Could marijuana be the cure that breaks the stranglehold of crony capitalism?
Reviled across the spectrum of political philosophies, crony capitalism is yet resilient, and poses a threat to the future of legalization.
Crony capitalism is the world’s principle governmental and business system. Monied elites hold sway, both as businessmen and their tightly entwined political clan, in controlling commerce.
This is the opposite of the “free” or “natural” market, in the sense of using unfair versus fair business practices. “Fair,” of course, is one of those words whose definition varies from person to person. For our purposes here however, I’ll define it as prospering by selling a better product, or at least by advertising it better. An unfair business practice is one where the owner prospers by conniving with lawmakers or bureaucratic regulators to write rules which either help them, or which hurt their competitors. Fair commerce inevitably results in lower prices for the customer.
Unfortunately, even now as our dream of the end of prohibition is at hand, cronyism raises its ugly head. It is moving rapidly into the legalized marijuana realm, whether medical, or “other.” Monied interests seek monopoly control. If we are not careful, cannabis will become a “vice” commodity like alcohol or tobacco, regulated by corrupt politicians, and sold by a small number of large corporations. We’re heading down that road.
But legalization activists *could* be the ones to turn this tide. Our success with marijuana could lead the way for everyone, from Occupy to the Tea Party, taking the battle all around the globe.
The key to everything is not putting up with over-regulation; specifically not allowing the right to “grow your own” to be restricted, nor the right to give it away freely to your friends.
A saving grace of our Movement is that prohibition for cannabis has gone on for 76 years, as opposed to the 13 for alcohol, allowing the culture of defiance to put down deeper roots. It also made the quest for freedom into more of a spiritual struggle against cultural oppression.
I know, in Massachusetts at least, a victory of this magnitude is our goal. The Bay State Repeal committee, which will be running the actual campaign for a voter initiative on ending prohibition, is devoted to making the ensuing rules as simple and least restrictive as we can. And to do it, if at all politically possible, without calling on any bureaucracy for a “licensing” scheme.
When we pull this off, it will be a model for the nation — and the world.
Op-Ed by Terry Franklin