From the 70′s to the present, this article spans the workings of marijuana advocacy, and how that sector is slowly falling into obsolescence.
By JOEL WARNER | June 3, 2015
These days, there are cannabis trade associations, cannabis lobbying firms and cannabis corporate law groups, not to mention labor unions lobbying for marijuana workers rights. As marijuana policy guru Mark Kleiman noted at a Brookings Institution discussion in April, “[We are seeing] the slow morphing of the marijuana movement into the cannabis lobby. Man, I expect that when we have national legalization the law’s going to be written by the National Cannabis Industry Association …”
That growing cannabis lobby could prove problematic for longtime marijuana activists. For starters, some of the top talent who’ve long worked with NORML or other policy groups like Americans for Safe Access could turn their attention to private industry. “Advocacy groups might have a difficult time moving forward because a lot of the best people might be hired by the private sector,” said Brian Vicente, a Denver marijuana attorney and former co-director of Colorado’s marijuana legalization campaign. “If we have a brain drain, it’s safe to say that the advocacy groups will not be as effective, and that’s bad. I am not saying we are trying to poach people, but we have hired a bunch of people from MPP and DPA.”