With everything on the line and their immediate future at stake, medical marijuana advocates and MMJ professionals in San Diego went out with a whimper.
The city’s beleaguered medical cannabis community failed to muster up enough support for a proposal that could have put the industry back in business by regulating and taxing dispensaries. It wasn’t even close: The groups behind the proposed ballot measure gathered less than one-third of the number of signatures needed to get the initiative on the ballot this fall.
The measure was an effort to revive San Diego’s medical marijuana industry, which has pretty much been dismantled by city officials and the federal government over the past year. So one would think that everyone involved in MMJ in any capacity would come out in force to help the signature drive.
That apparently didn’t happen.
It’s not that there wasn’t enough support in the community. In fact, local voters last year supported the repeal of strict laws enacted on medical marijuana dispensaries. Rather, organizers said they had difficulty raising money and therefore could not bring on enough people to collect signatures, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
This underscores a bigger problem in the MMJ industry: lack of political involvement by cannabis professionals. The results in San Diego could have been different if the industry was more organized and united. It seems that the handful of existing dispensaries got involved in the effort. But what about ancillary MMJ companies, the people who ran shops that were forced to close and the employees who worked at those businesses? If they couldn’t contribute financially, they could have volunteered to gather signatures and spread the word. Some no doubt did, but not enough to make a difference.
A similar scene has played out in other MMJ states, where patients and cannabis advocates play a larger role in legislative issues than professionals. This must change going forward if the industry wants to win legislative and political battles.