The Noble, yet Idiotic Reason Why Democrats Are Stalling Legalization
A few decades ago, Democrats were thought of being the bigger proponents of cannabis legalization. Republicans simply didn’t like it and adopted a “tough on crime” stance that inhibited them ideologically from supporting cannabis reform.
Democrats have long been the “liberal” side of the political spectrum. Cannabis legalization would seem like a no brainer to the Dems, however, lately we have been seeing a lot more pushback from the left on cannabis legalization.
There have been several efforts derailed by democrats over the past few months not because they oppose legalization, but rather because “legalization isn’t what they want”. I might be oversimplifying the situation here a bit, but we’ll break it down so everybody can understand why – though noble – the democrats are using emotional narrative to guide their law making processes.
“Marijuana Justice for ALL!”
One of the key issues that democrats (not all) are clashing on is the issue of “Social Justice”. Currently the cannabis market is occupied predominantly by “rich-white guys” (roughly 80%) which isn’t sitting too well with those in favor of a more diverse market place.
That’s why some politicians are stonewalling legalization efforts. They want Social Justice issues included in legalization bills. Things like expungement of past marijuana-related convictions and having a certain percentage of the market solely accessible by “marginalized communities”.
In other words, they wish to have people who were negatively affected by the War on Drugs to have the ability to participate within the marketplace.
All of this is okay. We should expunge previous marijuana convictions. We can’t punish people for non-crimes. A criminal record means that you can’t get access to good jobs, loans and much more. In fact, we should expunge all drug-possession convictions irrespective whether it’s marijuana or not. Having an illegal substance in your possession shouldn’t be safer than getting caught with it.
Democrats are not budging on the bills until these types of provisions are being included. While noble in nature, they are actually hurting the very people that they are trying to protect.
Just Make it Easy
The biggest problem that the social justice crowd forgets is that when you create “special rules” for certain people, you marginalize the rest. Sure, currently 80% of the industry are comprised of white dudes with cash, but the problem isn’t that white men are getting into the market, it’s that the rest simply can’t compete.
Why is that? Is it some intrinsic privilege shared by the aforementioned group? No, it’s because government regulators make the process of accessing the market and competing a “White Man’s Game”. People who have access to large pools of cash, investors etc, will obviously jump on the opportunity to get into a market that is growing exponentially each year.
The problem is that regulators make the process so expensive and tedious that only this group of people have the means to make it possible.
If you were to “block out” a certain aspect of the marketplace and invent special rule for the “marginalized”, you immediately make the industry less efficient. You’re not allowing the market to decide which is the better option.
However, what would happen if you were to make the possibility to enter into the market very accessible to the “Average Jane and Joe”? What if you make so accessible that those who have been marginalized can actually break into the marketplace?
We shouldn’t be making the law accommodate anyone due to their religion, skin color, ideologies, sex and so forth. This is simply another form of classism, which is the evil the democrats are trying to eradicate.
Rather than trying to accommodate the law, simply make the law inclusive in the sense that you keep it easy and cheap. Make it an accessible market to get into. Getting into the cannabis market should be no more difficult than getting into a farmer’s market. Allowing people to apply for licenses for home cultivation to sell to dispensaries would also help solve the issue.
We should never limit the market place; we should always see how we can enable those negatively affected by the war on drugs to easily find a solution within the marketplace.
I’ve never been a fan of the concept of “Social Justice” because it degrades the concept of justice. Justice is meant to be blind. It’s doesn’t need a modifier. Justice should apply to anyone irrespective of who they are and where they are from.
If the idea of justice can be modified, it means that “special rules” are created that will eventually marginalize another group. I’m all for expunging records, making the marketplace accessible, perhaps even making a fund from taxes derived from the legal market and giving those with incentive the opportunity to participate through industry-loans.
The way we help people is not by bending the rules, but empowering them by removing the road blocks usually set up by regulators. Once the state stops wanting a big piece of the pie, the people will have more to eat.