In the elation of recent victories, it is often easy to forget that the cannabis reform movement still has a long way to go. Many states retain punitive possession laws; many officials continue to speak out against reform. Most importantly, many Americans still hold fast to outdated notions of what they were told was a dangerous drug. When recalling that all of us in the movement are ambassadors to win over the still-unconvinced, it’s important to remember that many Americans get deeply offended by the smell and even the sight of cannabis smoke.
So with that responsibility in mind, let’s map out appropriate guidelines for lighting up outside of your own home:
- To begin, if you read a sign that says “NO SMOKING,” trust that it means what it says. No smoking of any kind, not pot, not medicine, probably not even vaporizing. Although smokeless electronic cigarettes and filter accessories can camouflage your medicine, being mindful of where you tread may save embarrassment and prevent attracting unwanted attention.
- If you are at a party and no one else is lighting up, presume to ask first, even if you plan to use the balcony. If you play the medicine card, use it considerately. Ask your host where she or he feels is fitting to take in a toke.
- If your condition simply won’t allow you to go out without medicating, seek alternate delivery methods when possible. Edibles and tinctures can be a great way to manage symptoms, if precisely timed and measured before going out. Patients who need a more rapid onset may use portable vaporizers, which cut way down on secondhand smells and can be practically odor-free when used in combination with a personal air filter.
Following these simple guidelines when leaving the home will ensure that we represent the cannabis community in a way that we want to be depicted: as responsible, considerate citizens. This will lead not only to more victories at the ballot box and in the hearts and minds of our neighbors, but also encourage everyone else to inject more civility into public life. And that is a worthy goal unto itself.
By Valerie Leveroni Corral, founder of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana
How do you try to represent the cannabis industry responsibly? Tell us below.