Inspired: Why this week's election could be the straw that broke prohibition's back.

I got up early today and watched one of the better news discussion programs on the air, Up with Chris Hayes. On the program today they did a piece on Amendment 64 in Colorado to legalize adult use marijuana, and had on the great Mason Tvert, Executive Director of SAFER, to make the case for his initiative and the cause. For those who do not know Mason Tvert, he is  an outright leader of marijuana reform, and has helped to revolutionize how our society views weed by making the simple statement, “Marijuana is Safer, So Why Are we Driving People to Drink?,” which is also the title of a book he co-authored. But what was inspiring about Mason’s message this morning was the look of confidence that he has just 48 hours before the election with polls showing Amendment 64 poised to pass, leading by 10 points. To see Mason on a national television program making the argument in a bold and dynamic way made me realize, “Holy shit! We are probably gonna win this thing this week!”

I do not want to jinx it, as it is far from a done deal; but there is a real good chance that on November 7th, Colorado, Washington, and I still got mad hope for Oregon too, we could be having a much more forward and impacting conversation on really ending prohibition than we have since at least the 70’s. if not longer. That is EXCITING, and gives me a lot of hope. In a world short on good news at times, I look forward to, even just for a minute, basking in the glory of a victory for cannabis freedom.

Watch Mason KILL IT on the show below:

As I try to imagine the impact this will have on the psyche of America, I am humbled. I imagine this being the straw that finally broke prohibition’s back.

While I clearly understand this is far from the last battle we will face to free cannabis from the clutches of tyranny, it is a HUGE crack in the armor of the drug warriors efforts to imprison and enslave our fellow man for safe and enjoyable plants. If we can pull this thing off in one, or multiple states, we will have succeeded in proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the time for cannabis prohibition to end is NOW….and do not be surprised when it does. As we tear down the wall, believe the drug warriors, after being exposed, will try to claim it was their idea all along.

I always hear the cannabis talking heads make statements that, IMO, sound less than hopeful that reform will ever happen. Here is what Ethan Nadelmann of Drug Policy Alliance said on the Gavin Newsom Show on Current TV.

 Nadelmann added that the only prospect for bold reform out of Washington would come in the unlikely event of the Democrats taking both houses of Congress in addition to the presidency.

However, even without a complete overhaul, he thinks that some modest changes come down the pipeline relatively soon. “[I think] we’ll see the emergence of an independent commission to reevaluate the state of drug policy in this country,” he said. “We’ll see more opening to new ideas that are beginning to percolate, but I’m not going to hold my breath for major reform.

Now I understand Ethan’s position 100%, and probably agree with him on most of this assertions and insights on drug policy. I have always said that Ethan is the smartest person in the reform game. But his statement, “I’m not going to hold my breath for major reform,” I just cannot get behind.

I have been holding my breath since the day I took my first rip of cannabis and I have a much more optimistic point of view. Maybe I just smoke a lot more weed than Ethan; but from all measures, based on my personal experiences with prohibition and our society’s view on weed, I already see a MAJOR change in the way our communities understand marijuana and the call for an end to the policy fo taking people to jail for weed grows louder by the day. I have to believe that, regardless of who runs Congress, or the White House, that social pressure on this issue will continue to make it impossible for these laws to survive.

I think the passing of Amendment 64, I-502, and Measure 80 (which I believe will win by a squeaker) will undoubtedly force our government, and citizens, to look at this issue closely and as not just a thought, but a now clear reality in at least one, if not three, states. That is huge. It is epic. It will change the dialogue in a way no activist ever could.

It says, “Screw you. Weed is legal. What are you gonna do about it?”

Now, sure…the Feds could decide to go batshit crazy and blow their load working to shut it down. I just do not see it. I do not think it is a viable option for them any longer. The more they play their “prohibition at any cost” card, the more people are standing up and saying, “What are those costs again? And why are we paying them for weed?”

It is a different age and era. Almost everyone knows somebody who smokes weed these days, and most all of them are good, honest, hard-working folks who just want to burn a doobie and be left alone. That is not a lot to ask, and people are waking up to the fact that we have wasted over a trillion dollars enforcing laws and policies that have done zero to reduce drug use or availability, while creating an incredible burden on our society by imprisoning 5x the amount of people as the rest of the planet. People know it is stupid, and politicians are beginning to realize that people are not as dumb and predictable as they used to be on this issue.

They used to just be able to scream “DRUGS ARE BAD! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?” Now when they scream “What about the children” the response is “What about the children you are locking up for weed and how much that costs us in blood and treasure?” It is a much different climate than when California revolutionized the way we view cannabis with Prop. 215.

So as this week rolls in, I am taking time to soak it all in. I am proud of those who continue to fight for cannabis freedom, and am honored to call myself their colleague and partner in the battle for justice and morality. When you read the headlines the day after the election and it says “Colorado (and/or Washington and Oregon) Legalizes Weed!” be inspired. Let it motivate you to continue to knock down the walls of prohibition, and know that it is a MAJOR step in ending this thing.

To all the folks on the ground doing what it takes over these next two days to get out the weed vote, I just want to say “THANKS!” You guys are my heroes.