Being a cannabis and hemp activist is very different then being a "mj" activist or a "hemp" activist. Often times I feel alone and isolated. Not only am I fighting (through education) gross ignorance amongst the masses, but within the movement I fight to reframe thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and ideas embedded into the consciousness of those who fight beside me. For "mj" advocates and activists, they buckle at the word "marijuana" either not knowing that word was designed to distinguish cannabis as a hardcore drug, no different then morphine or heroin or not caring "because that's what everyone calls it." Even the so-called champions of the "mj" legalization movement Keith Stroup of NORML and Ethan Nadelmann of Drug Policy Alliance rarely, if ever refer to cannabis as it's scientific name, but moreover as it's demonic label.
The conversation about rebranding cannabis is not a new one, but it has to be mentioned as a starting point when we talk about the reboot of cannabis activism in 2017. So why does cannabis activism even need a reboot in 2017 when things seem to be swimming along just fine? I dont think I need to remind anyone that some form of cannabis legalization is available in almost every state in the US. I might need to remind a few, however that Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico legalized medical cannabis without a vote. In addition, for the first time in modern history we have a President, in Donald Trump who has been undeniably outspoken about legalizing medical cannabis! Sadly the media, instead of rejoicing in this well-known fact that this country has a President who is in favor of legalization medically and willing to allow the states to write their own ticket on adult use legalization, they are diverting the facts to scare our community.
It's time to go beyond legalization in our activism and in our message as advocates to the world and begin to educate on some of the finer points. Now that we have a Commander in Kief willing to let this industry happen, we need to focus on talking about the less dicussed aspects of the cannabis industry. Make no mistake about it the legalization debate must continue until we have won, however the wind is at our backs with this President folks. We have the momentum of public opinion, and more states are talking legalizing adult use, specifically Rhode Island, Conneticut, New Jersey, and even New York has entered the conversation. The "rookie" advocates and activists who are jumping into this more and more each day don't have the experience to know what the minutae is that we need to fight for, let them post up all the rudimentary information on legalization, chopping away recklessly, while us veterans target specific goals in legislation.
Picture a giant tree representing prohibition so large that millions of people had to band together to cut it down so cannabis be free. Back in 1937 when cannabis was made illegal with the "marihuana tax act" there was only a small group lead by Fiorello LaGuardia cutting away at that tree. Over time that group grew and grew to thousands cutting away at that tree. That tree currently has so many chopping away at it everyday that we don't need to convince people to chop anymore, they are joining willingly. Now we need people to work on how we can dispose of the remnants of prohibition socially and legislatively.