“Smoke Weed, Just not Here”

“Smoke Weed, Just not Here”

How NIMBY sentiments are draining the advancement of the cannabis industry

As the cannabis industry continues to grow at an alarming rate. Such a booming economy calls for rapid market expansion. Moreover, Forbes has projected the global cannabis industry to exceed a few hundred billion dollars within the next decade. However, market expansion has seen pushback from a multitude of communities and legislations. Most of this pushback stems from uninformed (or misinformed) communities. How will these philosophies affect the future of the cannabis industry?

What does NIMBY Stand for?

NIMBY is an acronym for the phrase “Not in my backyard.” These are individuals, communities, organizations, or legislations that hinder the progression of a concept. In this case, cannabis is public enemy #1. NIMBY sentiments are often attached to conservative schools of thought and movement. 

The History of NIMBY in Cannabis

‘Not in my backyard sentiments relevant to cannabis date back an entire century. Most individuals refer to this period as the ‘Reefer Madness’ era. During the 1920s, the perspective on cannabis performed a complete 180°. Led by future head of the DEA Harry Anslinger as well as the founder of the New York Times, William Randolph Hurst, cannabis was the focal point of one of the largest propaganda campaigns ever seen. One common concept associated with the propagation of cannabis revolves around NIMBY sentiments.  In short, citizens would rather die before a drug like marijuana was massively accessible right up under their noses. The effects of these NIMBY concepts would continue to bleed into citizens and governments for the next 100 years. 

The Effects of NIMBY Philosophies in Cannabis

As aforementioned, the effects of anti-cannabis philosophies have trickled down in all facets of life since its prominent propaganda campaign at the turn of the 20th Century. Due to misinformation, some generations hold a special disdain for cannabis. Moreover, this generation became law enforcement officers, government officials, and even anti-cannabis advocates. Until recently, the anti-cannabis generation has been successful in hindering the advancement and accessibility of recreational and medical cannabis. The philosophies associated with NIMBY can also hinder the economical integrity and market expansion of a product or medicine.

Examples of NIMBY Acts in Prospective Cannabis Markets

One example of ‘not in my backyard’ sentiments in cannabis is Marin County, California. On paper, Marin County would appear to cannabis-friendly. However, this would become evident around 1996. Communities and entities formed against cannabis would prosper against individuals attempting to sell legal cannabis for adult consumption. This is likely to the wealthy demographic and conservative philosophies embodied by the residents of Marin County. In 2016, Marin County banned all cannabis businesses outside of companies delivering medical cannabis. Marin County, Ca. is pro-legalization of cannabis, just not in Marin County. 

The Problem with NIMBY Sentiments in Cannabis

Not in my backyard sentiments play a huge role in hindering the development of cannabis markets. Aside from the issues surrounding advancement, NIMBY philosophies are extremely hypocritical. Marin County is a prime example of the hypocritical nature of ‘not in my backyard’ sentiments. Values and political stances held by individuals (and organizations) ought to be universalizable. This means there should be a very high level of consistency associated with one’s value or stance.

Anti-Cannabis Concepts of the Future

‘Not in my backyard’ views have been a cornerstone to the advancement as well as the hindrance of cannabis since the Reefer Madness Era. Unfortunately, NIMBY philosophies are not expected to evaporate from all things cannabis. As the saturation of misinformation continues to become more commonplace, NIMBY things will surely continue to happen across the globe.

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