[EXCLUSIVE] The Next “Big Thing” in Cannabis is Already Here

A look at Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and NFTs

Mar 10, 2022 at 11:47 AM
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    After the rollercoaster ride that kicked off 2022 in the markets, it's time to spend some energy understanding what's going on the cannabis stock sector of the market. With federal legalization continuing to be teased, as well as state-by-state legalization chugging along, what is next for the cannabis industry?

    Today we sat down with Melanie Davis, COO & Director of Managed Service of The People's Ecosystem. Davis has decades of experience in the cannabis industry with extraordinary expertise in partnering, building, and growing businesses in the cannabis space. The People's Ecosystem is an organization focused on providing cannabis education, services and products while elevating resources and capital for minority canna-business owners. 

    Schaeffers: What major opportunities do you see in the cannabis industry?

    This is a critical moment for companies to expand and diversify their portfolio and internal composition by investing in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and women cannabis businesses that are currently showing more substantial gains from the start, by comparison.
    Let me preface this by saying that it is not savvy to invest in companies tokenizing BIPOC and women cannabis license holders. It's the industry's 'dirty not-so-secret secret', but the consumer is hyper-aware. The consumer sees this and chooses the legacy operator in these instances.

    Schaeffer's: What major obstacles do you see in the cannabis industry?

    Analysts are suggesting that the cannabis market is pointing towards muted industry growth, so that could be one obstacle. This may be because their speculation is based on overcapitalized multistate operators (MSOs) that may not have a diverse ecosystem or a genuine connection to cannabis culture and its people. Many of the same MSOs are following strict CPG models attempting to desensitize consumers to subpar cannabis products forcing them back to the legacy market where the cannabis products are far superior in potency, terpene profile, and with the added benefit of no tax.
    Most can reasonably suspect that there will be a marginal expansion in the cannabis industry only because we have some of the largest MSOs screaming “Enforcement” towards legacy cannabis operators. The solution is really in the hands of the state for now, and the federal government later. 
    The solution the state should be offering is to reduce taxes and barriers to entering the regulated cannabis industry and treat it as genuine economic development. In my opinion, this is our biggest obstacle. It’s, again, the repurposing of harm by eliminating legacy operators and their consumers.
    It is the state's fiduciary responsibility to pursue new industry and grow its tax base to reduce the tax burden and liabilities. Just ask yourself: How many industries have been lured to your state by substantial tax breaks in exchange for the promise of more jobs, a rise in homeownership, better schools, and so on. 
    If you were to ask yourself if the industries delivered on their promise, chances are, yes. Now, look at the cannabis industry. This industry is outperforming the delivery of these same promises as any other, plus paying over 40% in taxes in most cases. This tax issue can be balanced by having other industries pay their fair share.

    Schaeffer's: What motivated you to join this stigmatized industry?

    After graduating from West Mesa High School as Senior Class President, I left my hometown. I graduated in a class of 300 people, which was far from the original 1,400 freshmen we started with. The war on drugs had taken a toll on me, my family, and my community, and I lost many family members to incarceration and death caused by the war on drugs. After graduation, I went to Portland, Oregon and the effects of the war on drugs were very different there. While living in Oregon, I continued my education and became a successful entrepreneur by owning several culturally targeted publications and dot coms for the last 25 years. 
    I also had the opportunity to build my own indoor cannabis grow while working at and being mentored by some of the best operators in the legacy market. This allowed me to take a more intimate approach to understand cannabis as I researched and experimented with cultivation using various mediums, including hydroponics.
    These combined experiences led me to understand the abundance of benefits the cannabis plant has to offer, as well as the direct economic impact it can have on communities in both the legacy and regulated space. 

    This is one of the reasons my team started the podcast, The People are Blunt. There are so many individuals and companies out there that are working hard to educate and change the stigma attached to this industry, so we wanted to do our part in creating a platform for those conversations. 

    Schaeffer's: What do you think the next 'big thing' in cannabis will be?

    The next “big thing” in cannabis is here, and it is Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and NFTs. 
    The People's Ecosystem recently announced the launch of The People's DAO, the first cannabis Decentralized Autonomous Organization. Founded by The People’s Ecosystem (TPE) team, the People's DAO intends to provide financial freedom, education, and opportunities to BIPOC and women-owned communities, businesses, creatives, and initiatives by using Web3 technology. It is designed to fill the gap of economic deprivation found in underrepresented communities. 
    Members of the DAO will have access to TPE’s expanded network of individuals, DAO projects, as well as NFTs, Cryptocurrency, and Web3 Technology education. Additionally, members will leverage their collective influence to introduce new social equity opportunities at the edge of the metaverse. The People’s DAO plans to announce its inaugural non-fungible tokens series (NFTs) inspired by the rubber hose animation style from the 1920s. The “CHRONICles of Mary Jane” collection will feature gifs that target consumers interested in participating in this groundbreaking frontier.

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