Seems like a simple enough request, but depending on where you are when you ask it, you're more than likely going to get a significantly different number of hands in the air. Say, for instance, I were asking those of you reading this right now. Based on the fact this article is posted on a website advocating the indulgence of cannabis, odds are the results would tremendously be in favor of using marijuana. Ask the same question at a professional business meeting with a few corporate executives sitting around the table and you're more likely to see eyes shifting back and forth than hands going up. That isn't to say the percentage of people who do use marijuana is any different from one group to the other, but it does say a lot about just how many people have to hide that they do. My ultimate question is, why are we still hiding?
At this moment, twenty-five states have legalized some form of marijuana use. Four of those states, along with the District of Columbia, have passed laws for recreational use. This November, three additional states are voting on medical marijuana bills, and five states which have already legalized medical marijuana are voting on recreational use. 2016 marks the year we officially surpassed the 50% mark in the United States. Perception is changing nationwide, and as a result, millions of Americans now have access to what should be deemed a medical marvel. It is hard not to acknowledge that we are smack dab in the middle of a movement. Yet that is precisely what the DEA did this past August, when it went against the grain and denied the petition to remove Marijuana from the list of Schedule I substances, a list shared by the likes of heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and quaaludes, citing marijuana has no accepted medical use. Wait, what…? It is precisely these misguided notions that keep people in fear of openly discussing that they support or participate in the use of marijuana.
So here I am. An ambitious young professional, putting on my suit everyday, climbing that corporate ladder. I am living in a state which has recently legalized medical use, eagerly awaiting an opportunity to jump into the field of my dreams, (both figuratively and quite literally), and I feel stuck. How can I maintain a job with such strict drug policies while pursuing a career in a field I cannot even legally obtain experience in? How can I talk about such things openly without the fear of losing everything I've worked so hard to build? I want to reach out and make professional connections with others in the field, but cannot risk the words “marijuana”, “cannabis”, “weed”, “pot”, or god forbid, those beautiful green leaves, popping up all over my LinkIn profile. In a time when it’s perfectly acceptable to go out with friends and colleagues, guzzling down drink after drink, and acting like a fool while plastering unflattering selfies and slurred rants all over Facebook; why do I feel like I’m lurking in the shadows, living a double life? Because I am an introvert personality that typically feels anxious in social settings and would rather be home, enjoying some high grade bud in the company of a few close friends, while we listen to music, satisfy our munchies, and contemplate the intricacies of life?
Instead of being the one looking back and forth, eyeing up the room, afraid to raise my hand, I want to be the one to throw my hand up high and say, “I proudly support the movement!”
Oh, look at that. I guess I just did.
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