What a glorious day to be a weed activist.
All across the nation today citizens have the right to cast a vote for freedom and sensibility. Weed is on the ballot for medical use in three states, and for adult use in three more states and even a city! Weed is everywhere in the national dialogue today and I have heard more than one political pundit say “We could be having a very different discussion about the war on drugs on November 7th.” Yes…indeed we will.
The passage of one, or more, of these adult use measures could force our nation to have a real and honest adult conversation about taking people to jail for weed. That is a conversation we win when all the facts are laid out there. Drug warriors have succeeded in making the subject taboo for so long that we often forget how easy of a victory the weed conversation is for our side. “Weed is safer than alcohol. Taking people to jail for it is expensive and evil.” Done.
I was a little disheartened to see that Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s leading medical cannabis activist group, could not find the courage to stand up for adult use legalization efforts on their voting guide website (http://votemedicalmarijuana.org/), which can be found here. Why does this bother me you may wonder. Because a group that claims to support more access to more affordable cannabis for patients should be excited and supportive of an effort that opens up the cannabis market and makes this safe plant much more available and affordable. They clearly are not. They have made a political calculation to protect their “reputation” vs. actually making the right choice for patients, and those who use cannabis. It is sad that a group with a national voice could not find the backbone to declare that folks should vote yes for adult use legalization. But, alas, it is clear that this movement is continually fragmented by divisive positions that attempt to put medical cannabis on a pedestal, as if they are not with the rest of us weedheads. Disgusting.
For me, it is a no-brainer. Medical should be a given. What kind of jerk would vote against allowing suffering people to use a safe and effective plant-based medicine? BUT…a “medical only” classification for cannabis is the second most restrictive classification next to all out prohibition. So it would beg to wonder why anyone who truly believes in the safety and ability of cannabis to heal would want anything less than 100% adult use access, without the limitations of what is medical and who is sick enough to use it? To not publicly support an effort to make cannabis more readily available is simply supporting prohibition. The silence is deafening.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
The fact that we have three possible victories for ending cannabis prohibition altogether on the ballot is a huge victory in itself. These efforts have changed the national conversation on cannabis and have forced us to take a long hard look at the way we deal with weed in this country. The conversation started in 2010, when the great Richard Lee stood up and decided to put his money where his mouth was and take a shot at adult use legalization. Prop. 19 narrowly failed here in California, but the effort inspired many to carry the torch to other states and it laid the groundwork for the three efforts to legalize on the ballot today.
These campaigns have also revealed some stark realities for the weed community. First and foremost, we are not all on the same page by any means. I have no idea what some people in this movement are thinking sometimes. I never imagined, in all my years, that I would be having arguments with people who like weed whether or not to pass an effort that legalizes weed. I never thought that when I made a conscious choice to support groups like ASA when they formed that they would turn their back on legalization when we got to that point. I assumed we were all fighting for the same cause…cannabis freedom.
Not limited cannabis freedom. Not medical only cannabis freedom. Not an “I gots mine. Screw you” type of freedom. Not a “one issue, screw the rest of the world” type of freedom. Not an “if I cannot have everything I want then forget it” cannabis freedom. Not an “I am okay with people going to jail as long as I can get MY medicine” cannabis freedom. Not an “only these few people can grow weed for sick people” cannabis freedom. NO!
I thought the goal was to make cannabis free for any adult to use as they would like without fear of arrest, or losing their standing in the community. I am pretty sure when I decided to be a weed activist that the end game was to quit taking people to jail for weed and end the injustice and morality of our current policies on weed. I still believe that, and will continue to work towards that ultimate goal of real and meaningful cannabis freedom.
At the end of the day the vote is simple….”Will this vote make cannabis more free for adults to use as they please?”
Not “Is this effort perfect?”; or “Will this effect my business?”…but “DOES IT INCREASE CANNABIS FREEDOM?” If the answer is “Yes,” even if it is not as much freedom, or the exact kind of freedom, you had in mind then the vote should also be YES.
Vote Yes for Weed today and let’s move that ball down the field. We are almost there.