Activists vs Entrepreneurs

It is not the strongest, nor the fastest who survives; it is the one better able to adapt to a quickly changing environment.

What happens when a social movement that has been traditionally lead by activists, and who against all odds and under the threat of jail and prosecution, manage to produce the change they have always wanted to see?

That is exactly what is happening right under our noses with the legalization of cannabis and the creation of a legal and legitimate market. So much so that cannabis is now been referred to as: “The Next Great American Industry”.

The End Justifies the Means?

Activists are moved by a deep desire to make a positive impact in the world through the change of a certain public policy. They are not driven by profits or the size of a market, but by their heart’s desire.

Entrepreneurs on the other hand can spot an economic opportunity from a mile away when they see one. For them, rising money in order to make some signs and march for a change makes no sense. They consider the best way to impact society in a positive way is through economic development: Building a business that is professional, profitable and politically engaged.

Social Change or Profit

The new cannabis industry has brought to the surface a very particular dynamic not yet seen in such clear terms. Take for instance the case of GW Pharmaceuticals, a large company that makes a medicine from cannabis called “Sativex” but who is opposed to all legalization efforts.


Or take what is happening in Ohio: A small group of very wealthy investors putting together a ballot measure to legalize cannabis but that has been written in a way that will create a monopoly only for them.

Capitalism at its core calls for the maximization of profits, the ever increase of market share and the displacement of competition. In the long term a mature markets gravitates towards an oligopoly or a monopoly, where one of very few firms dominate the market.

In the case of the cannabis legalization we are seen the appearance of a huge market with not big players and the possibility of huge profits. Almost overnight the activist is been replaced by the entrepreneur and the social change takes a back seat to the profit making.

Fast, Strong and Adaptable

Darwin said it very clearly in its book “The Evolution of the Species”: It is not the strongest, nor the fastest who survives; it is the one better able to adapt to a quickly changing environment.

The great cannabis savanna lays right in front of our eyes, and sooner or later we will see how the game of activists and entrepreneurs play out in the world of cannabis legalization.




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