The Change Won’t Come With Legalization
On Saturday, May 4th, New York City hosted the Cannabis Parade and Rally. I had the honor to share a booth with Curved Papers and NORML. I had a great view of the stage and all the great stoner bands. The concert was first rate and the event was well attended. The police officers that stood guard in Union Square Park allowed public consumption of cannabis without tickets or arrests. The crowd was chill: people hung out together, and they enjoyed the music and the various advocacy speeches in between the bands.
Cannabis activists gave speeches on equity and allowing minorities, hurt most by the drug war, to profit from the coming legalization. I have the pleasure of having personal relationships with many of the speakers. Over and over, speakers discussed the pressing legal issues with prohibition and how the cannabis business is already being taken over by a select group of rich capitalists. Then something occurred to me, legalization is only necessary for the government.
I sell cannabis smoking games, so the idea of national legalization is pleasant, but far from necessary for my business. I have had the pleasure of having cannabis game nights in many places, some where recreational cannabis is legal, some where medical is legal, and some with full prohibition. My game sales are actually better in states where weed is illegal. How is this possible? I attribute it to several factors.
First, I live in NY, and only in the last several years has medical been legal. It makes sense that I would sell more games closer to home because I can do more local events. But then the statistics show superior sales in non-legal states. I believe it’s a way to show you’re a cannabis enthusiast, so more people want to show their friends what they believe in. Like Punk Rock in the 1970’s, cannabis is now a way to tell the government to go piss off! The culture of antisocial behavior has united pot lovers at the many underground weed events. There, my smoking games unites all types and allow individuals to show their true colors.
Secondly, legal states focus on selling ganja, not games. Games are cool and give the store a cool variety, but they need to sell themselves, no time is given to game demos. I believe that might change when consumption lounges start popping up. Then the idea of people smoking more on sight will be a good idea and a good business model. Unfortunately, up to this point, selling games in places far away is very expensive, so I must count on stores to do their own promotions. At this point, only one place has done a game demo.
Lastly, postage matters! What that means is that games that have to go far away cost more to ship. Having to FedEx or post something costs money. The addition of the postage cost makes it easier and cheaper to buy the game in person, so online sales don’t really compare to live selling events. So what does this have to do with legalization? Everything!
People smoke pot everywhere. The culture of cannabis is now common and most Americans believe pot is less harmful than alcohol. The health professions believe there are beneficial properties to cannabis and has legalized medical use in many states, with more legalizing each year. So why still illegal? Legal pot still doesn’t compare to the Black Market in both quality and price. In some legal states, legal flower will cost you twice what illegal weed does. So who does legal cannabis help?
The change in laws won’t come with just a march, it will come when citizens require their candidates to vote for decimalization. Then they can work on a recreational model that will benefit everyone, not only the few who have tons of cash. Our votes are the only way to change the government, and local elections matter. You. Me. All of us. We must demand it of our candidates, WE MUST! Only then will change come, and America will be better for it.