the new face of weed
the new face of weed

Cannabis Legalization Needs a New Superhero and It Can't Be an Old White Guy

The marijuana legalization movement needs a face, and here are some good choices!

Posted by:
Thom Baccus on Tuesday Jun 22, 2021

The Cannabis Legalization Movement Needs a Superhero, And It Can’t Be an Old White Guy

new face of weed

Marijuana needs a Face to push legalization over the goal line, but what should that person look like?


Who is the face of marijuana legalization in America?  If you live north of the border and already have federal cannabis legalization, you can certainly point to Bruce Linton as the face of Canadian cannabis 1.0.  Not only did Bruce take a little chocolate factory building and turn it into the first weed powerhouse in Canopy Growth, but he also secured the largest investment from a public company into the cannabis space at the time at nearly $5 billion dollars from Constellation Brands.


But America is a different animal and beast, way more people in general, way more diverse, and way more complicated than Canada. With the current political and social climate in the US, one thing is for certain, it can’t be an old white guy pushing the ball over the goal line of cannabis legalization.  For one reason, old people have a long history of cannabis, a time when it was illegal in the 60s, the flower children of the 70s, and then the War on Drugs in the 1980s.  There is nothing wrong with those eras, but they are what they are, long gone eras.  Cannabis 2.0 in 2021 is young, hip, healthy, and multicultural, with an emphasis everyday on social equity and economic empowerment. 


Two, it can’t be a white guy.  From the discussions about white privilege to the stats about minority arrests and incarcerations for cannabis as compared to Caucasian arrests, it is penny wise and pound foolish to “search” for a white hero of face to lead the movement.  If cannabis is to have a true “new beginning”, it has to be an honest look in the mirror and it must reflect its clearly racist past, from incarcerations to Nixon talking about “blacks and colored people like using marijuana”.


An interesting question is, since the majority of Congress, and the president himself are white, does legalization need a Caucasian face to actually get legalization done Federally.  Would everyone in Congress feel better if Tom Brady or Chris Evans was the face of marijuana legalization commercials and posters?  I sure hope not, but I wonder if that is really true, but I digress.


The New Weed Justice League


If those things are what the face of cannabis legalization can’t be, who are those people that could be considered contenders to be the face of cannabis legalization?  Who are the hot prospects, the safe picks, and the “out of the box” ideas?  Just based on marketing surveys and common-sense advertising history, cannabis would want someone young, attractive, and has charisma.  The movement needs someone who can speak eloquently and not get irrational or emotional when challenged by Reefer Madness lunatics like Kevin Sabet.  They need to be educated, or at least respected, by both sides of the aisle, or in this case, both sides of the pro and anti-pot debates. (Think Sanjay Gupta of CNN, but he is too old, so don’t worry.)  They should have a true understanding of the plant and use it regularly, but not have a man-bun and wear a Grateful Dead shirt on every TV interview.


Remember, the industry can't pick a person or face WE love and want to see get more TV time, the leader has to be able to reach NON-CANNABIS fans and get their attention and respect. Easier says, it can't be a referrendum on "most popular person in cannabis class" right now.  


Who are the hot prospects, the top candidates for becoming the face or speaker of the cannabis legalization movement in the US?  My insider’s list and quick review of the odds out of Vegas are as follows:


Possible #1 Draft Picks


Shanel Lindsay, Ardent Cannabis – Coming off her NBC interview, Shanel has been at Ardent for over 7 years now, runs a fulltime cannabis company that makes decarboxylation machines, is a lawyer, well spoken, has a personal story with her cannabis use, and could be a model. Brains, beauty, cannabis, and just getting started on the national level.


Wanda James – The West Coast legend has already been featured on numerous TV shows, news pieces, and online streams.  Wanda runs a fulltime cannabis business, is very well spoken, and has a charisma that you can’t teach, you either have it or you don’t.  Already a legend in the cannabis community, she is already breaking through on a national media level.


Nadir Pearson – Known as Pony Boy, Nadir has been a cannabis activist since his days in high school and at Brown University.  He has worked on cannabis media and created some of the finest pieces down on social media.  He put on the map with his great IG streams and short videos and has now moved on to being a fulltime media and branding expert in the cannabis space with 3 new projects.


Jessica Billingsly – CEO of Akerna – Smart, funny, female CEO of Akerna, a publicly traded cannabis ordering platform and menu management. While she may not be making IG videos and media side content like others, she is a powerhouse in the boardroom and runs a really smart and tight ship at Akerna.  Picking up key software companies and cannabis platforms over the past few years has put Akerna in a great position for full legalization.


Outside the Box


Sick Child

And a child shall lead them.  What if a sick child or a child that was sick and cannabis helped cure became the rallying face or ideal for legalization?  Could a sick child warm Mitch McConnell’s heart to vote for full legalization finally?  What about a sick child of a well-liked famous person using cannabis to heal or lower seizures?  Don’t forget about Alex Bortell and the role she played in getting the legal status of cannabis challenged in a variety of court cases. She is now entering her late teens, early 20s, and is a passionate cannabis advocate.


Doctor Who Cures with Cannabis

The conservatives view of cannabis can change in a hurry if a respected doctor doing research on cannabis and cannabinoids has a major breakthrough with a medical treatment and cannabis. If a major study shows a game-changer for cancer, diabetes, obesity, autism, COVID, or something along those lines, most Republicans and conservatives may turn their attitude toward okaying at least medical as the benefits of this new medical breakthrough will out-weight any personal misgivings about the plant and its erroneous told history.


Elon Musk – Jeff Bezos

With what Elon must has able to do for cryptocurrencies and Amazon recently supporting marijuana legalization while dropping marijuana from its 5-panel drug testing, could one already legendary media and business type push legalization over the top.  If Elon tweeted for legalization and political support as much as Dodge or Bitcoin, would we see bigger influence spectrums?  What is Bezos took it a step further and offered states and the US government incentives for legalization similar to what Amazon is doing now with covid vaccine shots and its employees Amazon currently pays its employees $40 for the first COVID vaccine and $40 for the second one. Could Amazon incentivize states and even the Federal government to legalize by offering to pay health insurance costs for a state or government if they go full legalization.  That may not work in Amazon’s favor with their foray into prescription drugs and 2-day fulfillment with Pillbox.  Just thinking outside the box and seeing how business interest and a whole lot of money may be what pushes legalization to the finish line.


While the industry legends like Kobe, Lebron, and Michael, see Steve DeAngelo, Bruce Linton, and Jim Belushi, there is a new all-star team to be the face of full Federal legalization in the next year or two.  Cannabis is vibrant. As Curt Dalton at said, “Cannabis will be the single biggest business opportunity of my lifetime.  The full legalization of the plant in the US and then the 163 member states of the UN, will created the biggest societal behavior change since the end of prohibition. It will dwarf crypto but be up there with the smartphone as far as life altering and global changing.”


Will the cannabis movement coalesce around on figure head to push legalization that last and toughest few inches?  Will regional leaders speak for different geographical areas or social demographics?  For example, will we have an East Coast vs West Coast rap thing all over again, minus the bullets? Weed celebrities already exist, but those are Hollywood celebrities and Hip-Hop artists already famous for their other talents, not just smoking weed.  The industry will need a featured face that mainstream media and TV can point to as the ambassador of weed and marijuana legalization.

What do you think?  Who is your pick as the new face of cannabis legalization for the US?


7/2/2021 UPDATE

We may have a winner..just sayin'

Sha'carri Richardson tests positive for marijuana

Sha'carri Richardson tests postivie for marijuana before the Olympics









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