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Legalization doesn’t equal Education.

According the latest Gallup poll, two in three of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, marking the third consecutive year that support for legalization has grown. In 1969, when Gallup first asked Americans about legalizing cannabis, it was an unpopular idea with only 12 percent saying that the plant should be legal. As more Americans begin to understand what cannabis is, support for legalization continues to grow, along with the number of states that have passed medical and adult-use marijuana laws.

Today, cannabis is legal in 33 states and in Washington, D.C. Americans are now turning to medical marijuana for pain management/opioid replacement as well as to treat conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy, nerve pain, neuropathy, PTSD, nausea and weight loss.

While serious progress has been made, the cannabis industry still faces a variety of challenges — including high, restrictive taxes; over-regulation; a lack of banking services; fractured state-by-state laws; outdated social media and advertising policies, and NIMBY…the “not in my back yard” realities that confront cannabis business that are licensed by the states in which they operate, but are restricted by over-zealous zoning and business regulations at the local level.

Corporate cannabis has become very good at talking to each other, within our own bubble, about both the positives and negatives. The cultivators talk to the cultivators, the bankers speak with the bankers, investors to executives, and so on. Turns out…very few of us are truly speaking to consumers in a meaningful and consistent way.

Much of this lack of communication is due to the aforementioned advertising limitations and a huge miss from most traditional, digital & social media entities to separate promotional from educational content. None the less, you’ll find that general consumer confusion about where to find reliable, trusted information, especially in states on the east coast and mid-west that have been legalized within the past 3 years, is the norm. Some consumers still have basic questions about where and how to obtain a medical marijuana card and how to charge a battery. While healthcare providers are becoming better educated about what role the plant can play in personalized health and wellness regimes (i.e. the doctors talking to the doctors,) the community education opportunities are not on par with those in the professional sphere.

In Philadelphia, BEYOND / HELLO, is coming together with cannabis businesses, community leaders and experts to help raise awareness regarding the Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program with community education as the core focus.

The inaugural GO BEYOND! Conference took place on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at BEYOND / HELLO Philadelphia at our 1206 Sansom Street location. This free-and-open-to-the-public event promoted candid discussions about the state’s program, medical cannabis, community, education, products, and culture, and help close the education gap.

Our hope was to arm the public with more facts, so they’re able to make smarter, more informed decisions, while our dispensary brand BEYOND / HELLO fills the “trusted information” void in our patients’ lives. And I think, for one day, we succeeded. See the highlights here.

This was an event for Philly, by Philly. Featuring Former Philadelphia Flyers enforcer and an Athletes for Care Athlete Riley Cote; retired Philadelphia Eagles Todd Herremans; award-winning cartoonist and best-selling author Box Brown; Rothman Institute board-certified physician Dr. Ari Greis; Director of Operations at Medically Jointed and Director of Opportunity for Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunites (DACO) Justin Ivey; Temple University Assistant Professor of Pharmacology Dr. Sara Jane Ward, PhD; Philadelphia Inquirer’s cannabis and business reporter Sam Wood; Bernadine Hawes, American Cities Foundation Small Business Initiative Director; Philadelphia-based journalist and editor A.D. Amorosi; Dr. Lynn Bornfriend, MD, Psychiatrist, Vanessa Maria Graber of PhillyCam and the Station Manager and founder of WPPM 106.5 FM, producer of Fully Baked Radio; Dr. Helena Yardley, PhD, Director of Research,, the Franklin Group and Altus Labs, Cresco Labs; Terrapin Pennsylvania; Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania; Moxie by PurePenn; Vireo Health; Ilera Healthcare; Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO); University of the Sciences; Athletes for Care, among others.

Together, we can start talking and listening more to the people we’re supposed to be serving in the first place. This was only the first step.