Grass Roots Rarely Outgrow Establishment
Niches Don’t Overtake All Society
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 23:04
After taking in the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Denver for the second straight year, it becomes obvious that attempts at knee-capping the burgeoning marijuana-based industry in Colorado—medicinal or otherwise—is not only an exercise in futility, but also just a political issue to flog when the news cycle slows.
Held at the EXDO events in the River North Arts District, the two-day exposition highlighted an industry that has literally grown out of the basement into a corporate-backed behemoth showcasing nearly all angles of cannabis from seed to consumption. All of the familiar stereotypes were on display, which can seem to make those striving for legitimacy in a world where medicine is labeled Twirling Hippy hypocritical. Just know that your sense of legitimacy may be different than theirs.
The day after CU-Boulder so proudly shut down their campus—presumably to once again chase the title of #1 drinking school—to ward off celebrants of a made-up event, not a dissenting voice was heard, nor was there any press of the exposition in large local media. One wonders about the tree-in-the-woods conundrum.
Maybe there weren’t enough wealthy alumni of Oaksterdam University threatening their benevolent donations to make High Times alter their plans. Really it just comes down to the fact that people are too wrapped up in the stuff they are doing right NOW to worry about other people using cannabis.
Welcome to America—nobody gives a shit. Yeah there are people out there with beef over medical marijuana, and every so often a concerned citizen laments to the press about the scourge of pot stealing our children’s youth and ambition. Yet despite the institutionalized constituency of voters who act like the act of filling out a ballot every election based on commercials is real democracy—casting dispensaries out of municipalities that just a couple of years back made sure everybody could buy liquor seven days a week—nobody showed up outside the event to protest the Cup. Good weather must temper the enthusiasm of those pretending to protect citizens from their own choices.
The amount of organizations and companies willing show their wares under the thinly constructed dome of peace within our state were impressive. After a few hours watching people trudge from booth to booth put free swag into shopping bags like a Home and Gardens show or Sportsman’s Expo, it becomes apparent that that’s exactly what it is.
Medical cannabis, or marijuana in general, in Colorado is among the countless niches that cross-pollinate society and fabricate under our country’s unique system of living. From hunters and skiers to support groups and religious organizations, people become drawn to what they know and what works for them.
Now that a framework of legitimacy has been erected, like most industries before it, the cannabis industry in Colorado has attracted a wide swath of people interested in making a living doing what they like to do. To deny such legitimacy is to deny Americans the way of life we have constructed for our citizens over the past two centuries and change.