The Hypocrisy of the Medical Marijuana Community

I realize that my opinion will alienate many of my friends who are medical marijuana advocates, but I found their anti-Prop 19 position to be hypocritical, misguided, and ultimately racist. Here is why.

While vigorously pushing their supporters to vote for a particular candidate for Attorney General, they stood on the sidelines in the fight to end prohibition. Basically, their attitude seemed to be that they already have their good thing going and they didn’t want anyone to muddy their pristine waters. Cowards!

Here is part of what one of these groups had to say in a recent email message:

Medical cannabis patients and allies have apparently defeated Steve Cooley’s bid to become the next California Attorney General, although the final decision in this tight race has not been certified. In defeating the medical cannabis opponent, patients and allies have protected years of progress in establishing safe access, and proved that they are a powerful voting bloc in state politics. . . . [We] launched the “Not Cooley” campaign because we knew Steve Cooley would use the Office of Attorney General to dismantle the gains made by medical cannabis patients over the past fourteen years. Cooley would certainly have fought against patients’ rights in court, repealed the current Attorney General’s medical cannabis guidelines, and opposed sensible regulation. But we stood up to Cooley’s harmful agenda and made a difference. Now elected officials know that when you oppose medical cannabis, there is a political price to pay! . . . Our members and allies did an amazing job! We distributed tens-of-thousands of posters, flyers and stickers statewide. [We] and our allies sent millions of emails. Our viral videos helped frame the debate, and we reached a nationwide audience with our message – including an important Election Day op-ed on the influential Huffington Post! . . . This is a big victory for patients.

A few comments about those statements:

It seems to me that ALL cannabis supporters and not just the medical cannabis patients came together to defeat Cooley. The non-patient population most definitely helped and voted to support the medical users. However, a significant number of those same medical users failed (refused?) to support the rest of the cannabis community. To the average pot smoker this came across as “I’ve got mine so fuck you.”

Have we come to a moment in the War on Drugs where we have quit pushing for an end to prohibition and now the only function of advocacy groups is to “protect years of progress”?

Granted, it was an “amazing job” of defeating Cooley, but that same amazing job did nothing, absolutely nothing, to help those who still can’t afford the price of getting what is essentially a Get Out Of Jail Free Card from a doctor and thus are still being arrested for simple possession (61,000 of them in California alone in 2009, overwhelmingly young Black and Latino kids).

In the struggle to end prohibition you are either a part of the solution or a part of the problem. Sadly, it seems that the medical marijuana community (and the handful of rich growers in Northern California) have become part of the problem. Divide and conquer has always worked for the screwheads in power, and now it appears that they have also divided the cannabis community. … So screw politics. Support your neighborhood grower!


  1. robotson Said,

    November 4, 2010 @ 11:55 am

    Thanks for posting this, be it over greed, or simply fear spread thru disinformation and scare tactics inside of the counter culture, it saddens me how supposedly progressive people sided with the drug war. for all the talk of empathy, the “conscious” community dropped the ball on this one. maybe some more critical thinking would have helped.

    don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  2. JimJones235 Said,

    November 4, 2010 @ 11:58 am

    Thank you for stating exactly how I feel. I was saddened and disappointed to see how the MMJ movement in California let us down.

  3. Niles Smith Said,

    November 4, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

    Its even worse than that Lorenzo. Cannabis Planet, on local
    TV at midnight on Fridays here in the bay area did a complete hatchet job on 19 purporting to be balanced con-
    sideration of the issue. Dennis Peron gave a statement
    against that amounted to just what you said, “we’ve got
    ours fuck you”. Valerie Corral gave one with drama queen
    tears over an issue that doesn’t hurt her or her clients in anyway but the pocketbook by removing their mandated monopoly.

  4. Niles Said,

    November 6, 2010 @ 1:59 am

    The episode from the week before the election was replayed
    the week after. It really is a mindless screed. Embarrassing
    to drug policy reform and offensive to rational discourse. IMHO.

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