I try to never sugar coat things for people. Why? Because I find it only makes it that much more difficult on them when the truth comes to the surface. We are all adults here. You do not need me to coddle you and tell you everything will be okay. If you want to have that conversation call your mother.
Let’s start with folks outside of the weed movement. Our communities are filled with people who are “okay with weed being illegal.” Due to years of conditioning that weedheads are scofflaws and criminals, we often let people’s rhetoric go unchecked. Sometimes out of “respect” or sometimes because we are just too lazy to have a confrontation and reveal we are the stoner in the room.
Don’t do that any more. Our silence is their victory.
Challenge people’s position if they want to make cannabis users lesser people, or if they try to make weed out to be something evil. Do not give them a pass. Step right up and say “I like weed and I am a good person. Your position on cannabis is inaccurate and frankly, it is offensive.” Put them on notice. Quite being passive and letting this prohibitionist dialogue make the rounds without pushing back.
The time for being “nice” is long gone. We have spent the last few decades being nice and all we have gotten for it is a bloated and evil prison system that sucks up poor and minority folks at alarming rates, and a system that ruins their lives over weed and other drugs. When you wonder if you should say something, think about the poor kid getting pocket checked for his weed and hauled off to jail right at that moment because that happens nearly every hour of every day in this nation. That should make you angry. We are locking up our friends and neighbors for weed, and it is no longer acceptable.
It is our duty to make those who support these policies feel like complete shit. We need to make those who believe in the drug war myths, and who still spew the ignorant hyperbole of yesterday, feel like outcasts. Those views should no longer be welcome in our society, and it is up to us to demand that it stop now.
Being nice has gotten us nowhere fast. Begin telling people that it is no longer okay to treat us like criminals, or to search our property, or take our kids, or fire us from our jobs, or to treat us like lesser citizens because we like a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant that has harmed no one.
Within our own circles we also have a lot of work to do. Our ranks are often cluttered with folks who are either just really stupid, or who have ill intentions to use our cause as a stepping stone to their fame and/or fortune.
There is a concerted effort to keep confrontation to a minimum in this industry, as people feel that any issue that may arise shines a bad light on our movement. But when we fail to confront issues, we allow for chaos to rule the day.
Don’t do that any more. Our silence is also our approval.
When people exploit our issue and use it to take advantage of others, or to sell their goods, we all lose. Not only is the message muddled, but our credibility is also tarnished. People say, “See. This whole industry is full of people like that. This is not about freedom or rights. It is just about drugs and money.” The good nature folks who have dedicated their life to this cause and plant are lumped in with the cannabis idiot circus because we have decided that being “nice” is easier than making waves.
So I have made it a point to have that difficult conversation within the movement, as well. It is not always easy, but often necessary. I have dedicated a lot of hours of my life to making weed legal for adults to use as they please, and I take personal offense to those who want to make that more difficult for me by exploiting the message and cause for their own personal gain.
I am the one who has to show up at City Council meetings and explain that this bullshit is not representative of our movement and industry. I have to justify your behavior and action to the masses, and try to explain why we are all not full of shit because of what you do. It is me who has to write letters to journalists to give the other side of the story when you have outright lied and inflated your position. It is us here on the ground who gets to clean up the mess left behind by your lofty ambitions and shitty planning.
So forgive me if my “nice” is turned off. I can not stomach standing by while you shit all over the chess board again.
Those who question my commitment to this movement because of my failure to be “nice” are likely not part of this movement at all.