I don’t like writing these pieces, to be honest. I don’t like the fact that my job – cannabis advocate and pundit – even exists. I’m writing and doing video shows in the hopes that I can do my part to get enough information out to voters and lawmakers that they consider voting to legalize a plant.
And the worst part is, it’s not easy. Every day is a constant battle against those who, inexplicably, want to keep this plant illegal. Even after all the destruction the prohibition of marijuana has caused and the abject failure to even come close to its supposed goals, there are still those who think it can be made to work.
In fact, they are so convinced that it can be made to work that they are willing to bet your freedom on it. After all, it’s not their freedom on the line. Beyond those who support prohibition, we have another group, those who are ostensibly allies, but who think marijuana should be so regulated and restricted that they sometimes end up doing more harm than good.
To be fair, it’s not entirely their fault. Take the upcoming attempt at legalization in Arizona, for example. Activists in that state saw adult-use legalization lose at the ballot box by a thin margin in 2016 and they are worried about another loss in 2020. This has led them to nit-pick and analyze every aspect of a legalization attempt.
From a political standpoint, this is usually a good thing. Going into battle, it is best to be prepared for every possible contingency. But somewhere along the line we have accepted the fact that marijuana is a controversial topic that needs to be treated with kid gloves. We’ve accepted that it is seen by many as a dangerous substance that needs to be tightly controlled. Ironically, in our often successful quest for political victory, we have allowed our opponents to keep control over some of the narrative.
In the article about Arizona linked above, they go through TEN different aspects of legalization that need to be addressed, and those are just the broad strokes. Everything from the number of licenses to whether or not adults are allowed to grow cannabis in their own home must be scrutinized as if one false decision can spell doom to the people of Arizona.
And what will the voters of Arizona be left with? A lot of compromise that may or may not pass. Once you accept the premise that marijuana is something that is very complicated and dangerous, all that is left is compromise and hoping for the best.
And this leads to settling. Settling for something slightly better than prohibition, but nothing close to what could have been. Compromise may pass legalization in Arizona next year, but whether or not it’s worth the name remains to be seen.