420 may have started with five high school kids meeting at 4:20pm to go on a smoke & search. However, there is much more to cannabis than just marijuana and getting high! Our mission is to overcome the "Cheech and Chong" mentality and learn about the wonderful components of cannabis because it is no laughing matter. Ha! We are dedicated to sharing our story, challenging the stigma, and reframing our mindset to be open to the possibilities that this promising plant has to offer.
Cannabis, the mother plant of hemp and marijuana, has picked up a negative connotation over the past century. In fact, there is a book called "Brave New Weed" written by Joe Dulce that goes over the history of the stigma in detail. If you begin to explore this topic and dive deeper, you may find a myriad of interesting information. Of course, you are sure to find taboo articles that might push your comfort levels, but you can also find reputable research papers.
Now, how does this holiday tie into Lake Country Growers and hemp? Well, one of the reasons we started our business was to be frontiers in the cannabis industry. Not only does growing hemp help the environment through carbon sequestration, but the flowers from this plant offer lifechanging impacts for many kinds of people. Although research has been limited, they are beginning to learn more about how cannabis (and its many different cannabinoids) can help those who are suffering from chronic pain, cancer, anorexia, diabetes, and many other ailments. Once we had that knowledge, it would have been a disservice for us to not get involved and share this plant with others who were looking for natural alternatives.
So here we are in 2018, with the passing of the Farm Bill, ready to get started. We were fueled by excitement and the desire to help others. Yet, we quickly realized that we were going to encounter many obstacles along the way. Even though hemp was completely legal, we faced a great amount of scrutiny simply because we were a cannabis company. The industry was booming but all the key components to business building were restricted. The big institutions still had the perception that hemp was controversial and would not do business with us.
There were (and still are) a lot of regulatory issues that made the commerce of hemp-derived products extremely difficult. These hurdles ranged from not being able to secure business loans, finding a website host, getting insurance, and finding a bank. We pay higher fees for payment processing and are not able to do paid advertisements on social. It has taken nearly three years for the policies to start "catching up" with the legalities but, honestly, we are still not able to do business like other mainstream small business owners.
In addition to those entrepreneurial challenges, hemp farming is a beast of its own. It is done in a "pioneer" horticultural method like growing flowers for wedding bouquets. It is labor intensive and there is a lack of machinery and tools to get the job done efficiently. Unlike traditional crops, like corn and soybeans, hemp crops require attention and care to bring a high-quality product to the market.
Of course, every industry has its pros and cons but the biggest "project" that we have taken on is educating the public. We believe wholeheartedly in power of the plants we grow and the products we make from them. From firsthand experience and hearing from our customers, we know that cannabis has healing powers that are beyond our understanding at this moment. An anonymous source shared with us that, after prescription drugs failed her, she is finally finding relief from her cancer diagnosis. After a two-year journey, she is now able to function normally thanks to a 2:1 CBD to THC ratio.
This is why we do what we do! Cannabis is changing lives and giving hope where it could not be found before, but we must overcome the stigma. We encourage you to keep an open mind today and onward as more research is done and laws change. With legality comes the freedom and ability to do more research, keep learning, and move forward towards better days for all.