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

Submitted by smorgan on
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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