As the aroma of Thanksgiving feasts fill the air, there’s a lot to be thankful for in the cannabis industry. At CannaContent, we’re celebrating the season by recognizing the many things that make the space so special, from the plant’s natural healing properties to the social progress the legalization movement has achieved. Although there is always more work to be done — and we look forward to doing our part in the new year — join us in celebration and gratitude for the good things this plant and legalization has brought to us.

1. Therapeutic benefits

For so many of us in the cannabis industry, there is a personal story of how cannabis has helped us or a loved one. That firsthand experience of the therapeutic power of the plant serves as a motivator for countless cannabis advocates, entrepreneurs, and professionals. At the heart of the cannabis industry is the therapeutic potential of the plant. Cannabis’s ability to improve lives, from those with chronic conditions to those who simply need some help relaxing at the end of the day, is what really makes it special.

We’re grateful for the millennia that cannabis has offered humans a way to feel better in so many different ways, be it helping to treat an illness, alleviate pain, or get a better night’s sleep. And we’re also grateful that innovation and development in the legal cannabis industry are giving people access to more powerful types of medicinal and therapeutic cannabis products than ever before. 

2. Growing variety of products 

As the cannabis industry grows, so too does the number of product types available to consumers. Gone are the days of just lighting up a joint, as the market has blossomed into a diverse playground catered to every consumer’s personal needs and preferences. Whether you’re sipping on an infused beverage, pampering your skin with topicals, or indulging in a decadent edible, there’s truly something out there for everyone. 

This inclusivity not only broadens accessibility but also speaks to the versatility of cannabis as a plant that seamlessly integrates into various aspects of our lives. 

“When I was younger, we always just thought about getting some flower and smoking,” said Adam Uzialko, CannaContent’s co-founder and managing editor. “But there’s so much more to the plant than that. Today, there’s a product type for every circumstance and preference you could think of. I still like to smoke flower, but sometimes an edible or infused beverage fits the bill. Other times, it’s not even about getting high; infused topicals have done wonders for my back pain. Each of these products has a place in my life.”

3. Community engagement

The cannabis industry’s impact extends beyond its products and into a role of community engagement and social equity. In acknowledging the imperfect legacy of the War on Drugs, the rise of cannabis markets forced us to grapple with historical injustices. Notably, dispensaries like Union Square Travel Agency, founded in partnership with the non-profit The Doe Fund, redirects over half of their profits to programs providing transitional and permanent housing, employment, and support services to people who have experienced homelessness and incarceration.

Initiatives like this play a crucial role in righting the wrongs of the War on Drugs, aiming to heal communities and foster a more equitable future for cannabis. Many cannabis businesses also contribute to this process by investing in education initiatives to inform consumers and the general public about the plant, its effects, and responsible consumption. As legalization continues to gain momentum, prioritizing local empowerment and engagement promotes economic growth and nurtures a sense of community pride.

While we recognize that the journey toward social equity in the cannabis industry is a work in progress, these conversations are an integral part of our community’s healing. We’re grateful that they’re underway and efforts are being made to work towards a brighter, more equitable future.

4. Economic growth

The growth of the cannabis industry has led to the creation of new jobs and career opportunities for nearly half a million people. According to Vangst’s 2023 job report, the cannabis industry supports 417,493 full-time equivalent jobs in the U.S. From cultivation to processing, retail, and ancillary services, the cannabis sector has become a real job maker and a significant driver of economic growth. 

What’s particularly exciting is that, as legalization gains momentum, so does the potential for even more job creation and economic development. It’s not just about the plant; it’s about cultivating a thriving industry that fosters employment, innovation, and economic growth for entire communities. 

5. Advancements in public policy

As attitudes around cannabis have changed and legal markets are established, more individuals have access to cannabis for adult use and medicinal purposes. In 2023 alone, states like Ohio, Delaware, and Minnesota took the forward-thinking steps to legalize adult-use cannabis. It’s a domino effect we’re thrilled to see as more states step up and consider similar measures. 

As legislative barriers continue to crumble, New Jersey’s decision to allow edibles is just another example of the evolving and accommodating landscape. While there is still an extensive amount of change to be made, we’re grateful to witness the dawn of a new era for cannabis – one where accessibility and acceptance take center stage. 

Of course, many eyes are on the federal government, which still classifies cannabis as an illegal Schedule I drug. However, some federal officials are becoming more vocal about the prospects of federal legalization. Most recently, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) renewed his calls for Congress to act on federal cannabis reform, noting that the “time has come” to end prohibition.

6. Unique opportunities for connection 

Cannabis, beyond its therapeutic potential, unfolds as a catalyst for meaningful connections. Whether shared among friends or embraced into the broader cannabis community, the plant offers bonding opportunities that go beyond the traditional social sphere. 

Jordan Lang, CannaConent’s social media coordinator, said she loves the way cannabis is able to bring people together in conversation. “It’s so beautiful to be able to create connections with people over the plant, and the opportunities for education are endless.” 

In these shared moments, the boundaries blur, creating a space where we can authentically connect, share stories, and forge deeper bonds.

Counting our blessings at CannaContent  

As we bring this CannaContent celebration of gratitude to a close, we’re reminded of the multifaceted marvel that is cannabis. From its changing legislation to blossoming community connections and diverse product offerings, the plant and industry stand as an evolving gift that enriches our lives in countless ways. And though many challenges remain in the cannabis industry and our communities, taking time for gratitude and reflection can only serve to strengthen our resolve to continue improving conditions for everyone as we move forward into a new year.