I talk and write a lot about the “normalization” and “mainstreaming” of cannabis. As marijuana approaches the same level as alcohol in more people’s minds, the easier legalization will be able to be passed and enacted. This depends a lot on a general approval from society when it comes to cannabis use; so much so that much of said use is not even noticed.
But let us not confuse a practical policy strategy with a belief on my part that society needs to approve of marijuana before it should be legalized. “They” most certainly do not need to approve. In fact, the entire case for legalization is built on the foundation of use being no one’s business because it does not infringe on their rights. Your opinion on whether or not someone else uses marijuana should be completely irrelevant. People doing things that don’t affect you do not need your “approval”.
My point being, in my daily perusal of news from the cannabis world, I came across this article about competing legalization attempts in Arizona. In the piece, ABC15 quotes Stacy Pearson, a spokesperson for the Arizona Dispensary Association, a group that wants established dispensaries to have first crack at selling adult-use marijuana. Among the things she said was this:
“Our policy is truly the best policy for Arizona. The Arizona voter does not want dispensaries on every street corner, like a K-Mart. They don’t want marijuana being sold at every convenience store they walk into. Many of them are okay with recreational marijuana as long as it’s out of sight, and out of mind.”
Beyond the fact that there was never anywhere close to a K-Mart on every corner, the point she’s making is that Arizona voters supposedly don’t want to see marijuana being sold everywhere. No poll is cited for this, but let’s ignore that for the moment. Let’s say they did take a poll of every single potential voter in Arizona and 78% of them said they don’t want cannabis sold in too many places.
My question is: so what?
Even in a country where much is voted on and EVERYTHING is discussed, since when do we vote on what is sold in a convenience store? True, a case could be made for alcohol in some portions of the U.S., but for the most part, the government doesn’t dictate the specific inventory of a retail store.
I don’t want to see Christmas decorations being sold in October. I don’t want to see 28 varieties of beer; I don’t drink. I don’t use feminine products, so why are there so many of them? You get my point. Businesses sell the things they think people want, and if you don’t like it, shop somewhere else or simply get over it.
It shouldn’t be up to the government or strangers whether or not a store sells marijuana; if they are not infringing on the rights of anyone else, why is it your business? We don’t need to vote at the ballot box on what a store sells; we get a vote every day on what they sell with our money and how we choose to use it.
No product exists that can support a “store on every corner”. But if one did, so what? It would be incredibly popular and everyone would want it, or the stores wouldn’t stay in business.
Let the market decide how many stores sell marijuana and what cannabis products they sell. If walking by a case of marijuana samples on the way to get your 12-pack of beer bothers you so much, I suspect you’ll find a way to survive.