Money, that is.
It’s an uncomfortable topic with idealistic activists. However amidst the sturm und drang of the legalization debate, there is a hushed undercurrent of discussion on both sides about money. Cash. Cabbage. Juice. Bucks. Scratch. Clams. Dough. Grease. Greenbacks. I better stop.
The unspoken necessity of legal tender often puts both Reformers and Prohibitionists in positions that really have nothing to do with the medical healing powers of the plant or the unjust prejudicial origins of the law. From a capitalist standpoint (or at least, an American standpoint) regardless of your personal affinity for gardening, or the degree to which you feel your consciousness has been raised from cannabis culture, or your entrepreneurial acumen, the elephant metaphor still sits squarely on the digital coffee table:
So. How much money is involved?
More directly, you may ask yourself, “If the government legalizes pot, what’s in it for me?”
“In the new Green Rush, virtually everyone is a startup. And many of tomorrow’s biggest players in the marijuana market are currently looking for the right partner who will make for a successful business. There’s no shortage of people with skills and ideas in the newly LEGAL cannabis world, and monetary investment in ganjapreneurs is rapidly picking up the pace. According to ArcView Market Research, revenues from the U.S. marijuana industry are expected to grow from $6.7 billion in 2016 to over $21 billion by 2021, a phenomenal increase of 30%.” [source: Amber Iris Langston, Marijuana Politics]
Let me repeat: Twenty. One. Billion.
In those terms, Charlotte NORML’s keys to success will still be: 1) education, 2) keeping up with current changes in legislation and 3) knowledge of the marketplace. “There is money to be made in the marijuana industry, but individuals need to be very careful when considering these investments. Other than comparing it to alcohol prohibition, there is no real model to follow, or past performance to analyze. There is no one we can turn to that has been in the industry for decades and can pass their experience and knowledge onto us.” [source: Roxana Maddahi, Huffington Post]
Obviously, way more factors exist that, without question, make repeal of marijuana Prohibition more than just an “economics” debate, and activists recognize this. While “preaching to the choir” is encouraging and even inspirational at times, the stigmatizing forces that oppose re-legalized cannabis usually turn a deaf ear. They have no interest whatsoever in reforming the status quo. They are OUR TRUE INTENDED AUDIENCE, and yet they mock the notion that a smelly mob of sign carrying chants has the temerity to call themselves “warriors.” Credibility remains the first step to being politically effective. How much credibility do we have?
To make the North Carolina General Assembly (or the Charlotte City Council) recognize the level of ignorance and misery of Prohibition, we should remember that while money talks, and while a picture is worth a thousand words, there are lots of snakes in the grass. For example, Smart Approaches to Marijuana is a stealth lobbying group who cloak themselves as reasonable reformers, but they are actually neo-Prohibitionists. On the other hand, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has indicated that he is open to the idea of working with financial regulatory agencies to level the playing field for local marijuana businesses. Holding bank accounts are still a problematic area for the cannabis movement.
How much? How much money? How much effort? How much time will it take to change the law?
However much we put in, and however much THE OTHER SIDE listens.