Unlike that elitist slacker ‘BoBo’ Brooks, I never smoked marijuana in high school. Tried it in college, but quickly decided that my personal cost/benefit ratio indicated I should stick with chocolate as the intoxicant of choice. But I’m glad to see, only forty years too late, “we” may finally be starting to cautiously disassociate “our” paranoia about DFHs and urban-dwellers corrupting the lily-white flower of suburban youth. David Sirota, at PandoDaily:
… “Marijuana has been illegal because of the perception of harm surrounding it — that’s how they made it illegal, that’s how it is illegal currently,” Tvert tells me in the shop’s bustling lobby. “Our opponents’ goal has been to maintain a perception of harm. So our idea has been to get people to understand that marijuana is not as harmful as they’ve been led to believe, and not as harmful as a product like alcohol that is already legal.”
Despite increasingly absurd attempts by the government’s drug-war apparatus to obscure the obvious truth, decades of medical and social science research on everything from physiological toxicity, to domestic violence to addiction has proven Tvert’s point that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol. But it was only a few years ago that Tvert’s colleague and future mentor at MPP, Steve Fox, happened upon a key political revelation in the reams of survey data about drug policy.
“He was looking at the polling and discovered that of those who think marijuana is safer than alcohol, 75 percent think it should be legal,” Tvert recounts as we wait behind a customer who is interrogating one of the shop’s staff members about THC and CBD content. “In other words, the number one indicator of whether or not you support marijuana being legal is whether you recognize it is safer than alcohol.”
From that revelation came the creation of the group headed by Tvert that was entirely focused on drawing the alcohol-marijuana comparison. Aptly named Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (aka SAFER), it was predicated on a two-step strategy.
“Rather than trying to increase the percentage of people who think marijuana should be legal, we simply tried to increase the percentage of people who understand marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, which would naturally produce an increase in the percentage of people who support legalization,” he says.
As we move up to the counter, the alcohol-marijuana comparison feels particularly relevant, even in the consumer experience. The staff’s explanation of the chemical content, sourcing, and organic profile of each strain of weed is much like the typically detailed lesson you receive when you get your growler refilled at one of this state’s many craft beer breweries. That analogous experience, in fact, may explain why Colorado was able to leapfrog seemingly more pot-friendly states to become the first in the nation to legalize cannabis….