“Efficacy” \?e-fi-k?-s?\ noun: The power to produce a desired result or effect. This has to be one of our world’s greatest words. We get up most mornings with a list of tasks to get through, but it is the days when we wake up filled with a sense of impending accomplishment, firm in the knowledge that we have the power to shape policy—maybe even change the world—that we feeltruly great.

The last several years have not been great for cannabis. The Michigan courts have been unhelpful, the legislature decidedly more than unhelpful, the administration absent and the municipalities lost. One after another, opportunities to repair and progress have withered while our state and her growing patient population have languished in a murky and untenable stagnation that, at times, feels eternal. It is this overwhelming feeling of dread and hopelessness that can paralyze even the most hopeful and energetic of advocates into immobility.

This is right where they want you. You know who “they” are. They cite antiquated gateway drug crap like, “it’s science.” They condescend and snicker and make really lame pot jokes. They don’t want you in their backyards. And they hope that if they just ignore you long enough you will go away.

“Bad things happen when we aren’t looking, when we assume there is no way the we can make a difference, when we are content to let somebody else carry the burden of progress and change.”

It is in these times that we absolutely must remember the impact of active participation on the political process. Effective citizenship doesn’t require money, a specialized degree or the skill of a great orator. Personal connection, sincere narratives and genuinely putting elected officials on the spot still make the greatest difference. We are, each of us, constituents that have not only the right, but the responsibility to demand accountability and action from our elected representatives. We can call our state representatives, meet them at their offices or attend local coffee hours. We can educate our communities, and demand that our colleagues stop asking us when something will change and get involved.

Bad things happen when we aren’t looking, when we assume there is no way we can make a difference, when we are content to let somebody else carry the burden of progress and change. It is conveniently easy to lean on the excuse that we are too busy with our own lives, that it will somehow all magically get done, and let others make the personal sacrifices and take the professional risks that activism too often requires.

Fitting then, that while we have enjoyed our eighth Ann Arbor Hash Bash since the MMMA passed in November 2008, we remember the very great power a determined group of individuals had to change Michigan’s future because they never stopped believing they could, and take from that both a sense of hope and a sense of our own efficacy, that we, each of us, has the power to advance medical cannabis policy in Michigan.

Happy 420, Michigan. Now go call your Senator.


About the Author: Denise Pollicella practices, among other things, cannabis law in Michigan. No part of this article should be construed as legal advice.

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