marijuana public policy
marijuana public policy

The Individual vs. The Tribe - How to Properly Shape Cannabis Social and Public Policies

What is the best way to shape future cannabis public policies and social reform?

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Tuesday Jun 8, 2021

The Individual vs. The Tribe – How to Properly Shape Cannabis Policy & Other Social Policies

marijuana public policy

Within my heart of hearts – I’m an anarchist in the literal sense of the word. In the literal sense, it basically means “life without rulers”.


However, governments would like you to believe this would lead to “chaos” & disorder, and they may be right in certain situations. But it is rarely the case as when we decent back to our genetic roots as the “Great Apes” that we most certainly are – the strongest dominates over the weak and order is implemented.


While idealistically “anarchy” seems like a novel idea – the truth of the matter is that while the human experience is an individual process – human survival depends on the tribe.


This is where the anarchist inside of me begins to conflict with my genetic imperative of survival. In fact, if it wasn’t for our “tribal behavior”, humanity may not have risen to the status we claim today; The Indomitable Alpha Species of Earth.


Some of you may be wondering, “This is all fine Reg, but what the hell does this have to do with weed?”


Great question!


What we call “society” today, in its most authentic form is just a large fucking tribe. A cosmopolitan tribe of mixed tribes that are forced to coexist within the imaginary borders placed on the earth and enforced by a nuclear arsenal.


The laws you follow are the requirements of pertaining to the “tribe” and as many an angry redneck may have shouted, “If you don’t like it here – YOU CAN LEAVE!”


This is the unspoken rule of tribalism and it’s 100% correct. Of course, depending on the tribe, the tribal norms differ significantly.


Depending on how your individualistic idealization of self, meshes with the generally perceived value system of your tribe – you will either be in favor or in conflict with these norms.


For example, in the United States recently, the Tribe of Texas decided that barely legal strippers (18-20 years old), are considered children under the state constitution. This because the tribe perceived that this was a means of addressing human trafficking.


From the individualist perspective – the anarchist – this is a direct infringement on the individual rights of barely legal strippers to use their bodies as means to make money.


If it’s all consensual – there’s no beef within the anarchist paradigm.


How all of this has to do with weed!


Now that we’ve established the dynamics of tribe vs individual, we can begin to talk about cannabis.


Cannabis is avalanching towards full legality worldwide. It’s inevitable that the tribe will have to adopt cannabis rules seeing that for nearly eighty years the global tribal consensus was – It’s bad!


Just goes to show that the Tribe isn’t always right. This is why the individual acts as a counter-balance to the shitfuckery.


Currently, the people who are deciding the “rules of the game” for cannabis are NOT cannabis users but representatives of the “tribe”. The problem is that there aren’t many representatives for recreational cannabis users.


The vast majority of tribal representatives are advocating for medical purposes. While there are some advocating for a more laid back approach – from what we’ve been seeing with legalization worldwide, most countries opt for controlling the market.


Canada for example has a very strict system in place which created a large black market that is circumventing the rules of the tribe.


This will happen in the US as well if the federal government wishes to impose too many restrictions on the individual’s right to grow and consume cannabis.


Yet, we can’t also have a free for all. After all, cannabis is a hot commodity and whenever you bring money into the equation – things can get hairy!


The Delicate Balance of Tribe Vs Individual!


This is where the need of the Tribe becomes even more apparent. The Tribe – or our “Social body” requires the existence of certain norms in order to remain functional.


These norms require the individual to sacrifice some of their inherent liberty in order to make space for the “collective” to exist.


When the “tribes’ needs” far outweigh the needs of the individual – tyranny happens. Extreme cases include Nazism, Ethnic Cleansing, attacking minorities, etc.


You can think of these attacks as the white blood cells used to protect the integrity of the body (the tribe). In relation to cannabis, the “white blood cells” are the police enforcing anti-cannabis legislation passed by the representatives of the tribe.


These protocols were established because the “tribe” at one time believed cannabis to be detrimental to it – or at the very least certain aspects of it (health, the children, etc).

However – with such a far overreach of tribal powers – the individuals banned together to form a new paradigm – one of inclusion, one of freedom.


And once more, the balance is beginning to shift towards that of individual rights. The question being, how much liberty should the tribe grant the individual in order to maintain or strengthen the integrity of the tribe.


This is the question that should be at the forefront of all cannabis legalization efforts. Without this central question sitting at the core of all efforts – we’ll simply see rogue corporatism infiltrate this industry like it has so many others in the past. 


It is not enough to simply legalize cannabis – it’s vital to define what it means from an individual’s perspective.


How to find balance?


The other day, I spoke to one of my mentees and we were broaching the idea of materialism. I asked, “What do you think about making a lot of money?” of which the person responded, “I don’t really care about money!”


This seemingly altruistic position is common in people seeking to enhance their progress within a more spiritual path. However, I subscribe to another school of thought.


If you believe to be spiritual then it is your duty to learn how to generate wealth lest you leave the accumulation of wealth in the hands of psychopaths willing to destroy the earth for the almighty dollar.


Similarly, in order to find balance within cannabis legalization, the individual cannabis user requires representation.


I’m not saying run for President – I am saying, that it’s time to get involved within local politics to shape the cannabis policies in your area. The individual needs to be represented within these “tribal meetings” and unfortunately – those who are fighting for cannabis within congress and the senate, aren’t stoners themselves.


This brings us to the final question – which one of you reading this will stand up to represent your fellow cannabis activist in your local government?





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