Everyday Heroes, Conversations with Mieko Perez ft. Rico Lamitte
September 18, 2020 | By Mieko Hester-Perez
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Rico Lamitte, the founder of Canivision recently sat down with Hopegrown to share his thoughts on cannabis and his new venture.
Cannabis has always been my happy place.
It was my reliable escape when work got a bit too stressful. It became a calm, relaxing presence- faithfully keeping my mind from racing through restless nights. Always the faithful conversation starter needed to break the ice with coworkers I thought I’d never had anything in common with. Cannabis even became the brutally honest friend required to help break a years-long addiction that nearly derailed my entire life.
Cannabis was the only consistent experience I had in a chaotic life full of change.
When I finally built up the courage to leave the rat race, it was only natural my sativa siren’s song would find its way to my unfastened ears. The unfulfilling corporate life I never believed in had finally run its course. The time had to venture into the brand new, exciting world of legal weed. I knew it was my life’s chosen path!
A Northwestern University graduate, Rico is also a TEDx Speaker, emcee, consultant, advocate and activist.
The first few years were awesome:
I marched alongside activists fighting for equitable rights and laws that would reflect the needs of marginalized communities. Was able to provide access to the tools necessary for small businesses to compete with green giants. Even became the indispensable California conqueror, an essential piece to complete my Denver-based company’s public listing- a feat I never reached in corporate America.
I was prouder than I ever had been in my life. I found purpose in my happy place!
I also knew in my heart that happiness would soon die.
The happy stoners with whom I transitioned into this new world began to disappear. Cannabis’ now-muted fun side waned as heavy-handed regulation rained down across the country to make way for multi-state operators and ”much-needed adult actors in a juvenile industry” thirsty for discipline. The quicker the “green rush” took over, the more the end seemed imminent.
I always knew the honeymoon would be quick. What I did not predict was the rapid suppression of its truths. We can blame COVID for that.
As fast as we shut down all communal aspects of cannabis and erected essential operations, so went the stories of the people. Obstruction has become the new norm. Social initiatives that haven’t been indefinitely delayed lost the pedestals vital to their success.
Just months ago, you’d be able to attend a massive corporate cannabis conference riddled with business suits and non-legacy players by day; change into your favorite sweats and sneakers to hear the voices of oppressed communities by night. The same bipolarity that made our lane so enigmatic to outsiders was the very same magic that made it whole.
Now, you’ll only find deep-pocketed industry giants pushing narratives non-reflective of the industry’s true intentions. They’ll only give microphones to who they believe should be kinged—the ones who play the game by their rules. Spotlights are to be reserved for ‘the good ones.’ The oligarchs have taken their seats around the table, and mainstream media has finally found its way into cannabis.
This is why Canivision was born. A decentralized, bottom-up amplifier to the voices of the people is necessary to counter false top-down narratives telling us we need to practice more ‘civility’ in the very house we built. Their whitewashed rewriting of our history will not prevail.
For every regurgitated headline echoed by highly-visible media sources and soon-to-fail mega-companies who know nothing about the space they’ve occupied, we’ll serve as their check- telling stories directly from true heroes who’ve earned their stripes and have given up everything for the former’s right to take what has not been earned.
These are the stories of fallen Black and Brown soldiers lost to incarceration and death from the illegal and racist war on drugs. Chronicles of America’s loved today, forgotten tomorrow military veterans who’ve found a positive path to sobriety and a pain-free life through compassionate care. Accounts of women who have built their strongholds outside the misogynistic sanctuaries celebrated by capitalism’s champions. The queer community’s tales of finding freedom and peace while embracing the beauty of it all.
These are the landscapes seen through the eyes of our industry’s architects, the true OG’s. The filters of newly-arrived occupants shouldn’t be privileged to edit them as they can only be told in totality by the very builders themselves. The whole truth can alone be recited by those who have actually seen how things really went down. What their eyes have on record is the soul current cannabis media is missing.
Those Visions are what our team will have the distinguished honor of providing you all access to beginning October 29, 2020.
A return to the happy place.
We’ll see you then...