Op-Ed: Medical Marijuana and the Status Quo

By Ryan D. Richmond

Ryan Richmond from Royal Oak, Mich. is a venture capitalist, commercial real estate professional and a board member of the Marijuana Patients Organization (MarijuanaPatients.org)

Monday, Jan. 17 — Some kind of interesting times we live in, don’t you think?

Local governments are broke … state governments are broke … federal government is broke … banks are broke … the general population is broke. The whole financial system is insolvent. Europe is getting dangerously close to a financial collapse. Yet we (and our elected officials) remain frozen while the “banksters” continue to manipulate the debit and credit system for their personal ends. Very, very scary times for those of us who make up the masses.

So what does that have to do with medical marijuana? A whole bunch. It’s a blueprint on how to stay in power — defend the status quo. Status quo is about continuing the benefits to those who have been rewarded in the past. Remember, this is an industry with suppliers and careers. That’s how old ideas keep making new money — don’t change a thing.

A researcher by the name of Herbert L. Packer wrote “Two Models of the Criminal Process.” Done in 1968, his research found that the justice process has two models to choose from: the Crime Control Model or the Due Process Model. Guess what model the strong-armed-forces use. Guess what model they tell fifth graders we have. Take a minute to educate yourself and watch a truly disturbing video with Bloomfield Township Supervisor Dave Payne and Police Captain Steve Cook. The power that Captain Cook is taking and the power that Supervisor Payne is conceding is dazzling. It’s like community leaders have forgotten how a democracy works. “Not to worry, the strong-armed-forces have it all under control; nothing to see here — move on.”

While the big splash in the news is about dispensaries, the medical marijuana industry is about patients, growers and caregivers. Dispensaries are just where buyers and sellers meet, like in a real marketplace. I can tell you first hand that I have experienced the terror unleashed by the Crime Control Model. Ask any patient, grower or caregiver and they will tell you that they sleep with one eye open at night. Maybe they planted too many seeds in order to harvest 12 plants, or maybe they are concerned about one of their patients re-selling their product, or maybe they worry about the stigma that the status quo just doesn’t want to go away.

How are the strong-armed-forces handling change? More raids on medical marijuana dispensaries … more communities refusing to allow zoning … the federal government suing states for your private medical marijuana records … politicians failing to voice their support for the 2/3 majority in favor of medical marijuana. Very, very scary times for those of us in the business.

A criminologist once wrote, “It all comes down to maintaining the status quo, i.e., maintaining power through the suppression of those that are easily marginalized.”

Take warning patients, growers, caregivers, dispensaries, voters; the status quo will have none of that.

Get unfrozen. It’s your duty in a democracy.

Ryan Richmond from Royal Oak, Mich. is a venture capitalist, commercial real estate professional and a board member of the Marijuana Patients Organization (MarijuanaPatients.org).