We've overcome a massive hurdle in the struggle for cannabis legalization, but we still have no idea how close we are to our goal. We still have a lot to sort out. Even in California, many cities continue to persecute patients. The rights that we've gained were gained through the concerted efforts of a handful of individuals. We can't lose sight of the fact that, while we've come a long way in our fight to regain our right to use cannabis freely, we still have a long way to go.
The thing is, while it's important to look at history, the image and attitude historically associated with the cannabis movement has been detrimental. They were born of a different era; they're the response to an institution we're trying to unseat. If we're ditching the institution, why would we hang on to a response to it? Instead, we can imagine a new attitude, and a new image—or at least an updated version of the current one. What we must do is reexamine the important questions and decide again how to answer them, and then put those answers into action.
The old response to cannabis prohibition was primitive. Without research, hard facts, and the telling pronouncements of institutionalized science and medicine, the old cannabis movement was characterized by an anti-establishment mentality adorned with the libertine trappings of bohemian crusaders: tie dye, the Grateful Dead, Birkenstocks, etc. The difference between a hippie and someone who considers themselves part of the cannabis movement was a non-existent distinction in the beginning. Of course there were exceptions, but the movement grew from the efforts of a few individuals who happened to be hippies. While they deserve praise for their efforts, they simply aren't the best-suited image anymore. That's not to say hippies shouldn't be involved: the whole point of this revision is to reflect a movement that now includes so many people that it can't be served by a single phenotype. The cannabis movement now includes nearly every demographic you can imagine, from old folks to young folks, mad folks to chill folks, musicians, bankers, strippers--everybody smokes weed. So we need to take note and start treating this culture as something everybody has in common, instead of pushing it as defiant and anti-establishment.
There is certainly an element of dissent born of continuing federal prohibition, but it's much more about medicine now than it was at first. We're still freedom fighters out here, but even the average citizen now has an important role. If we expect everyone to get their whole life weeded the fuck up before they get down with the movement, then we might as well just throw the future straight into the toilet and save ourselves the trouble of living it out. But, if we can get people to realize that this is an issue of civil rights, then we can start to see the next stage of changes. This industry has the potential to make an impact far greater than merely getting people high, and that's why it should matter to people who don't even use this medicine. Those involved in the industry for the right reasons are running not-for-profit corporations that give back significantly to the communities they're in. These corporations, if treated more legitimately, have the potential to empower local communities and to edge out large corporations. Even if folks can't see the far-reaching implications, at a more immediate level it's an issue bringing together many different groups within a community. The cannabis movement is a way for diverse groups of United States citizens to stand side by side, united for a cause.
I use cannabis as a medicine because it drastically reduces the constant pain caused by my genetically inferior spine. The pain shooting down the right side of my body because of my sciatica diminishes dramatically with cannabis. Further, it helps me deal with my social anxieties. It helps me combat ADD tendencies, and allows me to focus intensely on a single task. Basically, it alleviates many of the psychological ailments that have come to characterize growing up in the United States of America in the media age.
I am also a firm believer in the rights of citizens. I constantly remind myself that we citizens have the power to bring about change without the help of government, because government is at our service. There were times in our history when the citizens got what they demanded. I'm involved in the cannabis industry because I see an opportunity to change the things that I know are wrong. I am a citizen of the United States of America. This country was built on the blood, sweat, tears, innovation, and love of my predecessors, and it is maintained with my blood, my sweat, my tears, my innovation, and my love. If there is anything that I know is wrong about this country I recognize that it is my right and my responsibility to change it. How do we honor those who have come before us if we let government tell us not to use a plant that helps us save ourselves?
ZACHARY G. MOLDOF
Last week's Weed Dealings, Keep Your Paclobutrazol Off My Nugs