Medical Marijuana is a remarkable mashup of public policy, hardball politics and popular culture. These characteristics make it rewarding, challenging, sometimes scary and oftentimes frustrating – and it will be so for the foreseeable future.
Those close to the issue, either as patients or businesspeople, know very well how political it all is. We have seen that what the ballot box giveth, elected officials gone rogue can quickly take away. Clearly, anti-Prop 203 leaders Carolyn Short, Edward Gogek, et al won’t rest until the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is undone, with many observers expecting a repeal effort aimed at the November 2012 ballot.
And yet… the clinics are open, patients and caregivers are getting cards, and many of the businesses that sprang up (or adapted) to serve the envisioned dispensaries hang on, determined to outlast prohibitionists’ efforts to create doubt among the public via governmental meddling and slanted media coverage.
So what should be our response? The answer is simple, but not easy. What’s needed is a proactive grassroots strategy: registering voters, lobbying State and local elected officials, targeted, well-crafted public relations campaigns, and more, all with the goal of moving public acceptance well beyond original Prop 203 levels. It can be done.