I’ve been thinking about the world of cannabis activism and campaigning and how I became increasingly perplexed by the discord between different people and groups. If the over-riding motivation is the abolition of prohibition and the creation of a just, legally regulated system for the production, supply and consumption of cannabis why the lack of cohesiveness?
Well, it does occur to me that there are many in the “movement” who make a living out of the current circumstances producing and selling cannabis in its various forms. From their perspective a legally regulated market could put them out of business, unless they could be sure of retaining their market share. As any legally regulated market would inevitably involve commercial organisations, with their sophisticated marketing and sales expertise, it presents a real threat. Also a market where home-growing is allowed will further erode their market share.
It seems, therefore, that it is actually in the interests of some activists not to change the status quo. This would also explain the extreme hostility to the commercialisation of the industry (as would a left-wing political perspective) and the condemnation of those who are willing to explore opportunities to develop new approaches with politicians of all persuasions and engage with potential commercial interests.
This stance, of effectively supporting prohibition while in fact subverting efforts to abolish it, is difficult to carry off while maintaining progressive credentials. Difficult, yes, but not impossible if the strategy adopted is openly to support legal regulation but in fact to counter any progressive strategies and tactics by promoting marginal, or even more direct, objections. It is easy to find some aspect of any proposal with which you can take issue to ensure that the whole proposal fails to gain collective support. This amounts to a disingenuous pursuit of the perfect at the expense of the achievable good.
I think that this is why there has been a dearth of really effective campaigning and a reliance on a smoke screen of ineffective activism such as open air events and rallies. They provide a show of activity without ever really effecting change.
I refer to some activists, not all, so let’s try and continue this discussion without rancour, eschew personal ambitions and ensure that we all focus on our mission:
“Legal access to cannabis for all adults and legal access to cannabis as a medicine for all”