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Why Are There So Many Pissing Contests In The Marijuana Industry/Movement?

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marijuana industry movementI first got involved in marijuana activism in 1998 when Oregon activists campaigned for, and passed, medical marijuana legalization. I was in high school at the time, and did the best I could to raise awareness for the effort, attended some gatherings, and posted newspaper articles in my locker (which didn’t go over well with my high school obviously!). It wasn’t the most dominant activist effort of all time, but it was what I could do at the time given the restraints of being a minor in high school.

I dramatically stepped up my activism when I co-founded this blog with Jay Smoker in January 2010. I attended far more events and meetings than I had in the past, and tried as hard as I could to be a part of as many reform efforts as possible. Something that I saw over and over when I got more active, and still see to this day, is too many people trying to win pissing contests instead of focusing on the task at hand. It has really turned me off, to the point that I rarely attend meetings anymore. I have seen similar ‘one up contests’ in the marijuana industry as well. I also attend far less business meetings than I used to with companies as a result.

There are probably many reasons that contribute to this issue in the marijuana reform movement and industry, but I think there are two contributing factors that are mostly responsible. First, the marijuana blackmarket was largely based upon pride and ego, with this person thinking they had the best marijuana, and another person thinking they had the best. Everyone thought that they knew more than the next person about all things marijuana, from how to grow it to how to consume it. That has translated over to the reform movement and the industry because a lot of the most active people in both arenas have a background in the blackmarket in one fashion or another.

The second reason is that the world of marijuana is still largely un-established. There are no national brands, and no organization or activist that stands above all others. I get asked quite often, especially by reporters, who is the ‘head’ of the marijuana movement and/or industry. I always respond with ‘there isn’t one.’ It’s a collection of people, many of whom are fighting for position in an attempt to rise to the top of the imaginary marijuana pyramid. This leads to so many people trying to bash others, trying to thwart others’ efforts, trying to claim that they can do it bigger and better, that they always ‘know a guy’, etc.

It really makes me sad, especially when it comes to activism. We are all suppose to be on the same team, fighting for the same end result. However, all to often organizations and activists don’t work together, whether it be at the local or national level. The same is true in the marijuana industry. I have seen many times a scenario in which someone could make a solid business decision that would benefit them greatly, but thinks that someone who is unfounded could do it better, or don’t want want to work with a particular person or company because pride or ego gets in the way. That is something I just can’t fit my head around.

When it comes to activism, we should all be on the same team because, in theory, we are all working towards the same goal. It shouldn’t matter who gets the credit, or who gets to lead the charge. I get to meet a lot of people from the industry, and I have to say, at the first sign that someone’s head is so big it barely fits in the room I walk away. I have left quite a few meetings abruptly leaving the ego maniac(s) scratching their heads wondering why I wasn’t continuing to listen to every word they had to say in awe. Pride and ego have hindered the marijuana reform movement. We would be even farther along if we could have always worked together. Pride and ego are hindering the industry too. While marijuana veterans are elbowing each other for position, outsiders are flooding the industry and succeeding, which makes me sad because the industry should be made up of those that fought so hard to get it legal in the first place, not corporate types that were never there for the struggle.

If this article has rubbed some people in the marijuana world the wrong way, it was meant to. If those people feel that this article is not politically correct, good, that’s what I was going for. This article is meant for swing voters or mainstream media. It’s meant for those that are inside of the ‘marijuana fishbowl.’ Drop your ego. Swallow your pride. Don’t worry about who gets credit. People are tired of your crap, and you will continue to be abandoned by people that are tired of pissing contests.

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