Making change

After almost 10 years of producing this magazine, and pushing for changes to the marijuana laws, sometimes it can be hard to see what we have really accomplished in terms of liberating our culture.
In Canada, marijuana arrests continue to rise. Despite public opinion which increasingly supports legalization, and despite political promises to “decriminalize” the herb, more Canadians are going to jail for marijuana every year.

In the US, marijuana busts are also climbing. The federal government is making more arrests of medical marijuana users, especially in states like California, which has legalized medical pot at the state level. More people around the world are now in jail for marijuana than ever before.

So is there any reason for hope? Are we accomplishing anything with our efforts? Despite rallies, protests, ad campaigns, letters to politicians and newspapers, civil disobedience, and all the rest of the hard work by thousands of devoted activists, things seem worse now for the cannabis culture than they have ever been.

Yet despite this bad situation, there is reason for optimism.We can take a lesson from the prohibition of alcohol, and how that came to an end.

Alcohol prohibition didn’t fade away, instead the raids and arrests continued to rise until the very day that the law was changed. In the last days of alcohol prohibition, more speakeasies were being raided, more alcohol was seized, and more people were being arrested than ever before.

We can expect the same with the laws against pot. As arrests and persecution continue to climb in the face of shifting public opinion, those who hate marijuana and marijuana users will be forced to more and more extreme measures.

The weapons of the prohibitionist regime are fear and violence. Propaganda and police are their only tools, and as public opinion moves away from their perspective, they have no choice but to step up the pressure. We will see more anti-pot ad campaigns, and more marijuana arrests, up until the very day that the war on pot is finally ended.

So in a perverse way, we can see increased persecution as a sign of our success. As we force the issue and move towards freedom and normalization of cannabis, we can expect things to get more intense, and the laws to get more strict before they get better.

So let’s not give up, and instead let us take hope from our successes, and recognize that we are creating a cultural shift, and that our actions and efforts are indeed having a profound impact beyond what we can immediately see.

Make no mistake, we are changing the world. Our culture, and our plant, will one day soon be free.

Dana Larsen
Editor, Cannabis Culture