Many in the cannabis community have already begun to compare July 1, 2018 to a date from history celebrated around the world; November 9, 1989. It was on that day that the wall dividing a population crumbled to the ground. The Berlin Wall was torn down not only by the hands of men, but by the will of an oppressed people. The wall pitted one side of a city against a free world. The ever-present need for freedom and the pressure applied to those in power exploded in front of the world. We are approaching yet another landmark date with the legalization of cannabis next July. For we will see another wall come down as Canada becomes the first nation to fully embrace cannabis culture.
After the fall of Germany in 1945, the country split between the western allies and the Soviet Union. Although the city of Berlin was deep into Soviet controlled territory, it too was divided up into eastern and western halves. The communist party, who controlled the east, saw steep declines in population as residents fled to the west. Seeing control of the city slip away from them, the Berlin Wall was erected. It stood from 1961 until the last days of the cold war. The wall came down that night, not because of a change in policy or an act of goodwill. It came down because oppression is unsustainable, and in a free and open society, intolerable.
With cannabis there is no physical wall, only a wall of ideology. The first pieces of this wall started to chip away decades ago. Its ultimate destruction came about not with hammers and axes, but with science and medicine. It came about through innovation, and cooperation. The developments made in the field of medical marijuana have all but put to rest age old mythologies, implemented for a political purpose. Prohibition has stood in the way of progress, not just in Canada, but around the world. While Canada is busy tearing down walls, its neighbor to the south is preparing to ramp up the failed drug policies of yesteryear. The stark contrast between the US and Canadian attitudes towards personal freedom and cannabis highlights just how far ahead in the field Canada truly is.
When the thousands of East German citizens descended upon the wall, they were met by a solitary guard, who wasted no time notifying his superiors. When he told them of the massive crowd approaching, they believed him to be delusional or confused. There was no way the masses would rise up against them. Not on that kind of a scale. But hey were wrong. The one guard abandoned his post, and in doing so abandoned an ideology that had enslaved a population for decades. Cannabis has had its own storming of the gates, with the final brick set to fall next July.
The tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the legalization of cannabis both came from the same place. They came from deep within the human spirit. The need to be free expresses itself in a variety of ways. With cannabis, it is the freedom to choose safer and healthier methods of healing and achieving personal well-being. The effects of legalization will be as profound and far reaching as the new found freedoms of those liberated on that cold November day in 1989.
Cory Hughes is a former police officer turned cannabis cultivator and writer. After years of being on the wrong side of the law, Cory decided to hang up his badge and gun and move into an industry that truly has the potential of bringing people together. He has been an active part of the Colorado cannabis culture and has worked as a horticulturist in dozens of licensed grow operations. Cory now looks to share his knowledge of cultivation and horticulture with the world.