Working as a tour guide in the cannabis industry, I interact with lots of different people from all over the world. The intrigue around this new industry spans the globe, and people come from all directions to see and experience this mostly foreign culture. As strangers light up joints, discuss effects of different strains or edibles, and test the waters of a vape pen for the first time, I’m reminded of how surreal this is to most people. I agree, lighting up a bong as you’re blazing down the highway in a party bus is a crazy thing to do...pretty much ever, but we do things legally and responsibly, and try to make sure that everyone has fun. I spend each weekend broadening people’s horizons about the benefits of cannabis culture, and I feel very lucky to do what I do. Though cannabis use has been a fairly hidden due to its illegality in many states, it’s coming out of the closet in more ways than one. As interest around this plant grows, it’s important to recognize how it’s shifting ideas affect everything from wellness to commerce to healthcare. It’s certainly not the once typical “stoner” type that ends up on the tour buses. It’s regular people. It’s your next-door neighbor. It’s soccer moms. It’s doctors and nurses who have seen it help their patients and have come looking for reliable information. It’s a couple of octogenarians who want to explore topicals for their arthritis and maybe an edible or two to help them sleep. It’s a couple looking for tinctures for their sick kid, or someone with MS or fibromyalgia that has never felt such consistent relief as that with cannabis oil. All these people need our help. They have the right to learn and need to be taught as much those of us deeply trenched in the cannabis industry know. People share this knowledge and help our plight for legalization. Having a positive experience with cannabis is key. We mustn’t shut people out. We must educate them and empower them to go home and talk to people. They’ll start having these conversations, help people feel comfortable talking about cannabis, what they learned here, and what their real life experiences were. So much hype surrounds cannabis legalization efforts and misinformation runs rampant. We in the cannabis community have the opportunity, perhaps even the responsibility, to educate people as societal shifts takes place. We influence cannabis newbies for the better, or for the worse, by our attitudes and willingness to share accurate information. What people have seen from states like Colorado already affects public opinion. We’ve seen the medical marijuana trend take over 25 states already. Re-introducing people to this substance in a comfortable, controlled way makes sense, and will make the shift easier for those less flexible about pot’s place in our society. All of our lives, we have been told this was a dangerous substance. Not only is this evidence of harm questionable, but also, there’s growing evidence it can actually help a lot of sick people. The world is looking to Colorado for answers, and we must embrace our duty of education as a necessary part of ensuring the cannabis culture of tomorrow. Guest Blogger Mia Jane is an enthusiastic, results-oriented social media influencer and marketing professional in the cannabis industry who aims to connect with like-minded brands, products, and businesses to further the normalization of cannabis through education, brand awareness, and a wellness lifestyle. She contributes content regularly for the Dope magazine Colorado office and also works with Colorado Cannabis Cannabis Tours . You can find her on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter .