It’s going to take some time to undo the cultural damage caused by Reefer Madness and the resulting stigma.
In the meantime, hold your head high and draw some inspiration from these famous figures. We’re going to do a little thought experiment. Even if you’re a regular cannabis consumer, be honest about it. What do you think of when I say these words: pothead, stoner, weed smoker?
I’m going to take a wild guess (let me know in the comments below if you thought of something different) you thought of a young, slightly overweight male sitting in his parent’s basement playing videogames with orange Cheeto crumbs on his shirt.
I bet you didn’t think of yourself. And that’s okay, I don’t consider myself a pothead or stoner either, but others might.
The stigma that’s clung on to cannabis use since the days of Reefer Madness is–for lack of a better word–maddening Isn’t it interesting that Americans nearly went to war to end the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s and 1930s, but at the same time they were maliciously tricked into demonizing a plant? Let’s help end the stigma today. We won’t end it with this one article, but we can point out a couple of the nonsensical ideas that go into cannabis stigmatization that still lasts today.
Stigma #1: Cannabis Consumers Are Lazy
The people who still believe are either ignorant of the facts, or simply too lazy to look them up.
Consider the work of Carl Sagan: an esteemed thinker, astronomer, and the late Director of Cornell’s Laboratory for Planetary Studies, one could hardly say that he was a lazy man.
In fact, Carl Sagan is the man who brought us one of the greatest television shows of all time: Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Have you ever heard the term, “a pale blue dot,” when discussing our planet? Carl Sagan was the one who uttered it. Hardly the brain of a lazy stoner. Yet, Carl Sagan was a well-known cannabis user (not at the time, but we know now). In an essay that he wrote under the pseudonym, Mr. X, he said that “the illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
Those words couldn’t be more poignant today.
Stigma #2: Cannabis Consumers Lack Ambition
Far from sitting in his parent’s basement doing nothing but eating potato chips and watching TV, Steve Jobs, and his partner, Steve Wozniak, were, in fact, spending their time in his parent’s garage. However, they weren’t lackadaisically moping about, they were inventing the foundation to the laptop I’m typing on now and the phone in everyone’s pocket. Yes, I’m talking about Apple products: Macbooks, iPhones, the whole gamut. It all stemmed from the mind of a ‘stoner.’ In fact, when Jobs applied for a Top Security clearance job in the 1980s, he mentioned in his Department of Defense dossier that he not only used cannabis, but LSD, as well. Real loser, right?
Stigma #3: Cannabis Consumers Can’t Be Successful
Let’s smash this idea with a few names you might recognize: George Washington, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama.
I don’t much care for anyone’s political dispositions, the current state of affairs reminds me of professional wrestling without the top-rope body slams. But, you can’t deny that rising to the level of President shows that a person is successful.
While there’s no clear evidence that George Washington smoked cannabis, he certainly was a fan of hemp and grew it himself. While we can’t be certain that President Washington even knew that he was growing a plant that was related to the plants we consume today, he did revel in its industrial uses (and became filthy rich in doing so).
Both The Obamas
However, there’s a more recent President we know for certain that has smoked cannabis. President Barack Obama admitted it in 2006 – and his wife recently admitted her own use as a youngster, as well. While you may might not like them politically, you can’t deny they are incredibly successful people.
Stigma is a nothing more than the careless application of dubious opinion on something you don’t understand. So, continue being successful cannabis consumers, just like some of the finest minds in history.