Marijuana Reform: The Fight Goes On Forever
Sadly, the fight for marijuana reform will go on forever.
We won’t always have to perpetually fight for our right to not be thrown in a cage and have our lives turned upside down, legalization is a sure thing. How long it takes really depends on how many pitch in to get the job done. It could still drag on for quite some time, and that’s not even the whole fight.
Fear and greed will perpetuate the need to continue our involvement in activism. It’s really no different than for many other issues.
So many people are afraid of the unknown, especially after years of being fed lies and bad science. They don’t know what to expect, and between that and activists vying for any ground they can gain, there will be calls for and compromises made in the name of safety and chipping away at prohibition. This will set up legal markets where few can participate, where consumers are severely restricted in not only where they can turn to for product, but in producing it themselves.
In states where marijuana is either legal for medical or recreational purposes, many people are being prevented from growing their own plants, non-toxic might I remind you all again, while their neighbor can home brew beer, a substance that leads to death and destruction each and every day.
There will also be the rise of those who seek to keep any competitor out that they can, purely for the power and money it will generate for themselves. Feeding off of this fear, they lobby for tight restrictions to the market and high costs of entry.
For example, Illinois charges cultivators a $25,000 non-refundable application fee, a $200,000 licensing fee, and a $100,000 annual renewal fee. This is the most extreme example, but in general it’s not cheap to get into the business.
This very scenario has been playing out in Ohio this year as many are divided on a measure for legalization, largely because it tightly restricts who can enter the market as a grower or distributor, leaving it to a very select few. Activists are sharply divided over whether or not this measure should pass because of this.
This doesn’t do much to fix the black and gray market issues either since due to all of these regulations and collusion to artificially increase prices, those markets will still undercut the legal markets.
There’s also the matter of medical cannabis patients not receiving equal employment protection that other patients receive, meaning when someone with a prescription tests positive for opiates, they cannot be fired, but someone who is a medical cannabis patient can be fired for having THC in their system.
Activists will have to lobby for culture shifts as well, as it’s not just the laws that need to change. Currently, for many jobs, someone who tests positive for marijuana in a state where it is legal, can still be fired, even though virtually no one is ever fired simply for drinking off the clock.
Let’s not forget that hemp needs champions as well.
Lastly, but absolutely one of the most important aspects, is to remember those who are currently serving jail time or probation for cannabis possession or distribution, and those who continue to be discriminated against when it comes to housing, employment, and many other things due to a criminal record for what essentially amounts to a victimless crime.
The fight will go on for quite some time after legalization has been conquered, just like for many other issues, because no law is perfect. Giving up is not an option.