Cannabis law reform advocates have been touting the growing public support for cannabis legalization, whether medically or recreationally, for several years now. Finally, the mainstream media is catching on, with headlines such as the AP’s “Americans across party lines, regions embrace marijuana” and NBC’s “Marijuana legalization is so popular it’s defying the partisan divide” out today.
Yes, the cannabis community won big at the 2020 ballot box, but this cross-party support has been evident for many years now. After years of Reefer Madness propaganda and disrespectful stereotypes, it does feel good to see that mainstream society has finally caught up with those of us that have been working to educate elected officials and the general public about the support we have to implement common sense cannabis laws.
It is extremely frustrating to see hard working entrepreneurs suffer under overly burdensome regulations, nonsensical restrictions, and a punishing tax code for absolutely zero reason. Throw in preposterous arrests and convictions across the country for cannabis, criminal proceedings that do absolutely zero good, and that frustration boils into anger.
Thankfully, there is plenty of hope as the frustration and anger of the cannabis community has turned into political advocacy that is really unlike any other issue of our day. An issue that does bring together both sides of a divided nation. The AP talked to a conservative South Dakota voter, who recognized how legal cannabis fits into his political ideology:
Bill Stocker could be considered the archetype of a conservative voter: He’s a retired Marine and former police officer who voted for President Donald Trump. But he’s also among the majority of South Dakota voters who broadly legalized marijuana this month.
Stocker, 61, said enforcing marijuana laws gets in the way of pursuing other drug crimes and called warnings about the ills of marijuana “a bunch of baloney” that even people in a Republican stronghold like South Dakota no longer believe.
South Dakota’s values of “personal responsibility and freedom” won out, said Stocker, who lives in Sioux Falls.
As NBC reported from Montana, medical cannabis patients and advocates have led the charge for more freedom by sharing the truth about cannabis:
The owner of a chain of medical marijuana dispensaries in Billings, Montana, credited passage of the recreational marijuana initiative to a years-long campaign by medical marijuana supporters to educate the public about the benefits of cannabis.
“There has been a considerable change in the political demographic because people are educated, because they know Aunt Margaret tried it for her cancer and she can eat,” said Richard Abromeit, owner of Montana Advanced Caregivers.
Advocates’ next goal is to get marijuana removed from a federal list of illegal drugs with no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse. The listing prevents labs from researching potential medical remedies using marijuana.
No matter where you stand on politics or culture, there is now a good chance that you support cannabis legalization or certainly have a loved one that does. As we move forward during these divided times, let’s do all that we can to reflect on what brings us together. Jack Herer is quoted as saying that “I don’t know if hemp is going to save the world, “but it’s the only thing that can.” Well, the cannabis community may not be saving the world, but we are at least doing our small part to bring the world closer together. And that’s something.