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Coming Out Cannabis

Red Christmas stockings with white pot leaves hang on a brick mantel this holiday season.

Joint Opinions

Coming Out Cannabis

I am home for the holidays, and I’m not, for the most part, ingesting cannabis for the several weeks I’m with my family. As a recreational user, I have that option, and can still lead a fairly ailment- and pain-free life (albeit with some more vivid dreams and a smaller appetite).

For a regular medicinal user, forgoing weed while around family is not always optimal (nor is it for many recreational users whose sanities are tested by various relatives), and I feel there is a way to constructively handle the situation without resorting to secrecy or unpleasant confrontations.

Why won’t I ingest it? While my mother knows about my enjoyment of the herb — and where I work! — I still deeply fear her judgment regarding my status as a stoner.

But while I’m not going to be smoking this vacation, I’m going to talk to my family about cannabis, and I suggest all the stoners, patients, and decriminalization supporters do the same.

Cannabis is a part of my life, not merely as a hobby and general life-enhancer but as a cause I rally behind. I see the negative effects of prohibition as I go about my own life, and in the lives of non-violent criminals whose lives are changed forever, in friends and family members who suffer from sickness but may never learn whether or not cannabis might help them, in kids whose parents can’t support them because they are incarcerated for harmless possession, in the livelihoods of those affected by cartel activity because oblivious users accidentally buy their products because they are forced to buy illegally. I want to change the way this country legislates cannabis for these reasons and many others.

I want to change people’s minds about cannabis.

So, again, I will not be silent about the subject this holiday season. I will talk about my job here at the magazine like I would any other job, and I will not omit my own use of cannabis, whether or not it is de facto accepted that I use it in whatever capacity. I will probably not expound on the positive effects of cannabis to my mother, because she tends to think it’s baloney, and I recognize that isn’t the way to go about convincing her to support my cause — instead, I will discuss the misconceptions she might have and explain the problems that arise from keeping it a Schedule I drug.

More importantly, I will be her daughter, a college student and employed person, a decent human being. I will be, to her, a cannabis user among many other things, and eventually I will show her what an upstanding citizen I can be regardless.

It is essential that cannabis users of all kinds come out in some manner to friends or family — preferably safely, and in a manner that will not reveal yourself to, say, law enforcement — but to come out so the rest of the world may realize how common and harmless usage is in the people they know and love, and how silly the taboo against this plant is.

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