Why I say "WEED"

Some people have wondered why I chose to begin using the word WEED so prominently, instead of the more “correct” terms cannabis or marijuana. That is easy….because WEED is cool.

Cannabis can be called many things, but most popularly it is called weed. By a long shot, the culture and society we live in has chosen the term “weed” to describe the cannabis plant in the context of it being used for enjoyable and adult uses, and even in the context of medical marijuana. WEED is a disarming term that is commonplace in our marketplace of ideas.

Nobody says, “My brother ingests cannabis.” Even a person far away from the cannabis culture knows that their brother “smokes weed.” That is the most common phrase for cannabis consumption in our society, and our community does a disservice to itself by not embracing this term more. We choose to try to confuse the issue, and in the same breath we seem like we are hiding something, when we choose to get all technical on people with the term cannabis. Are there places where that term is appropriate? You bet. Is a casual conversation discussing the failures of our nation’s policies on weed the place for that strict clinical term? In my opinion it is not.

I used to be on the “only say cannabis” bandwagon. I have lobbied many public officials over time and have had many conversations where the term cannabis was entirely appropriate. But I have also had that conversation with the neighbor down the street where I began rattling off the term cannabis over and over and have actually had the person stop me and say, “we are talking about weed, right?”

That is the issue. When we try to take this seemingly higher road position we often fail to reach our target audience. MOST of our society is not familiar with the term cannabis as a commonplace term for marijuana. Both the terms cannabis and marijuana are not simple and easy to digest words. They carry certain connotations in different circles, and can either come off as too aloof in their presentation, or often can bring reactions more accustomed to a rehab counselor than a person having a simple discussion about weed.

I say weed because I think people understand that more clearly. I do not think weed is a derogatory term by any means. I think it is an endearing term that embraces the real battle this plant has endured. Check out this definition for the term “weed:”

(noun) Any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted

A troubled plant that grows profusely where it is not wanted. That sounds exactly like cannabis to me.

I think the term WEED is a great term. But my real decision to outright embrace the term came after a discussion amongst my peers. The debate went something like this…

I do not call up a friend and ask him if he is “consuming cannabis.” When I speak to people I like about marijuana, I use the term weed. Why? Because it is a short, lively, and to the point way of getting them to know what I am talking about. “Hey, I am about to smoke some weed. you want to get in on this?” That is a real life conversation. That does not seem rehearsed or that it is a manufactured term aimed at masking the guilt of the slang term “weed” in fear of seeming like we are having too much fun. Well, I am having fun; and I am not going to let a bunch of possible haters looking down their nose at me because I use the term weed change that, or how I communicate with those in my community.

Here is a newsflash for you…any person who thinks you are a lesser person because you said the term “weed” instead of “cannabis” likely hates them both anyways and could give a shit what you call it in all reality. Weed has real enemies out there, but we are not going to reach them because we all pretend to straighten up and fly right in our lingo.

In the meantime, we risk sounding too stuffy or inpersonal in our approach when we use these out of place formal terms in everyday conversations with our friends, family, and neighbors. It just does not sound right in its delivery. It seems like a manufactured term in an everyday conversation and I think that can put people on the defensive. When you are just having a simple conversation about why smoking weed is not a big deal, and how taking people to jail for weed is ridiculous, chances are you want people to digest that message clearly and frankly. You want to hammer that point home as easily and openly as possible. If our society has embraced the term weed for describing casual cannabis use, then we should use the term that is most common to make our argument against weed prohibition. It does us no good to confuse the situation by speaking in unclear terms.

I also like the word weed. I think weed is a good word that is fun to say. WEED, WEED, WEED, WEEED, WEED…….I smoke weed. It makes me feel better and makes my world a better place. Ya’ dig? You can call it whatever you want…that is your prerogative. But do not be surprised if I call you on it if you ask me if I want to “smoke a cannabis cigarette with you.” I might even call you a narc. LOL.

I am with Snoop and Wiz on this one…..”SO WHAT? WE SMOKE WEED….”


Stay Classy

As a weed activist, it is easy to let the world get the better of you. You are fighting an uphill battle that makes little sense to any rational thinking person. Here is a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant that makes people laugh and enjoy their world more, and we take people to jail for it. While at the same time we allow people to buy gallons of dangerous booze at any local convenience mart. It is enough to drive you nuts.

Often in dealing with people concerning this issue you will find intolerant, uneducated, and sometimes just terrible people who have drank the kool-aid on cannabis prohibition. They are sure weed is evil and that it can kill you. They likely have an ex-husband or brother/sister who had drug problems that affected their lives and they have a hard time holding people they care about responsible for their actions, so it is just easier for them to blame weed. Of course…weed did it. Why didn’t I think of that?

The point is that you are dealing with a lof of irrational thinking that is masked as legitimate debate and argument. It just is not any more. The argument against cannabis is far more flimsy and unrealistic than the one for, which is why people are coming around in record numbers to the idea of legalizing weed for adults.

But no matter how off the rails a person is on the crazy train of cannabis prohibition, it is important to STAY CLASSY. Do not stoop into their level of evil or ignorance. You are better than that. You have truth and justice on your side. Some people you may never reach, but do not let them knock you off your game.

If all of us weed activists continue to tear down the walls of prohibition daily by having rational and meaningful conversations with those in our community about ending prohibition we CAN move this mountain. But we must stay classy and keep our heads clear in order to achieve this success. We cannot continue to humor those who lie and distort to make the case for prohibition.

Knowledge is the key to making the case for ending cannabis prohibition in any conversation. Know your stuff and change the hearts and minds of your neighbors with the facts, and make them forget their fear. Be the bigger activist and because you are on the right side of history the road will rise to meet you on your journey…

Phone Bank for Weed Freedom! Do your part to make history….

Here is a great way you can be part of the solution, no matter where you live. Help call voters inb Colorado to pass Amendment 64. Your voice, as a weed activist, can go a long way to assuring people that they are supported in their vote to legalize weed for adults to use. They need to hear from other rational human beings why it is time to end the disastrous policies of prohibition and vote for a more sensible solution. 

Below is a letter from the Amendment 64 campaign manager that tells about the volunteer effort. If you have the time and energy, and if you love weed and want to see it returned to being a safe, enjoyable and helpful resource for adults to have access to then do your part to make this happen.



Dear Weed Activist,

You can help legalize marijuana in Colorado no matter where you live, from the comfort of your own computer.

Just Say Now and the Amendment 64 campaign need your help contacting voters in Colorado to support marijuana legalization on Election Day. We’re organizing activists to call voters on weeknights and weekend afternoons over the next 2 weeks.

Can you sign up to call voters in Colorado sometime over the next two weeks? We’ll send you an email reminder 30 minutes before you’re supposed to start calling.

RSVP to make calls this week Oct. 2-7
RSVP to make calls next week Oct. 9-14


Start making calls right now!

Sorry, I can’t make calls – but I can chip in $5+ to help get out the vote.

Note that all call times are Mountain Time. Just Say Now will have staff on-hand and available during these times in case you run into any trouble or have questions.

Calling voters could not be any easier with our online phone banking tool: just login using Facebook, Twitter or your e-mail address and begin calling voters right away.

Even if you don’t live in Colorado, calling voters in support of Amendment 64 is a great way to get involved in reforming our nation’s marijuana laws. The more people we have calling voters, the better chance we have of success on Election Day.

Thank you in advance for your support.

In solidarity,

Brian Sonenstein
Campaign Director,
Just Say Now

Being better today than we were yesterday…

The epic battle for cannabis freedom was waged many years ago. Over the decades of cannabis prohibition, those charged with defending the honor of the cannabis plant have failed to win the war, and to return cannabis to its rightful place as a safe, enjoyable, and helpful resource. We have failed to stop the militarization of our police forces and the mass incarceration of our fellow man. We have allowed the propaganda of those who profit off of the drug war to overcome the sensibility of a nation and the world. To this point, we have ultimately failed.

That can be a tough pill to swallow. For those of us that have been standing around the cannabis reform water-cooler for many many years, it is difficult to understand that we have FAILED to make a real difference, and that we continue to see record number of arrests and people losing their standing in the community for weed. It is a terrible injustice that we have failed to put an end to before hundreds of thousands of lives have been destroyed.

Let that sit with you a minute. Let that resonate in that big brain of yours. Even the latest tracking polls that show 50% or more of Americans now support cannabis freedom still means we have failed to reach half of the people with a message that is really a no-brainer.

Cannabis prohibition is not working. There is more cannabis available than ever. We lock up 5x more people than the rest of the world, many for weed. We have wasted a trillion dollars. We have ruined the lives of innumerable good people. We have created a very dangerous black market for weed. We have enslaved mostly poor people in prison work camps with draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws for weed. Cannabis prohibition is EVIL.

That is a pretty easy argument to make that should convince MOST (like 80-90%) sensible-minded people that it is time to take a new direction. But we have failed to deliver that message apparently, as we can barely scrape the 50% mark.

So what has gone wrong? Why can our message get no traction? Where have WE gone wrong in making our case to the masses? Why can’t we figure out how to end this madness by making a clear and concise case for reform? How do we continue to let evil policies undercut the fabric of our society and bankrupt our communities?

If we can begin to understand where we have failed in the past, chances are we can right the ship and make REAL and MEANINGFUL progress in the future. We have the opportunity to make things right. We CAN do this. But it will take a good dose of truth and self-examination for us to understand where we have failed, so that we can not fail in the future. We could use a moment of self-purification in the cannabis movement. We need to take a moment to step back and acknowledge that we have messed some things up, and to develop sound strategies for not making those same mistakes going forward.

We CAN be better today than we were yesterday. It is possible; but if we continue to do the same shit for another few decades we should not wonder why it is not working. It will not work because we did not take the time to make it work. It will be us who are to blame for allowing ego and bravado to overcome justice and morality. It will be us who did not give enough, or dedicate ourselves enough, to make the difference.

We are better than this. The cannabis plant deserves better than the current situation will allow. If we are truly committed to making cannabis legal for adults to use as they please, then we have a lot of hard work to do. The task is far from impossible, but it will take great sacrifice and compromise within the community.

Yesterday is gone and there is no bringing that back. But today is here and we owe it to ourselves to take a closer look at what we MUST do to finally end this thing once and for all. I am open for that discussion, hopefully sooner than later. There is no “I” in freedom…..

Finding a Voice

One of the biggest issues facing cannabis users is the inability to rally around a message that is clear, concise, and to the point. Often, the argument by pro-cannabis forces is splintered by many different justifications for why we should make weed legal.

“Marijuana will bring in tax money. Marijuana enforcement is racist. Patient who use cannabis medicine are in harm’s way. We do not even want to get high any more- All we want is CBDs. We have to allow for weed if we allow for booze. The black market makes it easier for kids to get. Marijuana fuels the cartels in Mexico. It is just a plant. Weed should be like tomatoes. We waste too much money on enforcement of weed laws. Big Pharma is out to get us. Monsanto wants to take over the weed industry. Taxing and regulating is good. Taxing and regulating is bad. George Washington grew hemp. Fuel food, fiber. Jesus was a stoner. God made weed…..and the list goes on.”

It feels like we are schizophrenic in our approach. Like we have spent way too much time (decades) contriving all of these reasons for why weed should be legal; and most of the points are extremely valid and have a place in the overall debate. But the problem is we live in a world of soundbites and tweets. The world has become a place where you need to learn to speak in 144 characters, or less, to get people to listen.

So the worry is that all of the noise created by so many people pulling in different directions can be overwhelming, and confusing. It can make people not hear what we are actually saying.

I think what we are trying to say is that “Cannabis prohibition is wrong; it is evil; and it has to stop.”

I do not believe we need to justify that postion with a million reasons why either. It is pretty basic. We take people to jail, ruin their lives, take their children away, and create a society of oppressed people all because they like a safe and enjoyable plant. It is just wrong, evil, and has to stop…period.

If we can begin to deliver that message in concert to the masses, we will begin to see the progress we have all been working for for so long. When we can harness the power of social change by continuing to hammer home that people who promote and support cannabis prohibition are wrong, evil, and that they must be stopped, people will begin to wake up to that message. Most people do not enjoy being on the side of evil.

The cannabis community has a strong message. The fact that we have been under heavy attack in this godforsaken war for decades, and weed is still more popular than ever and more readily available than ever shows that we are resilient and that we are right and just in our cause. Let’s quit defending ourselves all of the time. Let’s go on offense.

We are not criminals; You people are just evil and mean-spirited. 

If we all began to deliver that message in sync and broadcast it in all of our communications with the world, we would see the needle continue to move in our favor; and in no time, social pressures would force the hand of our government to end this insane policy.

I can tell you that our approach of let’s throw everything to the wall and see what sticks is not working, and is more times than not confusing what we are trying to say. Whatever the message might be, I think the cannabis message needs to find a more collective voice to begin to really move forward at a more rapid pace.

Cannabis prohibition is wrong, evil, and must stop. 

Why I am a weed activist…

It is not like I woke up one day and decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life fighting for cannabis freedom (I hope not). My involvement with cannabis goes back decades. It was love at first puff. I remember the overwhelming sensation and the way it put my busy mind at ease. It was like I was finally home.

I was a ripe age of twelve standing by the creek behind my house with my best friend. We scored some weed from an older kid, and rolled our first poorly crafted joint, with two papers for good measure. I remember instantly the change of hemisphere for me. I was a Ritalin baby, and cannabis helped me to slow down and appreciate life a little more. But I knew at that instance that weed was a good thing, and that I would seek it out for the rest of my life.

I also was a terrible drinker. I spent many years trying to find a way to make the devil’s kool-aid work for me, but alas, it was not meant to be. After innumerable issues and arrests for drinking too much, or doing some dumb stuff while I was drinking too much, I decided that booze just was not for me.

Weed has never created those types of issues for me. Weed has always been a positive in my life, and has helped me to become a better person. It has allowed me to explore parts of my imagination and existence that I would likely have not even noticed. Weed can help me find my center, or it can help me to find a separation between myself and the hectic world.

The reality is that I did not choose to be a weed activist….weed chose me to be an activist for justice and morality.

You see, I love weed. I love it as an enjoyable resource. i love it as a medicine. I love it as a spiritual and meditative force. But more than all of that, I hate injustice and immorality. The fact that we continue to take people to jail in an act of mass incarceration is deplorable; It sickens me. We have used one of the greatest plants that the good lord ever created as a reason to arrest, imprison, and enslave mostly poor and minority people who are victims of our nation’s disastrous war on drugs.

Maybe you have never been in a jail. I have. It is depressing. The fact is that there are A LOT of people there for weed and other drugs. We have created a lucrative black market and have created an unprecedented level of income inequality, and then we wonder why poor people turn to selling drugs to get by.

They then become easy prey for the industrial prison complex to suck into their system with draconian mandatory minimum sentences, often for decades…for crimes that have no real victims. We have created an environment that harvests crimes and takes advantage of our society’s most vulnerable people. We should all be ashamed that we allow this to go one right under our noses and do nothing about it.

I am a weed activist because I have been a victim of overzealous enforcement of weed laws. I have had my car searched, been arrested, and have had my home raided because of my love for weed. It is ugly. It is unacceptable It has to stop.

We are better than this. We can no longer allow militarized police forces to imprison our family, friends, neighbors and fellow man for weed. It is not working, and it is insane policy.

So until we can right this terrible injustice in our communities and find a path to a more moral and right solution, I am a weed activist and I will do whatever it takes to make it so not another person has to experience pain, suffering, loss of standing, or shame for their right to use a safe, enjoyable and helpful plant. It is our duty to our fellow man to work hard to ensure cannabis prohibition, and the failed war on drugs, ends sooner than later.