Weed won’t save the world despite how warm and fuzzy the idea makes you feel. So let’s put down the bong and get real about the future of Mary Jane.
It’s convenient to gravitate to opinions that support our personal beliefs. This has become easier than ever thanks to the never ending flow of information that we can pick and choose our way through online. Don’t like the first, second or tenth search result? Simply continue clicking until you find one that fits nicely with you, then share it far and wide so that others can join your comfortable echo chamber.
Cannabis activists and enthusiasts are perhaps one of the groups that are guilty of most often preaching from the same one dimensional script. Catch phrases like “Cannabis cures cancer” and “Hemp will save the world” are familiar favorites. While the more dedicated disciples will go deep on conspiracy theories all about how Big Paper and Big Pharma spend billions of bucks trying to suppress any legalization progress. At least until such a time as these corporations are allowed to become the new monopolizers of legal cannabis.
Why weed won’t save the world
Having spent the last decade on the front line of cannabis activism has been an amazing and fulfilling experience. But it has also taught me that this diverse plant does not exist in a ideological vacuum. There are millions of people across the globe who already grow and consume cannabis for a variety of reasons. Some of this is done legally while most of it remains illegal, yet the stereotypes that linger are of those of kumbaya chanting hippies and benevolent rastas. This could not be further from the truth.
Beneath the veneer of reggae and altruism lies a world of dodgy ethics and concealed motives. There is nothing wrong with following the path of least resistance or relying on the only resources that you have available to earn a living, although there are of course legal or social limits to this. The devil’s advocate in me has begun to take an introspective look at my last decade of rubbing shoulders with growers, dealers, victims, government, corporations, opposition and activists on both sides of the fence. And the one thought that keeps tugging at me is “How does weed save the world when it can’t even save itself?”
Drop the propaganja and get real
Cannabis may once have been an essential component in industry and the economy but that was over 100 years ago. That means that while weed has had the occasional innovation, other competing products have been evolving nearly non-stop for a century. Weed would have match or beat price points and quality. As well as offer enough value to persuade consumers to move away from established traditional options. This doesn’t mean that cannabis won’t be relevant. It just means that is very unlikely that we’ll ever be sitting in our hemp homes, crunching on weed seeds and reading articles like this with our ganja powered devices. It will take massive investment and unfettered development in this versatile plant to truly get it on the map. And even then it may end up not being that relevant or enticing.
Let’s call a dealer a dealer
A culture has grown of calling dealers everything other than what they essentially are… dealers. You will find weed being sold by self titled healers, private clubs and philanthropists. It all still comes down to consumers paying someone money for some weed. No more no less. Yet you are certain to experience backlash should you not use the correct noun when referring to this new frontier of re-gentrified dealers. Using a fancy title, complicated process or nifty website does not change the nature of the transaction in the least. Sure, some cannabis brands do capitalize by bolstering their images with charitable acts. But behind the sympathetic social media posts are lavish homes, international travel and nice cars. So it’s essentially just business as usual.
And that’s what it all boils down too. Cannabis will need to survive and thrive as a mainstream business commodity before even coming close to saving the world. So while it is certainly wonderful to see weed legally finding its place in the world. It is unlikely that saving the world will ever become an option… at least not in our lifetime.
It will take the intentions and actions of people, not a plant, to save make the world a better place.