It is a strange time in the weed activism game.
Over the past two weeks, since the election, we have seen an overwhelming amount of positive dialogue being had on legalizing weed for adult use. There has been an avalanche of media and many very public discussions about ending the drug war and stopping the mass incarceration of our citizens for non-violent drug crimes…particularly weed. It has been exciting and fulfilling.
But one of the more strange phenomena has been watching the activist and reform community contort their messages to keep up with the evolution happening in real time towards legalization. People who have spent the last decade clearly distancing themselves from the legalization issue are now confronted with the harsh reality that their “medical use only” and “medical is a completely separate issue from legalization” message is no longer even remotely relevant. Folks who have made a career out of the medical only limited prohibition are beginning to realize that their days are numbered.
It is clear that as soon as legalization happens that 90% of patients will never see a doctor for cannabis related needs EVER AGAIN. That is just a basic reality, and maybe a tough one to swallow for some who have banked their existence on the idea that America would never be ready for full legalization. It almost seems as if some very prominent medical activists have been caught off guard and now wonder just how long they will be able to survive, should legalization unfold rapidly.
There is a clear hedging of the bets happening. All of the sudden these folks have changed their tune, and instead of adult us legalization being a “separate issue,” they are having discussions on how legalization will be positive for patients. Welcome to the show.
Not a moment too late, either. It is good to see those who pointed and wagged their fingers at legalization efforts for years now embrace them and openly discuss their merits. I have long stated that “anyone who is really for patient access to affordable cannabis MUST be for adult use legalization.” That is becoming more obvious as each day goes on, and story-after-story breaks on letting America have their weed.
What I find humorous is that it has taken this long for some people to find their voice on this issue. At times, our movement is more restrictive and damning to our own cause than our opposition could ever be. There is a lack of confidence and courage at the highest levels of this movement that are simply mind-boggling.
Our own community has put forth more suppression of the message that we must end prohibition than many in the mainstream ever could. We have bought into a culture of shame and dishonesty and have attempted to convince everyone that, indeed, the entire world is sick, and that only 20 bong rips a day will ever make them better. Even in the face of the entire world calling bullshit on us, there are some who refuse to acknowledge the basic fact that we have overplayed the medical card and have left a bad taste in some people’s mouths, as a result. They continue to double down and tell people, “There is nothing to see here. Move along.”
Well, apparently there is A LOT to see. What people are waking up to is that weed is safe, enjoyable, and helpful; and that we cannot continue to take people to jail for it. We have evolved from a place where our society only believes very ill people should have access to cannabis, to a place where the majority of folks think we should just let adults smoke weed if they want. That is a wonderful transition.
Hopefully we will continue to see those dedicated to medical cannabis embrace the movement towards adult legalization. By ending the charade of quasi-legalization through medical authorizations, we will see REAL medical progress, and a lot more doctors and medical professionals willing to be a more intricate part of cannabis medicines with the stigma of abuse removed. Any person, or group, who truly wants what is best for patients has got to get on board with adult legalization. It is a no-brainer.
If these folks refuse to embrace that concept, and continue to push for restrictive medical only laws (i.e running another medical only initiative in CA), it will be clear that they have no intention of helping patients at all; yet just developing a system that ensures patient will continue spend way too much money on their “meds” at limited associated dispensaries. That is a terrible idea, and one I hope will be soundly rejected as this unfolds over coming months.
The time to end this thing is now. We will need all of the help we can get. We have taken the one step forward…please do not be our two steps back. Thanks.