Dear Reader: A letter from Travis Lane
If you are reading this, I would like to thank you for joining us Inside the Jar. This is a passion project for me, as it brings different aspects of my history together.
These days, I am a cannabis grower, consultant, and business owner. I am building grows, navigating the licensing system, and advising others that are doing the same.
I have been growing for a couple of decades and have been a cannabis-only professional for almost half of that time. Things are pretty crazy in the industry now, with everything constantly changing.
This chaos has been brought to us by legalization.
Yup, weed is legal.
While legalization is a tremendously positive social development, it comes with many difficulties early in the process. I often find myself urging people to remember that this will not play out overnight, or even over a year. It will take some time for us to see all of the consequences of this policy shift.
Yeah, most legal weed is garbage right now, and it seems we only hear news from suits and banks. Legal retailers are struggling to compete with illicit supply, if they have even been allowed to open their doors.
Add to this a somewhat onerous licensing and compliance regime, and it all sounds bad.
Nobody got into growing weed to do paperwork, deal with regulators, or raise money. I have bootstrapped everything I have ever done, but never for $200+ per square foot.
All of this said, we are seeing progress. We already have fewer arrests and convictions happening, and pardons are being offered. It is my hope that, as the sky continues not to fall, we will see this improve, with full expungements becoming available, for example.
Product will get much better, too, as people figure out how to produce something decent at scale, as small-scale cultivators and those who have operated illegally come on-line, and as the supply chain sorts itself out.
The thing is, I would never have guessed that we would be talking pardons vs expungements or supply chain issues 10 years ago. We had different priorities. A cannabis career was a little bit riskier back then.
Before I decided on cannabis for a living, I did a lot of other things. I was a poker player, a chess teacher, a bartender, a hotel manager, and a liquor store operator. I also went to school for journalism, which is something that has stuck with me in the 20ish years since.
It is this love of journalism and writing that inspired Inside the Jar.
As an avid reader with an interest and passion for cannabis, I can’t think of any cannabis publications I read on a regular basis. It isn’t that there is no quality work being done, it is more that I find the content presents me with nothing new, is too narrowly focused on the business side of cannabis, and falls prey to repetition of interviewees, subject matter, and shallowness.
There are a few reasons for this, and these reasons go beyond cannabis-specific media concerns to the overall state of the press these days. SEO and click ads have fucked journalism up. Local news outlets are closing their doors and laying off hard working journalists at a crazy pace. Everything is a quick hit or a listicle, meant to drive traffic without depth or analysis or personal connection. Revenue systems based on ads can be unstable, and large corporations will prey upon struggling independent publications when they are at their weakest.
To be clear, I am not a journalist. I have never done it for a living, so it would be ridiculous to refer to myself as such. I do support free journalism, however, and believe that an outspoken press is a crucial component of what our society perceives as freedom.
In particular, I enjoy long-form investigative journalism. I enjoy hearing from dissenting voices. I enjoy writing that makes me think. I believe local reporting is important.
I also enjoy cannabis, and psilocybin, and craft beer.
I am appalled by the overdose crisis, and the lack of perspective so many Canadians have on the topic.
I believe the drug war is abhorrent, and hope to see full-scale drug policy reform in my lifetime. Drug use is a personal decision, and has been demonized for far too long.
In contrast, I couldn’t give less of a shit about stock markets or some random c-suite douchebags. I don’t want to hear about shwaggy over-dried popcorn nugs characterized as ‘premium’ by some PR rep. I don’t care to take sides, and I won’t listen to the many false experts who will happily tell me what I ‘need’ to do for six figures.
Enter this project. It is my hope that we can step in to fill the gap I see, based on these perspectives. The intent is to publish honest, inciteful, insightful, accurate, and entertaining content.
It won’t be all about weed, because weed smokers have a wide variety of interests. It won’t be all serious and stern, as we want to have fun and be entertained from time to time. It won’t be written for clicks or put behind some bullshit paywall.
We won’t be perfect. We won’t appeal to everyone. We will, however, do all we can to stir the pot, and we hope that you find it interesting. We are putting ourselves out there for those that will.
So, as I rant about what ITJ will and won’t be, I can promise our readers the following – we will write what we like to read, we will cite our sources properly, and we will not cater to large businesses. We will do everything we can to get it right.
Travis Lane – Executive Director