by Charles “Uncle Chuck” Duncan
When asked to list famous cannabis users you will typically hear names like Cheech & Chong, Jeff Spicoli, Eric Foreman, Tom Petty, Snoop and Dre. There are currently many, many more celebrities (and fictional characters) that can stand in the green spotlight more comfortably(numb) than any time in recent history. Not since the early days of jazz or the later days of the summer of love, have so many famous people been ok showing their love for the herb.
I sincerely hope that this time around we evolve and acknowledge those among us that consume cannabis and are not necessarily the stereotypical“stoner”. As an advocate, it would make my job a hell of a lot easier if cannabis didn’t have the “dazed and confused” stoner persona. Of course, that laid-back attitude also helped grow the many grassroots programs that have helped propel legal cannabis across the nation. It’s 4:20 somewhere, right?
There are many problems with letting stereotypes be accepted as fact. People who smoke cannabis are lazy and have brain damage. People with depression are always sad and should just get over it. People with anxiety just want attention. These are no more true than are the claims that cannabis is a gateway drug and leads to hard drug use. None of that is true. But people believe it. And a lot of times the same people I meet at one of my classes or out advocating. You can’t believe the misinformation that still exists out there. Stereotypes don’t help.
So how do we fight against misinformation? With facts. There is more data coming out every day to help you in informing the public on the benefits of cannabis. I would argue that informing people about the benefits and advocating for its open legalization are two separate battles. One to win the hearts and one to win the minds. It’s also extremely important that we do not provide rumors or sales hype as facts. This just feeds into the hands of those who still want cannabis to be controlled and/or illegal. Cannabis has enough beneficial properties that it shouldn’t need fake news.
Testimonials are also important. Not just in the fight for legal cannabis but also in the battle against stereotypes. We need to hear from the surgeons and scientists who use cannabis. We need to hear from the moms and dads who use cannabis and still keep the family running. The cannabis users who hold down a 40-hour-per-week, or more, job. Speak up. Grandma enjoys a joint before bed, you say? Awesome. Let’s tell people about it.
Like announcing you are gay (or a vegetarian), announcing you use cannabis might shock people in your family or circle of friends. But it’s time to take a deep breath and inhale some cannabis education classes, like the ones I give at theuccc.com or at your local dispensary. Combine that with your personal experience and get out there and tell the world that you use cannabis and it helps you live your best life. If everyone did that, we would legalize cannabis and smash generations of stereotypes at the same time. A Puff Puff Win if I ever heard one. Thank you again my friends for joining me in my conversations on cannabis. Let’s keep the conversation going. Cannabis legalization on a federal level is within our reach. But there are still many hurdles. Hurdles your testimony can help us jump. Until next month, remember, Educate and elevate.