As I can see cannabis legalization on the horizon, my mind wanders on the possibilities, and how our “culture” will deal with the massive changes to social, political, and legal environments. How will cannabis integrate into an already very complex society? Will those changes impact our quality of life, for better or for worse? But the real question I wonder is, “CAN WE CHANGE?”
Not only can we change as a society, but also as a social movement? As we see this change happening in front of our eyes, my most stark realization is that the folks having the most difficulties with this concept of completely legal weed is US….the weedheads. What I see is a group of people who have been oppressed for so long that they do not know how to be happy any more. Weedheads are so skeptical of a society that has deemed them criminals and degenerates for so long that they are not really sure they want to be integrated back into the mainstream. Cannabis has become more than an enjoyable or medical resource for some. To some it has become their identity.
What they fear is that as pot becomes just another normal everyday part of our environment, that they will lose that identity- that thing that has made their existence special. They are scared to death that their persona will fade into just another normal everyday thing that our society embraces and exploits. This “sacred plant” will be turned over to business, and industry, and pop culture….and what they have come to know as reality will cease to exist.
For me, losing that existence cannot come sooner. Ending the “excitement” of the war on weed will definitely make my life a more boring and mundane place. No longer will I get to stand on a corner screaming at armed gunmen raiding another one of my friend’s businesses, or worry about the Federal agents going through my garbage because I am a known weedhead. I will miss the exciting rush I get when a cop pulls up behind me and I know there is weed in the car (there is always weed in my car). I will miss that morning phone call that the SWAT teams have surrounded our facilities and are taking all of our co-workers to jail. I am not sure what the sound of helicopters as I walk through a sunny Mendo pot field will mean anymore.
There is no doubt, in a world where weed is 100% legal, that things will be different…..and we will have to change.
Our movement sucks at change. We have for decades grasped onto anything that is even remotely working and have refused to let go of that ever, for any reason at all. Now that we see real evolution in how our society views marijuana, much of our messaging and actions seem dated. I often look at what we are doing as a movement and wonder if we know we are fucking dinosaurs. I mean, we must, right? We must see the writing on the wall and understand that our own rhetoric and outreach underscores the magnitude of the changes we are experiencing. While the rest of planet earth is saying “Yeah. Weed is not so bad,” we are still talking about limited medical access, decriminalization, and limited immunities. The rest of the world is talking freedom.
I think the most difficult part of this transition will be internally. I do not think most of society at large is going to give a rat’s ass about weed after it becomes legal again. It will be another product on their shelf that they either will, or will not, embrace and use. I do not drink booze anymore. I could give a shit that there is a booze aisle in every store. Weed will be no different to most people. After the transition is made, those folks will not look back and most will forget that we ever used to take people to jail for weed at all….and that is awesome.
But for those of us who have carried the secret seed through its most difficult days, we will be losing something. We will be losing our purpose; and for many, possibly our livelihoods.
Clandestine growers who have made a decent living will no longer be able to sell mediocre weed for top dollar, and they will have to learn to compete in a specialty agriculture market. Some will make it; others will not. Attorneys, consultants, and service providers who have specialized in cannabis law and business will likely lose business…especially the attorneys. Dispensaries will become weed stores in a much more competitive environment, and could be replaced by shelf space at the local 7-Eleven eventually. Doctors who have done well writing authorizations to smoke weed will have to go back to their day job….being a doctor. Cops will have to work harder to solve real crimes. Some of the DEA may have to patrol the border, or work customs or some shit. People who have become this “weed personality” will likely fade into the distance and because they are no longer an outlaw, they will cease to be interesting any longer. Hydro stores will be competing with $50 grow set-ups from Wal-Mart.
There WILL be changes. But sign me up. I am good with every one of those changes if it means not another person has to sit in a cold, dark, and stinky jail cell for another long night.
The ride was fun and exciting sure; but we are talking reality. We are talking ending one of the most terrible tragedies of our time and returning cannabis to its rightful and free place in the world. We are talking about the possibility of seeing real research and exploration into cannabis therapies for the ill. We are talking about not having weirdos look down their nose at you because you like weed. We are talking about more people going to the dab bar than the booze bar. We are talking ending prohibition.
Can ya’ dig? Are you ready? Can you change?
It is not a matter of IF, but it is a clear matter of WHEN. My hypothesis is sooner than later, but maybe that is just the hopeful piece of Jack Herer that lives in me. Or maybe it is the fact that everything I hear about weed these days points to an end to the madness of taking people to jail for weed. We are approaching that reality rapidly, and it would serve us well to begin to really explore what that might look like, and how that makes us feel. We should reassess our strategies and ensure that we are keeping up with the rapid growing acceptance to our own cause. We must make sure we are ready for real and meaningful change.
Can we change? Sure….and eventually we will have no choice. The question is how long will we stand in our own way of the ultimate goal of freedom.
Our best bet is to begin making that transition now….It is our time to look down our nose at the prohibitionists and confront the evils of taking poor people to jail for weed. Until we can quit acting like weed is such a big deal, we should not be surprised that our society continues to treat it as somewhat of a big deal; but even those days are numbered. It is our duty to being making this evolution for our society, and not get caught up in the romance and nostalgia of what used to be. Prohibition is over in my heart and in my mind. It is my duty to accept this as truth and infect my fellow man with a vision and a meaning for a world where weed is as legal as a shot of whiskey. I WILL CHANGE…in fact, I already have. To me, weed has always been legal. I will not miss the “good old days of prohibition” ever…I promise.