What people do not understand, they fear. And what they fear, they destroy.

I believe I first picked up that nugget of wisdom from Nightbreed, a strange horror/thriller movie based on the Clive Barker novel by the same name with a soundtrack produced by Danny Elfman. (It was an 8th grade favorite). That statement uttered by the weird creature who couldn’t go out into the sun had a profound impact on me.

Clive Barker was surely not the first person to reach this conclusion, but the truth of this statement has stuck with me through the years, particularly regarding the motivations behind cannabis prohibition. Around the world, people have been living in ignorance about what the plant actually does. They have been fed a diet of fear about what the plant does, and have crafted unreasonable and cruel policies in attempt to eradicate this devil’s lettuce.

Medical cannabis, it would seem, has finally created a context in which hope for potential life-saving benefit outweighs fear of the unknown. As truthful information about cannabis’ health benefits has made its way into the mainstream, the US population has watched states “experiment” with legal regimes. As cannabis unknowns disappear, so does the accompanying fear which has sent countless good people to prison over the past several decades. There’s a reason states are quickly moving from medical to full adult-legal states: basically, the more you know, the more you grow – and vice versa.

Today, I would like to welcome self-identified Republicans to the majority of informed American populace when it comes to cannabis.

Gallup just released its annual poll on marijuana legalization, and has shown yet again a substantial increase in support on the issue:

“The latest figure, based on an Oct. 5-11 Gallup poll, follows shifts in the U.S. legal landscape regarding marijuana since Gallup’s 2016 measure. While still illegal at the federal level, the issue was featured on a number of state ballot initiatives in 2016, and with eight states and the District of Columbia having fully legalized marijuana, more than one in five Americans live in a state where they can legally enjoy use of the drug….

“This year for the first time, a majority of Republicans express support for legalizing marijuana; the current 51% is up nine percentage points from last year.

“As efforts to legalize marijuana at the state level continue to yield successes, public opinion, too, has shifted toward greater support. The Department of Justice under the current Republican administration has been perceived as hostile to state-level legalization. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions could find himself out of step with his own party if the current trends continue. Rank-and-file Republicans’ views on the issue have evolved just as Democrats’ and independents’ have, though Republicans remain least likely to support legalizing pot.”

Welcome to the majority, Republicans. Republican legalization supporters like Dana Rohrabacher and Ron Paul are no longer outliers. Now, let’s get some legislative action based on science rather than fear.

Keep informed of the global shift in attitude and policies when it comes to cannabis. Join the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) on the beautiful island of Kauai, Hawaii, this December 1-3. Can’t make it to Hawaii? ICBC has you covered for upcoming events in San Francisco, Berlin and Vancouver in 2018.