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The Obsolescence of Smart Approaches to Marijuana


It’s human nature to want to avoid the feeling of being obsolete. We all want to feel useful and worthwhile. This is true in our personal lives as well as in our careers.

And a lot of what leads us to this feeling is simply bad timing. For example, someone who has a real talent for driving an automobile would probably fare much better if they were born in 1950 as opposed to 1850, just as someone who is really good at riding a horse would find more need of that talent before cars were invented.

Now imagine being someone who supports drug prohibition. Your heyday would have been the 1980s and the 1990s – D.A.R.E. was your jam, “Just Say No”, all that jazz. But in 2019, being a prohibitionist – especially someone who focuses on cannabis prohibition – can’t be all that fun. Sure, for a select few it can still be lucrative. You can get a nice big expense account and open shiny new offices thanks to the donations of a few benefactors.

Speaking of which, let’s discuss a recent poll commissioned by our friends at Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Faced with overwhelming public support for ending marijuana prohibition, SAM has had to change course a bit, now claiming to be simply against the “commercialization” of cannabis, even though they have been against every decriminalization measure they’ve opined on.

So here’s the way SAM spins the poll:

The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon, found that 62% of voters support either keeping current marijuana laws in place, decriminalizing the drug (making it like a traffic ticket), or want to see it legalized for medical use only. Only 38% supported the full commercialization of the drug.

What SAM leaves out, of course, is that only 14% of registered voters support marijuana prohibition, according to their own poll. And since prohibition is what SAM fights for, those have to be pretty discouraging numbers indeed.

Furthermore, being against the commercialization of marijuana simply means you prefer marijuana to be sold by illegal dealers instead of in licensed retail shops. If that’s your opinion, that’s fine, but I doubt you would find much popular support for the notion among poll respondents.

In the end, as I’ve said many times before, I don’t care what polls say about marijuana legalization, whether it has 90% support or 90% against it. Marijuana should be legal because those who grow, sell, possess and consume it are not infringing on the rights of another. I don’t need a stranger’s permission to do something that doesn’t affect them or anyone else.

Of course, seeing the ways polls are trending over the last 10 years, if I were in the business of marijuana prohibition, I’d start looking for a new business.