I’ve always been for the underdog; whether it’s in sports, movies, politics, or even the people around me. Being an underdog comes with a natural humility and sense of identity and purpose that “overdogs” seem to lack. Underdogs stand for what they think is right, no matter how at odds it is against the established norm or tendencies. Underdogs are usually (but not always) able to see the ‘forest for the trees’ and are willing to wage a seemingly unwinnable war against far greater powers. A little “David v Goliath”-type situation.
Cannabis has been playing its underdog-dealt hand for decades now. What was once viewed as a mainstream and important plant with multiple uses and benefits, cannabis was then co-opted by individuals, businesses, and politicians who labeled it as a harmful drug with no benefits – all out of self-interest and economic gain. Paper > Hemp. Pills > Cannabis. Prison > Individual liberty. Almost every other vice > Cannabis.
But now, waves are being made and people are warming up to the idea that weed might not be as harmful as they were told for all those years. Current and ex-football players are coming out of the closet about their cannabis use as a form of pain management. There are estimates that nearly half of all current NFL players use cannabis. This is putting pressure on the NFL to think about adapting its banned-substances rules. Parents who have kids suffering from epilepsy, cancer, and other horrific diseases are turning to cannabis as an effective and harmless remedy. Military veterans suffering from PTSD and other ailments are finding that cannabis is the most effective treatment in battling their war-borne illnesses. To many cannabis users/enthusiasts, this is old news – something we’ve known to be true for a while. But the real turning point comes when people who are ‘on-the-fence’ see one thing – money.
I hate that it takes money and profits for people to come around on things. But that’s what makes this engine run, and boy is the weed business’ engine running. After pulling in $4.6 billion in 2014, US cannabis sales topped $5.4 billion in 2015. Some are predicting that 2016 will see upwards of $6.7 billion worth of revenue brought in from marijuana sales. This has heads turning, and might be the thing that finally pushes legalization (and the stigma associated with cannabis) over the edge. That’s the nice thing about capitalism – if it makes money we’ll find a way to make it work.
No matter what happens with the fate of cannabis, and no matter how much money it brings in year after year, we have to hold on to that underdog mentality of how we got here in the first place. We have to remind ourselves that we’re doing this for the morally right reasons, not just the ones that make money.
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