If there one universal way to qualify the multi-faceted battle for marijuana reform, it is the remarkable resilience of the movement and its dedication to carry on the fight regardless of how many disappointments and setbacks get in the way. Most recently, activists in Colorado and California have shown why the marijuana issue will never go away and why prohibition always comes with an expiration date. Even in a national law enforcement climate that has grown increasingly hostile to medical marijuana, thanks to the Obama administration’s multi-agency attempt to eliminate the cannabis industry, groups of citizens have challenged conventional wisdom and even taken defeat in stride.
In Fort Collins CO, the controversial Question 300 ballot measure banning marijuana dispensaries and grows managed to overcome opposition and passed by 1490 votes on Tuesday. The group behind the measure, Concerted Fort Collins Citizens, hailed the results as victory for traditional values and claimed that “this was something that was burning in the hearts of people.” However, the real culprit behind these numbers may have been a simple matter of bureaucratic laziness. According to opponents, many Fort Collins residents had no idea that there was an election as the county did not send out ballots to anyone who had not voted in the 2010 elections, considering them “inactive.”
In a sign of likely things to come, a powerful player the United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union joined efforts to prevent the ban. The union’s medical marijuana division director, Dan Rush, lamented the loss of jobs and tax revenue the ban would cause and raised the issue of voter suppression as a cause for the defeat. “We believe if every registered voter in Fort Collins received a ballot, the outcome would be much different,” he said. The union and other advocacy groups are committed to “battling on” and will almost certainly bring up the issue during the 2012 election, when voter awareness would probably favor a revival of medical marijuana in Fort Collins.
Meanwhile, in California, one of the state’s most conservative counties is mounting a rebellion against a dispensary ban and once agains proving to the nation that the issue of marijuana reform goes far beyond traditional party lines. Kern County is one of the more reliably “red” areas of the state and yet, after the all-Republican Board of Supervisors banned dispensaries in August, citizens have mounted an ambitious petition drive that seeks to put the new marijuana law to a referendum in 2012. Led by Robert Wade, a former narcotics officer turned marijuana businessman, the effort gathered the 17,000 signatures needed to force a possible referendum and have effectively put the Kern marijuana law on hold.
While to the uninformed, the many regional battles over medical marijuana may seem like an endless tug-of-war, the reality is that the forces of progress and reform are always on the move and every action that seeks to eliminate the industry is met with formidable resistance. Not every battle will be won, but nobody in the marijuana movement is giving up either. Bans will be fought and overturned, ballot measures will be countered and the powers of prohibition will never be able to laugh last because the power of social change is not something that can ever run out of steam.
Disclaimer: These opinions and statements made in these posts are solely the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of 420 Petition and its parent company.