Dear stoners around the country,
We need to talk. Let me start by saying that, personally, I love you guys. You’re a hilarious bunch in so many ways, and never have I met an unfriendly stoner. It’s a family united by a single, wonderful plant. I like that. I wish I could say the same for everyone, though. You all do know we’re still looked down on, right? Yes, even the patients.
Sure, for some of us, it is illegal–after all, marijuana is still contraband in the eyes of the federal government. But those of you in California, Michigan, other states, and all of us here in Colorado have the privilege of decriminalized pot for medical purposes. (The key word there? Privilege.) Still, pot smokers around the country–even in California–are viewed as worthless non-citizens who deserve no rights. Much of the country still sees us in the same light as crack addicts.
Of course, you should already know this. Just follow the news: Bills crop up in every state with medical marijuana legislation which treat patients as second-class citizens. The thing is, these bills don’t target patients, though the lawmakers may not know it themselves. No, the real “victim” of these bills is the pot smoker without a prescription, or the “patient” whose problem really doesn’t necessitate a license. The average legitimate MMJ patient has no reason to worry about these “anti-pot” bills.
Why not? Because they’re just regulations, and drugs should be regulated. To be fair, some of them are a bit harsh or oddly specific; however, in their defense, this is a completely new set of laws we’re dealing with. There’s no real U.S. precedent for regulating marijuana. We’re not yet at the point where the government can draft laws that make all the stoners happy. Will we ever be? I hope not.
You heard me right: I hope we never make all the stoners happy. I’m not talking about law-abiding patients, nor am I singling out hippies or “weird people.” (And, for the record, I consider myself one of those “weird” people.) No, I’m addressing the Cheeches and Chongs out there. The Spicolis. You guys are making us look bad. You’re giving ammo to the people who say that weed makes people burnouts and poor members of society.
Now, hear me out. Like I said, I love you guys. I was one of you once upon a time. I’m not asking you to turn off that Grateful Dead album or throw away your hacky sacks. I don’t want you to stop laughing at nothing in circles or start hating Adult Swim, either. All I want is your help. Prove to the anti-pot crowd that our beloved plant isn’t just smokable laughing gas.
How can you do this? It’s pretty simple, really. Treat marijuana with a little more respect. I don’t have a problem with a little herbal recreation–unfortunately, I’m the exception, not the rule. Stop giving strains names like “green crack” and “AK-47.” Really? Really, guys? Is that the best you can come up with? (And people wonder why potheads are thought of as violent and marijuana is called addictive.)
Love the herb. Don’t tell people how great it is and how it’s not everything they say it is. Show them those things. (No, I don’t mean force people to smoke it.) Lead by example. Slapping “Legalize it!” stickers everywhere isn’t changing anyone’s mind. Let the patients tell their stories; let people learn how helpful the plant is as a medicine. Show people it’s not just some silly drug from the hippies, but that it’s an incredible herb that serves as a painkiller, appetite stimulant, sleep aid, mood elevator, and stress relief.
How many of you can say, honestly, that you represent pot smokers in a positive light? I don’t just mean being peaceful, otherwise law abiding citizens, either. I mean as productive members of society; I mean the kind of people you would never guess smoke weed. These are the people who should be representing marijuana to the public. And you know you’re probably one of those people. Sadly, people look at the burnouts and do-nothings. They don’t see people like me (a small business owner and proud pot smoker.) I don’t mean that we’re better than the perceived burnouts. But you know as well as I do that other people think that way.
Remember what Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Spread peace and educate; that’s what the plant is all about.