For many decades there has been a stigma surrounding the cannabis plant and those that consume it. Alcohol and other legal substances are more dangerous than cannabis, but for various reasons cannabis is made out to be a terrible thing.
Many people stay in the ‘cannabis closet’ because they are afraid of what people will think about their cannabis use. Supporters of cannabis reform who don’t even consume cannabis often fear speaking about it for fear of discrimination and persecution.
That is why we here at Green Flower launched the #ComingOutGreen campaign to encourage people to be open and shame-less of their responsible cannabis use.
The campaign continues to result in countless people coming out of the ‘cannabis closet’ which no doubt helps change minds and hearts. Whenever a person ‘comes out green’ it encourages others to do the same.
Unfortunately, despite a current record level of support for legalization in America there is still a stigma surrounding the cannabis plant. Green Flower is encouraging consumers to help end the stigma. Below are five ways you can help.
#1) Be a responsible cannabis consumer
Whether you realize it or not, you may be an ‘official representative’ of the cannabis plant in the eyes of some people. When these people think of cannabis, the first thing that pops into their mind is you.
Would you say that the perception that they have is a good one or a bad one based off your level of responsibility as a cannabis consumer?
Everything that you do as a cannabis consumer, whether you like it or not, reflects back on the plant itself and helps shape the views of non-consumers.
That’s why it’s vital you be a responsible cannabis consumer which means not acting the fool or doing something careless like driving under the influence or leaving your cannabis out so that young people can access it.
#2) Arm yourself with cannabis facts
Unfortunately there is a lot of factually inaccurate information out there about the cannabis plant. Most of the misinformation is perpetuated by cannabis opponents, but there are some supporters that are guilty too.
A responsible cannabis advocate arms themselves with the facts so that when confronted by an opponent, or provided an opportunity to educate someone on the fence about cannabis, they are offering up the best information possible.
#3) Share your story
As I stated previously, Green Flower team members are big fans of encouraging people to ‘come out green.’ We strongly support people sharing their story of being a responsible cannabis consumer.
It is easy for opponents to bash something that they don’t relate to, but it is much more difficult to bash something that they know their friend or loved one benefits from and uses responsibly.
When cannabis prohibition is something a person doesn’t deal with, they are less likely to support ending it. However, when a face is put to cannabis prohibition, or even the stigma that remains after legalization, it increases the chances of them getting on the right side of history.
#4) Recognize that the industry reflects on the entire community
When I ask non-cannabis consumers why they support cannabis reform, the most popular answers involve the emerging cannabis industry.
People like the fact that the cannabis industry creates jobs, generates tax revenues that benefit everyone, and boosts local economies. The cannabis industry is what they think of when they think of cannabis reform.
But that can be a two-edged sword. Just as the cannabis industry can be a great thing that ends the stigma for a lot of people, it can also create more stigma if the industry is not being responsible.
Cannabis businesses that sell to minors or companies that cut corners that lead to recalls don’t help reduce the stigma – they help keep it in place.
Responsible cannabis consumers need to realize this and only support cannabis companies that are good stewards of the cannabis plant. In doing so consumers do their part in helping reduce the stigma via the cannabis industry.
#5) Support reform efforts in a meaningful way
One of the top ways to help end the stigma is to help end cannabis prohibition which is the foundation that the stigma surrounding cannabis is based on.
If you truly love the cannabis plant, you should be doing your part to help make it free and help ensure that people are not thrown into the criminal justice system for a plant that is safer than alcohol.
Get active in your area by joining a local NORML chapter. If you don’t have one in your area, consider starting one. If you are a college student, look into joining Students for Sensible Drug Policy or starting a chapter on your campus.
The cannabis plant isn’t going to legalize itself. It is the responsibility of all responsible cannabis consumers to do their part to help free the plant. In doing so, you will help reduce the stigma for cannabis consumers everywhere.