Why the Prejudice Against the Cannabis Industry?
As California gets closer and closer to the new year, the state braces itself for the new adult-use cannabis industry. On January 1st, people over 21 may buy cannabis from a local and state licensed dispensary. This dispensary must have a license allowing it to sell to adults and not just medical patients, but the overall feeling in the state is excitement. Excitement for something many people in California believe should have been made legal long ago. However, not all people are glad that cannabis has become available for adult use. About 42% of people who voted on the proposition opposed legal cannabis beyond medicinal use. That vote happened about a year ago, and some cities and counties are still not convinced it was the right move to this day. I began to wonder why certain cities and counties had such a prejudice against the cannabis industry, and if they had valid reasons to have this prejudice.
Hollister, a city south of San Francisco, is one such city that has decided to impose a 45 day ban on all adult use cannabis. All non-medical related cannabis is not allowed within city limits, and the city has 45 days to decide whether to modify or keep this ban permanently. The city states that the ordinance was passed to keep the immediate preservation of public peace, health, and safety. This ordinance could be extended up to 2 years if the city does not get favorable reports addressing the problems addressed by the moratorium. Citizens in opposition of adult use cannabis within Hollister are starting to believe that this was the aim of people in support of medical cannabis from the very beginning. Some believe that they are being forced to accept adult use cannabis, because if they don't the city will lose money and jobs that help it grow.
Unfortunately for those opposed, it truly will be missing a golden opportunity for the city to gain much needed tax revenue. Preventing operating cannabis businesses in Hollister from selling adult use cannabis will put them at a competitive disadvantage. It may even cause the existing cannabis industry to move out of the city, and by the time Hollister realizes the opportunity it could be too late. However, does this mean that the people opposed to the adult use of cannabis within Hollister are wrong? No. They are completely entitled to their opinion and prejudices against adult use cannabis. While I am a proponent for the cannabis industry, I do believe that people that do not want adult use cannabis or any kind of cannabis need to be heard. They need to be addressed and either educated, or understood. Cannabis activists have worked too hard to get to a point where the country is starting to accept the cannabis industry. However, this does not mean that activists should push their ideals and ignore the whole community to make a more money.
Activists who have been in the industry for years understand this point. They can clearly differentiate between someone new who entered the industry because of the potential money and someone who is passionate about the industry. It is up to the cannabis activists to rein in the people who are in the industry for money, so that all their hard work in changing the public image of cannabis is not wasted. While everyone should be allowed cannabis if they want it, cities should not be coerced by those seeking a profit to allow it. Cannabis businesses need to make the effort to educate their opposition, as well as respect their opinion if they still choose to oppose it. The golden era for the cannabis industry is just starting and the future is bright. Understanding is key to make everything alright.