How Can We Break the 'Irresponsible Stoner' Stereotype

By Maya Novikov.

As cannabis is becoming more and more mainstream, opinion polls show growing support of marijuana legalization in the U.S. and all over the world. Research confirms that cannabis and its derivatives could help us win the war on prescription drugs abuse, relieve PTSD for veterans, soothe epileptic seizures, maintain healthy insulin level, cope with chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.

Still, the stigma persists. Many people see cannabis users as lazy, unsuccessful, and potentially troubled human beings. Where does this dated stereotype come from? We could cast the blame upon television, movies, or newspapers, but we could also act mature and admit our own responsibility for the unfavorable image.

So the questions that have to be answered are: What marijuana enthusiasts do wrong? And more importantly, what can we do differently to look better in the eyes of society?

Firstly, we need to act responsibly. Period. It means no “marijuana is safer than alcohol” excuses for stoned driving. Yes, it is safer than alcohol: in fact, according to the late research conducted by NHTSA, any drug is safer, legal or illegal. But that absolutely doesn’t mean you should drive after consuming THC. In the state of Washington alone, where recreational pot is legal, the number of stoned drivers involved with fatal car accidents, has more than doubled from 2010 to 2014.

In some states, there’s no limit for THC level in driver’s blood. In other states, the limit is so low, that absolutely sober people get arrested for smoking weed ‘yesterday morning.’ All of us who live in the states where baked driving is illegal, should keep our levels of THC low enough to drive. It requires doing some math. The rest of us should use common sense. If you’re questioning yourself whether you are fit to drive, you are probably not.

The same applies to our workplaces. If you’re not self-employed, your company probably has some regulations regarding cannabis use. It’s in the papers you’ve signed, so sticking to it would be wise. If you’re still thinking of breaking the rules, inform yourself about the possible consequences.

We should not expose kids to the marijuana culture. No smoking where children can see or smell us. No paraphernalia lying around when your nephews are visiting. Being around kids while noticeably high is also a big NO — and most parents would not approve that. This also means seriously hiding your edibles from children and pets. Negligence can put your loved one to emergency room or a vet hospital for several days, causing extremely strong psychedelic experience. This is definitely not something you want for your child or pet. And it goes without saying that we shouldn’t brag about how great recreational marijuana is in front of the kids. They will find out eventually, hopefully after they are 21.

Smell. Surprising news: not everyone loves the smell of weed. If you’re smoking in public, make sure the law allows you to do that, and that no one has to unwillingly inhale with you. Celebrities and pranksters who hotbox private jets and London eye cabins, or walk around the supermarkets smoking, are the worst type of marijuana enthusiasts, they are legalization’s faux friends.

One final thing that is quite easy to do: we should keep everything neat, tidy, and picture-ready. Shiny clean bongs, beautifully designed vaporizers, discreet and smell-proof stash boxes, smart grinders not just provide better experience than DIY smoking devices and plastic bags. They look better and make all of us, cannabis users, look better, too.



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