Integrity Lost: Part 5

An expose in the search for truth regarding the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, and the convoluted efforts to upend patients' rights

    icon Sep 06, 2011
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Integrity Lost:
An exposé in the search for truth regarding the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, and the convoluted efforts to upend patients’ rights
Part 5: Our duty as responsible citizens
Although many dispensaries exercised good judgment and restraint at their facilities, unfortunately, others did not. The same holds true for groups and individuals that approach the issue from positions other than distribution.
The in-your-face tack is never well received. Pot leaf posters on signs and in the windows of storefronts, large highway billboards advertising in bold lettering for “Medical Marijuana Certifications” followed only by a telephone number, and grow shops using corny Cheech & Chong parodies don’t cast a very positive light in the eyes of the general public. 
These types of things are sure to invite some level of backlash and only serve to cheapen the issue. A more subtle approach would undoubtedly bring about a greater level of approval through time. Probably the simplest ways to gain public acceptance and support is to be unimposing and not draw unnecessary attention.
You can leave the footprint of a butterfly and no one would notice, or you can leave that of an elephant… For example, in Saginaw, one of the first centers to open up chose to locate very near an elementary school and immediately displayed a large pot leaf banner out front. In turn, they drew instant criticism from city officials, neighborhood groups and school officials. Feeling pressure, city leaders felt they had no choice but to respond. Had the operators used a bit of discretion they could possibly still have a functioning compassion club, and with little or no fanfare.
As seen in other states, there are significant growing pains inherent to this whole process, and progress has indeed taken time. California’s law has been on the books since 1996 and continues to evolve to this day.
Expecting and thereby attempting too much, too quickly will undoubtedly draw an equal and perhaps greater response from your opponents, which we’re seeing now in most Michigan communities. The adage, “Patience is a virtue,” has deep meaning when dealing with something so radical given our very long history of total prohibition.
Above all, drug law reform activists should appreciate what a determined group of people are capable of accomplishing, regardless of their numbers. The same holds true in the case of those who are intent on undoing what has so far been achieved. Never underestimate your opponent, even if you enjoy majority public support.
Although being 100% behind the efforts to provide for and protect medical marijuana patients as well as the idea of completely legalizing cannabis, I have a sense of awareness that in the end, it’s not often what you do but the method in which you do it that ensures your success. My mentor, Robert Martin at The Review, reminds me of that fact on a regular basis. 
Viewing things through eyes other than your own helps to achieve a much broader perspective, and that advice applies to both sides of any issue.
Next up: In the rear view; who were the “Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Kids”?

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