When 70 Percent Support Marijuana Legalization, Starbucks Gets The Message

By Steve Elliott

A remarkable scenario played out in the American media recently, and beyond the import of the story itself is the quantum shift in public perception that it illustrates.

A pro-cannabis group based in Colorado called for a nationwide boycott of coffee giant Starbucks after activists spotted a Starbucks logo on the website of a virulently extremist anti-drug organization. After intense negative publicity ensued, Starbucks actually felt moved to issue a denial.

Once Mason Tvert of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recation (SAFER) called for the boycott, it took only a couple days until Starbucks denied funding the Colorado Drug Investigators Association (CDIA). Starbucks further said they officially took no position on the marijuana issue, one way or the other.

That doesn’t sound so remarkable until you realize that the very nonchalance, the need to be noncommital, is emblematic of the change, the bedrock reality in the politics of marijuana that has already occurred under our feet.

For those of us who can remember the zeitgeist of two or three decades ago — when anything anti-marijuana could expect a warm corporate embrace while anything pro-pot was anathema to any self-respecting company – this is an exhilarating change of atmosphere.

What has happened is that we are now so near the tipping point where the majority will favor legalizing marijuana, that change has begun to acquire a sweet whiff of inevitability.

In fact, some recent polls have already indicated majority support for legalization. Even larger majorities – in the 70 to 80 percent range nationwide – favor the legalization of marijuana for medical use.

Granted, one reason the Starbucks drama played out the way it did is undoubtedly the clumsiness of the anti-marijuana messengers involved.

The CDIA website, which was taken off the net just about an hour before Tvert’s news conference, was pretty ugly. It featured the slogan “Death On Drugs” and a Grim Reaper rappelling from a helicopter.

The problem was it also featured several corporate logos, including the familiar Starbucks symbol — apparently being used without corporate permission.

Sure, it’s pretty sad for an organization to claim corporate sponsorship where none exists. But the fact that now it’s anti-marijuana organizations doing this – and being brushed away by the corporations themselves – is part of the unfolding drama of marijuana’s ascendancy in public perception.

This is the sixth article in a new daily series on News Junkie Post known as the Progressive Unity Project. Each day, there will be a new article published from the perspective of the environment, labor, LGBT, immigration, science, legalization, or secularity. About the weekly contributor on LegalizationSaturday:

Legalization Saturday
Steve Elliott, a journalist since the 1980s, is based near Seattle, Washington.

He worked for newspapers in Alabama and Mississippi before moving to the West Coast in 1999. While living in the Los Angeles area, Elliott edited two trade magazines, Business Fleet and F&I Management and Technology, until 2004.

Steve Elliott has written extensively for the S.F. Weekly, Eyes On Obama, and OpEd News. He now edits the Village Voice Media cannabis site, Toke of the Town. Steve online:   Twitter Digg

Editor’s Note: Please follow The News Junkie Post on Twitter.


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