‘Can’t we all just get along?’ The marijuana movement has made tremendous strides over the last decade. There are more states pushing for decriminalization than ever before, Governor’s are now fighting for re-scheduling, legalization efforts are underway in several states. In many ways, things look very bright. However, sometimes I can’t help but wonder if it could be even better.
I am on several pro-marijuana e-mail lists across the nation, I blog and read other marijuana blogs like it was my sole purpose in life, and as a result I read a tremendous amount of ‘chatter.’ There is a lot of disagreement out there as to what marijuana policy reform should include and how it should be pursued by activists. I once wrote an article ‘When Will Marijuana Be Legal?‘ and I got some heat from some readers stating that marijuana legalization shouldn’t come off the backs of medical marijuana patients. That prompted a follow up article called ‘Should Medical Cannabis Patients Fight For Recreational Marijuana Legalization?‘
I personally liked the criticism. It facilitates conversation so that others can comment back and hopefully at the end we can all find some areas to agree on. However, it highlights some of the issues that this article talks about. There are some people that want full marijuana legalization, no limits or regulation, and they refuse to support anything short of that. Other marijuana activists want some regulation, but how much is too much is always at the center of that debate. How does the marijuana movement, medical and recreational, come together and unite all of the factions into one coalition in order to rock the vote?
I have received a lot of e-mails about this topic the last two years that I have been posting on TWB. There are a lot of recreational marijuana users out there that complain about the medical marijuana community closing the door behind them after they got their legal status. On the flip side, medical marijuana patients believe it’s about compassion for those that need medical marijuana, and that recreational legalization will hurt their cause. Look at Washington State for an example of that.
For that matter, look at just about any state that is actively pursuing marijuana reform. There are likely multiple efforts going on, and rather than a coalition of efforts fighting for one goal, there are a handful of little efforts going on that aren’t as successful. Is there a way that all of those efforts could unite? Is there a way that we can all look at what we all want that’s the same, try for that, and then proceed from there? Because it seems like a lot of marijuana activists out there don’t understand that it’s going to take all of us to overwhelm our opponents. There are power in numbers, but not if the numbers are divided by three or four.
I’m in no way saying that one effort is better than another. In fact, I think loyal readers of this blog will attest that I support just about every kind of marijuana reform possible. Decriminalization, rescheduling, medical, legalization, etc. Politics is an incremental game, and big changes are hard to do. I think that if we pursue all avenues in a united front, we will be more likely to succeed one area at a time, one election at a time. However, if we all throw mud at each other not only does nothing get done in the end, but it makes life easier for our opponents.