Legalization Won’t Affect STEREOTYPES

With talks of legalization looming (God I hope that’s a word), there’s a lot more people smiling, it seems.  Many, including myself, are thrilled that we will no longer face harsh penalties for using cannabis – whether it be for Medical, Recreational, or Spiritual reasons.  *Sighh*  But if it becomes LEGAL, will that alter society’s perception of “potheads”?  Will these once-menaces now be treated respectfully, regardless of age, gender, creed, or race?  I really don’t think so.

Potheads will always be potheads.  This is a meaningless statement, as it can be a good or really scary notion.  And, while many connoisseurs won’t care about the opinions of others, these opinions and biases aren’t likely to change anytime soon.  So many competent, intelligent adults will never approve of such a ‘stupid lifestyle choice’.  Even if pot becomes legal.  If you smoke a joint on a beach, for instance, it’s sure to raise more of a ‘stink’ than if you were sippin’ a cold beer, laughin’ loudly and firin’ F-bombs.  If you’re caught smokin’ weed, people will get pissed off.  “My kids are there, y’know!  What are you THINKING!??!?”  Or a cancer patient smokin’ a FAT joint outside of his residence/hospital.  Many will shake their heads at this.  It will always be seen as wrong to many people.

If pot is being used for recreational reasons, naysayers will say:  “Losers.  Why don’t they get a life!?”  If medical users are puffin’ away, they may hear others muttering:  “There ARE other options.  What are they thinking!??”  Once underage kids start using pot more (and they inevitably WILL!), every pothead will be viewed more negatively.  “How could they contribute to this!?  Our precious CHILDREN are on DRUGS!!!”  With alcohol, we really never saw this.  Most believed that, worse case, the kids would get a hangover, puke a bit, then hopefully learn a lesson.  But weed??  “Weed is the beginning of the END!!!!  Weed will lead to OTHER drugs!  Weed will strip you of your one and only LIFE!!”  This is what many STILL believe, at least.  Stupid, huh?

Like I said, potheads are not likely to change.  Legalization could bring about it’s own set of issues, but not for people already very familiar with the powers of this plant.  Legalization does make it easier to access (unfortunately, for kids, too).  It also makes things much safer and more convenient for recreational, or medical users.  But you walk by a patio filled with fired-up opinions mixed with alcohol, and you smell like cannabis – you’re likely to get some negative verbal feedback.  Most potheads would just ignore it, of course.  But can you IMAGINE a drunk stumblin’ by a pot-puffin’-patio, and a pothead says, “Hey bud.  Be careful, you’re gonna’ trip on your shoelace!”  Man, it would be a near-war!  In-your-face, bad breath, pokin’ you with their finger.  Shit, bud, piss off.  I was trying to help.

In ending, I will add that the fix for this, like most things, is EDUCATION.  People have different reasons for not liking pot (addictions run in the family, bad experience with, hates the smell, believes it to be harmful, etc.), and noone can force you to change your set beliefs (even if you’ve been misguided).  THEY are your beliefs!  However, we ALL have to accept that we ALL have different beliefs, guided by our education, morals, and expectations.  I believe cannabis to be the most amazing planet on plant earth, and if anyone doesn’t agree, I urge you to do your research, please.  Be well, my friends!

Reg Nilsna

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