Welcome to the Marijuana Renaissance

Legal weed in Washington can do a lot more than get us high.

Legal or not, marijuana still has a stigma. When most Americans think of getting stoned, they imagine three pints of ice cream in an hour and too many games of Mortal Kombat, or a white dude with dreads holding a Frisbee, his bandana-sporting black lab panting at his side. And for the foreseeable future, that stereotype is likely to remain intact—especially in the 48 states that have yet to legalize. There’s not much I can do on my own to change that.

But I think that what’s about to happen in Washington can. Legal marijuana in our state is going to drive an economic renaissance that will change the way people think of this long-misunderstood plant—even in places like Longview, the logging town where our production is based.

Our Longview home is better known as the namesake of a Green Day song (“Longview,” off their 1994 album Dookie) than for its thriving local economy. The recent economic recession didn’t help our town’s 38,000 or so residents much; in fact, between 2008 and 2010 Cowlitz County (where Longview resides) lost jobs in all sectors except education and health, and between February 2010-February 2012 there was a mere 1% county job growth.

One cannabis-infused cold brew coffee and lemon ginger soda at a time, Mirth is in a position to help change Longview’s trajectory. We’re a small town company that uses local, natural ingredients. With our entire manufacturing operation based out of Longview, we employ and partner with local folks. In this way, we’re part of a monumental shift in towns across the state that isn’t just about getting high with The Man’s permission, but also about revitalizing local economies. And we are just as excited to be a part of that as we are about our products. This is about changing our collective understanding of what marijuana means in our culture, because it can do a lot more for us than get us high. This is a marijuana renaissance.

What does that renaissance look like here in Washington? It looks like sweet, sweet victory—which is a sentiment we recently shared with the hundreds of marijuana retailers all over the state who received licenses to open their businesses this summer. It looks like jobs. It looks like a lucky break. It looks like a more mirthful future for Washington. It looks like our kind of progress.

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