When I tell people that I write about cannabis for a living, the typical response is “Oh, wow, I know someone that you really need to talk to!” They’re usually right, too. This week’s column marks the 100th installment in the series, so I’d like to commemorate the occasion with some general observations about the process, and about the job in general.
The first column ran on August 30, 2017. It was the brainchild of our esteemed publisher, Mr. Sam Taylor. He and then-editor Claire Goforth picked me to write it, and it continued when Georgio Valentino took over last year. The succeeding couple years have been my most productive ever, by far, and the pot column has been about 25 percent of it. In that time, not one column has ever been rejected by the editors, and I’ve only missed a deadline twice (I think).
The first few columns were as much about educating myself as anyone else. There is a unique complexity to the cannabis beat: It’s law, it’s science, it’s economics, it’s politics, and it never stops. There has long been a dense array of coverage already available, but as far as Florida goes, we got in pretty early, and there’s so much going on that keeping it fresh is never a problem. Actually, a lot of the columns were written simply because readers wrote in with their own ideas. Thanks!
I would guess that it takes an average reader about ten minutes to read an average column (give or take a few, depending on how familiar one might be with the subject matter). If you’re one of those special people who has actually read all 100 columns so far (if there is such a person, I haven’t met them; so by all means, holla if ya hear me), you’ve invested 1,000 minutes into the gimmick, or roughly 17 full hours. Ponder that for a moment. It takes me about an hour to get the column just right, so I’ve spent basically an entire calendar week writing it. This is time we will never get back!
We’ve featured dozens of local businesses, and thrown a spotlight not just on activists and entrepreneurs, but moms, veterans and seniors. They’re the real heroes of this story, because they changed the face of the debate and forced the political establishment to rethink the propaganda that had been fed to them for generations. Like other states that have embraced this new reality, Florida has seen nothing but positive results since Amendment 2 went into effect, and all the false fears and cooked-up conjecture that inhibited progress on this issue for so long have now been finally and permanently discredited.
The bottom line is that lives are better for our cannabis-forward neighbors and their activism. The results speak for themselves. It’s been a pleasure to help chronicle this process, and I look forward to continuing for years to come. The politicians might not be quite so enthused, but that’s okay. They’ll be fine.