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Marc Emery Calls Out Selfish Marijuana Growers for Opposing Legalization

Submitted by smorgan on
As November inches closer, California's ballot initiative to legalize marijuana is causing anxiety on all sides of the drug war battlefield. Unfortunately, law-enforcement interests and anti-drug activists aren't the only ones panicking over the possibility of legal pot in the Golden State. This piece from Marc Emery explains why some members of the cannabis community are speaking out against the effort, and why they're wrong to do so.

Marc breaks opposition to the initiative into 3 categories:

1. Police and prison industry profiteers who don't want to lose their jobs.
2. Successful marijuana growers and entrepreneurs who don't want new competition.
3. Old-school activists who feel alienated by the modern reform movement and can't see the forest for the trees.

Now, I'm not sure I agree with everything Marc says here, but the piece on the whole is very interesting. As for the 3rd group, I just don't know what to say, but the first two are basically opposite sides of the same coin. Both groups benefit from marijuana prohibition and fear the impact of its elimination on their livelihood. Both groups prefer to think of their opposition to the initiative as being driven by principle, rather than self-interest. And ultimately, both groups will have to be overcome in order for marijuana prohibition to end.

I don't think anyone really disputes the fact that the Tax and Regulate 2010 Initiative isn't perfect. It apparently increases penalties for distribution to people under 21, and it doesn't create the kind of freedom of cultivation and distribution that many would prefer.  But what it will do is completely slaughter the war on marijuana as we know it, and not just in California. If this initiative passes, it will protect multitudes of peaceful cannabis consumers from arrest in California, while sending a message to the nation that further marijuana reform is popular and inevitable.

I promise you, we will not destroy the drug war with one sudden fatal blow. It took more than a decade of legal medical marijuana to set a positive example, disprove negative stereotypes and propaganda, and ultimately help win popular support for further reform. We're headed in the right direction, and if this effort succeeds, we'll be a whole hell of a lot closer than we are today. That's true even if the new law creates some inconveniences that its authors felt were necessary in order to help get it passed.

The bottom line is that if this initiative wins, or merely comes close to winning, it will galvanize our movement behind a victory that's surely just over the horizon. It will show politicians and the press that the recently surging marijuana legalization debate is more than just a fad and that our support base penetrates deeply into mainstream society.

On the other hand, a decisive loss will send a message that the apparent march towards legalization in recent years was little more than a vocal minority exploiting the internet to create a false perception of political momentum. Can you even imagine how eager our opponents are to start saying things like that? Our losses are inevitably exaggerated and twisted by our opponents in a desperate defense of the status quo, and in that respect, the political impact of our victories must be considered in addition to the substance of the reforms themselves.

To put it much more simply, let me just suggest that anyone in California who'd like to end marijuana prohibition would probably want to vote differently than the cops who get paid to pull up plants in the woods.

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