I was eating dinner last night at a decent restaurant with my family. In the booth right next to us two older couples began discussing “medical marijuana.” One of the elder gentleman began complaining about how “It is being grown in the national forests. You cannot even go into them anymore because they are full of booby traps.”
This is a common news story to strike fear in the public, and to be honest, there is an issue with the pollution and environmental degradation by some large weed grows on public lands. But the problem is that this argument is always framed in the context of it being the weed’s fault; that somehow this plant was responsible for all of this bad behavior. The reality is that this is just plain wrong.
After I was finished eating and getting ready to leave they were still having this discussion. I stopped at the end of their table and politely said, “You know. If they just taxed and regulated this marijuana stuff, no one would grow it in the national forests. I mean, nobody brews beer or grows wine grapes on public lands.”
Now here is where things always get interesting. I have put myself out there in basic agreement with their problem, but I gave them a different perspective on a solution to that problem. Instead of it being the problem of weed, it is a problem with the law. See how that worked? “If weed was not illegal, we would not have that problem.”
These were definitely folks that did not “like weed.” But like with most people who do not necessarily like weed, they do not necessarily hate it either. What they hate are the problems created by prohibition. The criminal black market decreases their public safety. Illegal guerrilla growing creates nuisance and property damage issues. Teenagers having easy access makes them frustrated. Everyone using “medical cannabis” are not seriously ill, like they voted for. And the list goes on….
But these are all byproducts of prohibition. Weed is lucrative on the black market because of prohibition, which brings in criminal elements. Illegal and clandestine grows that decrease quality of life are products of prohibition. If grows were 100% legal, no one would do them in national forests, or spare bedroom. Kids have easier access because weed dealers do not ask for ID; it is much harder for kids to get booze. In the current “medical only” limited prohibition environment, it is natural that people may fudge their illness with a doc to avoid prison…duh.
After my discussion with these folks they were nodding in agreement, and at the very least had a much different view on things when I was done interrupting their meal.
These are all points that are easy to bring up with people who do no really like weed. It is easy to redirect their misplaced anger back at the real issue, which is the evils of prohibition and the failures of a system out of control. Too often, we shy away from these conversations, as not to rock the boat or make a big deal of things. We have been conditioned to think of ourselves as lesser people because we love weed, and until WE take the time and energy to hold our ground and defend our honor, WE will continue to be treated as lesser people. WE are not. WE are awesome.
Take control of the situation. The next time a person gets a lippy about how “marijuana users are ruining society” or how “marijuana being legal is a bad idea,” STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND SCHOOL THEM. There is no other way. You cannot walk away and let those poor uneducated and misguided people continue to poison the well and lie about our beloved weed. You have to take a minute to refute them on every point and make them feel bad about being such a jerk.
If we can continue to beat down these bullshit positions by talking to people who do not like weed about why weed is awesome, and why prohibition is the problem, this thing will be over in no time. If we continue to be silent and passive when others attack cannabis, then we should not be surprised if this stupid prohibition continues for another decade.
I am not having that….
So join me in continuing to get the word out. Make a commitment to never walk away from a conversation (even if like me you are not actually in the conversation) where people are speaking ill about weed. NEVER let a disparaging statement go unchallenged. Never let some idiot prohibitionists get the last word. Make your points and make them well.
Spread the word that taking people to jail for weed is not working. If we all speak up and say it loud enough and proud enough, eventually we will change the narrative and change the world.