe it is an age-old energy of good against evil. The very notion that so many good things have been thwarted by evil and greed is at play in the Cannabis Industry.
There are healers, dealers and gangsters that govern the dialogue, these include social media platforms that have recently shut down groups vital to educating the consumer (every bit of education is important). One group particularly was shut down with 24000 followers that took particular care in making sure their group was well governed.
This is the fight everyone in the industry faces, one day a group gets shut down and the next day a legal Cannabis Farm gets valued at R15 million and is very good local news for the industry. As a media owner trying to educate an industry and remain in the Cannabis, Wellness and Lifestyle space, it is exceedingly difficult to publish, without the ever looming threat of some legal comeback from a body of law or governance, for no valid reason. None the less like everyone else, Evolved is in the fight and the fight is evolving.
In the centre of the dichotomy lies the very freedom that everyone has become accustomed to operating in, this centre is where the rules are what they are - until the status quo changes, and the next news headline reads: we can open the dialogue a little more. It is in this centre too, that a very large part of the industry does not respect, and plays outside of the legal parameters. It is these stakeholders that I believe give the industry a bad name. There is little room for a bad name in an already stigmatised industry, particularly from entities that care little for the impact they leave on the community and society as a whole.
I want to honour the brands and thought leaders that have come forth and RISEN in a steadfast manner- being ever diligent and steadfast despite the limits placed on them. As Trenton from Cheeba likes to quote “the RISING tide lifts all boats”. It is in this spirit that anybody wanting to free an industry and enjoy the future commerce it promises, should at least have a spirit of ethics that supports that end and is in synch with the rest of the role players.