Michael Sims of Charlotte CBD is our guest on this week’s episode of the Carolina Cannabis News podcast. And we are accidentally airing it just in time for his company’s one-year anniversary. Happy Anniversary, Charlotte CBD!

Sims says he considered moving to the West Coast when he decided to participate in the cannabis industry. But after taking a hard look at hemp, the Charlotte native decided he wanted to raise his family here and, in the process, become part of the local business culture, too.

However, he says, if the N.C. General Assembly goes with the “local option” — i.e. cannabis sold by the government, but only in some counties, “We’re leaving North Carolina.”

Sims says the local option is “terrifying” because it could put him, and other hemp and CBD store owners, out of business.

In this episode we discuss the challenges involved in being a cannabis pioneer in the Carolinas — finding a landlord, banks shutting down accounts, the media getting the story wrong and putting his employees at risk, social media nightmaresand we get real about cannabis history, too.

For example, the word marijuana has racist roots and the entire “war on drugs” is a farce. We talk about how cannabis was used to marginalize immigrants and Blacks alike via blatant propaganda — see “Reefer Madness” (no, really, watch it here), outright lies and President Nixon’s use of cannabis prohibition as a political tool to foil detractors.

“(Cannabis was) a convenient common denominator among the groups they were trying to silence,” Sims says.

“I know it’s not coming from a negative place for most people,” says Sims, as he and I both have a difficult time not saying “marijuana.”

The word has become synonymous with high-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis and is used in official government documents to this day. So, as we recall the reality that the word has racist origins we also accept that it’s become part of the vernacular.

[Read: Harry Anslinger: The Godfather of Cannabis Prohibition via PR0HBTD]

We also discuss the endocannabinoid system and how both cannabidiol (CBD) and THC are important. And we point out that the government has known that for some time (as we’ve shared with you before), just as the government has known that the fearmongering is false and, even according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), no one has ever died from a cannabis overdose. Ever.

Sims explains that part of his motivation for becoming a cannabis advocate, and creating Charlotte CBD, has to do with the reality that he and his wife have attended too many funerals for people who have overdosed on opioids.

That’s why, he says, he’s on a mission to educate the public about cannabis and why he is glad to bring his daughter to work, saying he wants her to understand ” … it’s just a plant … the most nutrient-rich plant on the planet.”

On that mission to educate, he says, he’s also in regular contact with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and not only because, he says, every day someone calls the police claiming his store is selling illegal drugs when they’re not.

“The Charlotte Police couldn’t be better,” says Sims.

He also warns against bad cannabis policy and challenges you to become civic-minded and get involved in advocacy, too.

You’ll have your chance soon: The N.C. General Assembly’s newly elected legislators will be sworn in next week and multiple cannabis bills are already in the works. (See here, here, here and here.)

Editor’s note and a word of thanks:

Special thanks to Mike Sims, of Charlotte CBD, for making time for this interview at the last minute. Our scheduled guest had to bow out due to a family issue, and Mike didn’t hesitate to help us out. Thanks, Mike!

Our show notes are a little late this week for a couple reasons: The holidays, of course, but also this is our longest podcast to date! Mike and I are both talkers, and we hit several important topics that we think you’ll appreciate.

Look for a reader survey from us in coming weeks — we want to know if you like longer or shorter shows, who you’d like us to interview, etc.

[Image: Michael Sims of Charlotte CBD and Carolina Cannabis News publisher Rhiannon Fionn at the Medical Cannabis Town Hall and Festival, held at Three Spirits Brewery. Photo by Grant Baldwin.]

This podcast sponsored by Mitty’s CBD Cafe.

BY Rhiannon Fionn

BY Rhiannon Fionn

Editor & Publisher

Rhiannon Fionn is an award-winning journalist based in Charlotte, N.C.