The last few years have been wonderful to supporters of cannabis; recreational marijuana and medicinal marijuana alike has become more commonplace across the United States, and Canada’s booming cannabis industry is beginning to become the envy of the world. Similarly, more politicians are discussing ending the war on drugs than ever before, and cannabis’ federal prohibition seems to grow more tenuous with each passing year. Nevertheless, not all is well when it comes to the weeds that are growing around our feet.
Here’s one chilling reason that cannabis is getting more popular, and what is says about our current political moment.
Proponents of the drug war are now peddling pot
Perhaps one of the most insidious reasons that cannabis has been performing well lately is that dedicated political opposition to the substance has slowly but surely been fading in recent years. It was once not only acceptable but indeed highly profitable for politicians and companies to malign cannabis; whether you were running for office or simply selling beer or cigarettes, there were many reasons to buy into and bolster the stoner stereotype while maligning the efficacy and appeal of weed. These days, however, a whopping 62 percent of Americans favor legalization, per the Pew Research Center, and that figure is sure to grow as time goes on.
This is mostly excellent news; fewer people will be thrown in jail for possession of marijuana, an almost entirely harmless substance, and entrepreneurs can earn a fortune by foraying into budding weed markets that appeal to recreational users and medicinal patients, such as dentist, alike. There’s a downside to weed’s growing popularity, however; many of those who were proponents of the drug war are now peddling pot, and the profits are going directly into their profits instead of towards communities impacted the most by the war on drugs.
Former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, for instance, has generated media headlines because of his newfound investment in cannabis. Boehner was once ardently opposed to marijuana and supported efforts to keep it criminalized, but now that he’s retired and facing a public that’s incredibly receptive to the drug, he’s beginning to change his tune. As a matter of fact, he’s now profiting of pot despite having vilified it for years, much to the detriment of some of his fellow Americans. He is only one example, but serves as a useful icon of the broader movement that’s occurring; those who threw others in jail for smoking reefer years ago are now profiting of it’s growing availability while communities and entrepreneurs of color still lose out. The billion-dollar cannabis industry in the United States has a racist legacy that’s still impacted entrepreneurs of color who are trying to help pioneer it. While cannabis becoming popular is mostly a good thing, we can’t ignore the hypocrites who are making money off it despite having previously vilified those who did the same thing just a short while ago. Popular cannabis companies are thriving right now, but let’s not forget those who fought against weed for years but now want to profit from it.