#YesWeCannabis – Legalizing Marijuana: The Movement and its Goals
After nearly a century of prohibition, movements for legalizing marijuana is sweeping across the States. However, despite some more liberal States already legalizing the plant (or seriously discussing legalization) – and 58% of Americans being in favor of it – it remains illegal on the Federal level. This is where #YesWeCannabis comes in: it’s a lobbying movement – originally born on reddit’s /r/trees subreddit – that seeks to make the truth about cannabis legalization (and terrible human cost of the exorbitantly expensive and ineffectual War on Drugs) known to the public and politicians alike. The endgame of the movement is to inspire political change: a bill which would see cannabis made legal on a Federal level.
The movement has appeared at a striking time. The 2016 election looms, and having an opinion on the cannabis issue is going to be at the forefront of every candidates’ agenda. Interestingly, the issue isn’t necessarily divided among party lines – various Republican candidates have openly expressed their support for legalization (such as Rand Paul), while others (the ever-militaristic Jeb Bush being a classic example) are banging the war drums ever harder. As for Democrats, Hilary Clinton’s enthusiasm for legalization remains lukewarm at best, while the likes of Bernie Sanders, while not openly calling for legalization during this election cycle, is vehemently against the War on Drugs, and has a history of calling for legalization – for all drugs, in fact.
Despite the public and politicians waking up to the prospect of legalization, the movement still has its work cut out. Elements of American society – especially the more conservative ones – are still staunchly opposed to the prospect of legal, accessible cannabis. To the #YesWeCannabis movement’s great credit – despite being comprised mainly of young liberal folks – they have taken it upon themselves to play devil’s advocate, and frame cannabis legalization arguments with ideology that older, conservative people can engage with. After all, what is more abhorrent to libertarian ideology than a government using taxpayers’ money to fund a War on Drugs – a war, essentially, against its own people? And what is more nonsensical to capitalists of all stripes than the banning of a crop that could dramatically boost the nation’s economy?
We humans are emotional creatures however, and undoing eighty years of misinformation and fear tactics is no easy task. The old lies of the past – of cannabis-fuelled rampages, brain damage, and its status as a “gateway” drug – are going to be difficult to overcome. In response, the movement has laboriously collated goldmines of information that refute these myths, as well as argues for the legalization of cannabis from every single standpoint possible – be it economic, medicinal, moral, social or even religious. Again, to their credit, they spell out each argument concisely and unemotionally, and link to third-party articles and proof where necessary.
In the end, it all comes down to this: can #YesWeCannabis convince the nation – and in turn, convince legislators? With more States discussing legalization and the 2016 election looming, the stage is certainly set for history to be made.