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"No one threw bong water at me, but it came pretty close"

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I enjoyed this story about Colorado State Senator Chris Romer's visit to the Cannabis Holiday Health Fair. As a proponent of stricter regulations that could close many Colorado dispensaries, Romer isn't exactly regarded as a friend of medical marijuana. Nevertheless, he used the event as an opportunity to build relationships and work to find common ground with the patient community. It sounds like a lot of people were impressed to learn how well he understood the issue.

There's an important lesson here for folks on either side (or stuck in the middle) of any debate over public policy regarding medical marijuana (and hopefully other pending reforms). Romer approached the conflict by trying to open more dialogue, rather than sitting in an office somewhere plotting against people. In the process, he was able to build some sympathy for his position, while also gaining some sympathy for the concerns of his opponents.

Supporters of medical marijuana should also take note of the bad publicity you earn by lashing out against opponents in an unprofessional way. The article quotes Romer saying that, "I did have some people yelling at me and throwing F-bombs." In an otherwise positive article about open communication between patients and politicians, this unnecessary ugliness stood out and reflected badly on the patient community. Bitterness and hostility are in no short supply when it comes to debating drug policy, but it's best to vent such frustrations among friends and never in the company of those we hope to influence. People who don't already agree with you will usually mistake your fury for craziness.

Still, I think there's a positive message here about how communities can work together to make drug policy reforms work in everyone's best interest. As medical marijuana continues to gain ground and broader legalization builds momentum, it's going to become necessary for competing interests to cooperate and find common ground. That's what has to happen and every good example we set goes a long way.
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Sen. Romer

I was at the Holiday Health Fair that was written about and observed Sen. Romer engage activists and patients for over two hours and respond with knowledge that amazed me. He wrote a 62 page bill that addresses many of the contentious issues related to the Dispensaries and growers that really need to be addressed by state law.

When I first read the bill, I was skeptical of the Senator and his motives, but I have a more open mind after watching and listening to him.

The most interesting issue he addressed was that the state should fund the defense of growers and wholesalers.

detailed in this Denver Post story:

This is the kind of change I am liking.

Open Communication

This reminds me of what I've recently read, the 2012: The Last Will and Testaments of the gods by Mike Cooper.

The story was about Zeus' attempt to save Earth (Gaia) from human's disregard of her. Anyway, in the story there was an invention where as a part of better communication with people is a machine that allows people make their thoughts public to anyone who has the same gadget. What it does is that it eliminates the fears of being lied to or hidden agendas. The other person understands where you're coming from because they know everything about you and vice versa.

I'm sure the technology may never become reality but the idea of being open with what you believe in and voicing it out without violence is more productive and when certain issues and fears are laid out there and someone answers them or appeases those fears with solutions, then the issue (whether its marijuana or any other unresolved debate) advances to something that everyone may be able to work out.


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