I fight for marijuana reform because it’s the right thing to do. I have several members of my family that have been arrested, locked up, and fined because of marijuana prohibition. I myself have been fined for marijuana possession before, but fortunately because I live in Oregon, it was just a fine and not an arrest. This was before Measure 91 took effect, back when marijuana was just decriminalized in Oregon. Had I been caught just one state over, in Idaho, I would have been punished much harsher.
I fight for marijuana reform because I believe that no one should be fined, or arrested, and certainly not jailed because they like to consume a plant that has been found to be 114 times safer than alcohol. I also fight against marijuana prohibition because it’s a racist public policy, proven by math alone. Marijuana prohibition is an enforcement tool that many members of law enforcement use to racially profile people, and that is extremely wrong.
There are many, many others out there that fight for marijuana reform for the same reasons. They do not do it because it’s profitable, and in fact, most of them have sacrificed a great deal of their hard earned dollars in the name of reform. Unfortunately, and I say this as one of those people, that is not enough to ensure that marijuana reform occurs across this country. I wish it was, but it’s not. We have been doing the ‘reform marijuana laws because it’s the right thing to do’ strategy for many decades with mixed results.
It wasn’t until enormous dollar figures started to get thrown around that the momentum for marijuana reform grew rapidly to its current level. One of the biggest contributing factors to changing people’s minds about marijuana reform is the growth of the marijuana industry. In a perfect world, people would indeed support marijuana reform because it’s the right thing to do. But there are a lot of people out there that were against marijuana reform anyways. However, because the marijuana industry creates jobs, boosts local real estate value, generates tax revenue, and a bunch of other things, a lot of those people are now seeing the light. It’s not the way that I would prefer that people arrive at that conclusion, but the end result is the same, and I’ll take that all day.
The marijuana industry has the ability to change minds that wouldn’t otherwise be swayed. But the marijuana industry also has the ability to stop marijuana reform dead in its tracks if businesses aren’t responsible. The entire industry is under a microscope right now, with opponents like Kevin Sabet and members of the mainstream media just waiting to pounce at the first sign of someone being irresponsible. That gives me anxiety to think about, because there are so many bad apples in this industry right now.
They are far from the majority, and actually only make up a small percentage of the industry, but if they mess up, their actions will reflect on the entire industry and movement. It doesn’t take too many industry black eyes to turn off voters and elected officials, who will vote to roll back marijuana reform. As an industry, we need to make sure that doesn’t happen. If you are in the industry, be a good steward of the industry. Volunteer in your communities. Make the areas that you operate in a better place to show non-marijuana consumers that we are here to make communities better, and not to make them worse.
If you own a store or dispensary, check everyone’s ID, and under no circumstances should you ever take the chance of selling to someone underage. If you are a grower, make sure to not use harmful substances during the cultivation process. Every recall that has to go out makes the industry look really, really bad. And let’s be real, you know what you are using on your plants, so it’s not like you can just play dumb and it will all just go away. Your marijuana company’s actions are seen by many as the industry’s actions as a whole, and with that the actions of the marijuana movement as a whole. Write it down. Remember it. Know it and live it. The future of marijuana reform depends on it.