Cannabis tissue culture specialist Conception Nurseries has made April 20th (4/20)—widely known as an international holiday for the celebration of cannabis and the legalization movement—a paid day off for all employees at its California and Oregon operations.
"The paid holiday is the company's way of showing gratitude for the hard work and dedication of our employees," said Kevin Brooks, founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Conception Nurseries. "Taking the day also gives us a chance to reflect on what our hard work in this industry is for—where we have come from and where we are going."
From its roots as a countercultural code used by the cannabis community in the 1970s, "420" has grown into a universally recognized cultural symbol for cannabis. Amongst the industry and its advocates, the April 20th holiday has been observed for decades. And while it's always been a day to celebrate and have fun, historically, it's also been a day for activism and appreciation of what the cannabis movement as a whole represents and where it's headed.
"It's great to see a company paying homage to the history of our industry and celebrating how far we've come," said Kristian Andreassen, VP of Product Development at Conception Nurseries. "For too long, we had to hide what we were doing, talk in code and fly under the radar. Now we can come together and celebrate the plant out in the open."
Andreassen, along with many of Conception's employees, are veterans who played key roles in legalizing and legitimizing the cannabis industry—working consistently to dismantle the stigma brought about by the War on Drugs and decades of prohibition.
Conception also serves licensed cultivators who have deep histories in the movement toward legalization. Amidst raids, arrests, and theft—the pre-legalization breeding, cloning, and growing of cannabis often meant the risking of life and freedom to help propel the industry forward. Important genetics were lost to the law or to the challenges of traditional cloning.
As a pioneer in tissue culture technologies for cannabis, Conception provides the industry with an innovative new way to preserve genetics indefinitely. The company offers a competitive royalty structure to breeders and is deeply committed to supporting the continued work of these tastemakers in creating diverse and high-performing genetics. And by offering completely pest and pathogen-free tissue culture clones, Conception has worked since its inception in 2018 to make meaningful improvements to the supply chain through these healthy, clean, and vigorous plants.
"By taking this day, we are celebrating the freedom we now have to grow and enjoy the plant," said Andreassen. "We're free to do this, yet at the same time, we're observing that many are not."
On the heels of newly legalized adult-use and medical markets in Delaware, Maryland, and Kentucky, this year's 4/20 holiday is poised to be the most widely celebrated yet. By instituting a company-wide day off, Conception honors the roots from which it came, and the many decades of activism it took to achieve widespread cannabis legalization.
"We still have a long way to go," said Brooks. "Reflecting on all the sacrifices that were made for us to get here is an important step. This 4/20 will be a day to celebrate how far we have come from illegal to essential. We're just doing our part."
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