Cannabis isn’t about “Glamor” it’s about human rights
A Response to Old-Timey Thinking
As cannabis continues to be legalized in different cities, states and even countries…there will obviously be voices that speak out against these trends. Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at an editorial entitled “Marijuana – Maybe legal, but not that glamorous”, which was featured on the CT Mirror.
The reason why it’s important to analyze this position is because many people, especially those aged sixty and higher, might share several of these “objections”. Change is always scary for those who have grown accustomed to “the way things are”.
I believe that the position of the writer – Francis DeStefano – managed to capture the essence of a generational paradigm that has helped maintain the illegality of cannabis for so many years. While I won’t go through every single idea presented within the piece, we will be taking a closer look at some of the most common themes experienced by this demographic.
If you want to read the original article, the link is provided above.
DeStafano begins his editorial with a statement of fact – weed is being legalized. In the second paragraph he takes this global position and reduces it to a smaller, more relatable concept – vacationing at “The Berkshires”.
The motel he frequents when staying here has a dispensary of which he states that it is “…somehow sad to see the long line of people waiting outside from morning to evening to make their buy. Most of them look like middle-aged men with time on their hands.” [Emphasis added]
Right from this point we can realize that DeStefano suffers from a personal bias against cannabis users. It’s not entirely his fault either. For several decades, DeStefano and those of his age group have been taught that cannabis users are “dope fiends looking for their next fix”.
According to their drug education, these “sex-starved-depraved-animals” would murder your grandmother for a piece of weed. Over the years, the image of the “stoner” transformed from a violent individual to a lethargic loser with semen crusted pants, living in their parent’s basement.
It wasn’t until the late 90s until the image of cannabis consumers changed to a medical tint. The 2000s birthed the idea of the “sophisticated stoner”, but by this time, the DeStefanos of life have been over-exposed to politically charged caricatures that to separate the idea of the “evil stoner” from the “modern consumer” is difficult to achieve.
Hence the sarcastic description of the “sad line outside of the dispensary with middle-aged men with time on their hands”. He is essentially assuming that “none of them have jobs” and are “losers” by default.
However, there is no evidence for his assumptions. It’s merely motivated due to decades of government programming.
The Meshing of Two Separate Ideas
He eventually continues with his editorial talking about another “terrible thing” that occurred since cannabis was legalized. He relates a story of one of those “old-timey” clothes stores that him and his wife loved to shop at.
He speaks about his relationship with the owner over the years, only to find the owner puzzled and miserable on his last visit. When they pressed the owner of the store about his obvious depressed demeanor, the man told them the story of how his daughter was hit by a stoned driver and is currently in bad shape.
The driver of the car apparently didn’t get charged with any crime because the “District Attorney was a cannabis advocate” and thus politically decided to not pursuit the case.
While it’s definitely sad that a person’s life was so adversely affected by 17-year old boys, who happened to be consuming cannabis, it doesn’t mean that cannabis legality created this situation. The statistical evidence suggests that 17-year-old-kids do not have the capacity to handle heavy machinery like cars.
This is the very reason why you can’t rent a car until you are 25 years old in many places, because teenagers are idiots and can’t be trusted with “high-speed-death-machines”.
Of course 17 year olds would think it’s a good idea to drink and drive, or smoke and drive. Yet, in his editorial, the blame lies solely on the shoulders of cannabis.
Not understanding cannabis
Eventually, DeStefano lists a few things that’s wrong with cannabis:
“People will say that marijuana use causes no more auto accidents than drinking or texting. Advocates will discount the cancer risks of smoking marijuana even though studies show that more carcinogens can be present than in cigarettes. Moreover, it will be pointed out that millions will continue to use marijuana whether it is legal or not. Finally, politicians will be attracted by the possibility of not only increased tax revenue, but also private profit opportunities.”
Within this statement, we begin to see how his programming is lied out. DeStefano, and many others lived during the Big Tobacco era and conflate the ideas of cannabis legalization and the corporatization of tobacco.
The problem comes with the understanding of the cannabis plant. While it’s true that there are “carcinogens” in cannabis smoke – as is the case with all smoke. What DeStefano fails to realize is that the cannabinoids within the smoke actually “turns off” carcinogenic effects to some degree within the smoke. [Source].
Nonetheless, these are the ideas cemented within his understanding of cannabis. He is unwilling to look at the studies about cannabis and chooses to confidently believe the narrative instilled in him through decades of programming.
Why Cannabis isn’t Glamorous – It’s a Human Right!
At the end, DeStefano brings up the same old fears portrayed by prohibition. We can’t really blame him, especially since for the vast majority of his life authority figures have been touting the evils of cannabis.
He finishes his editorial calling cannabis “not too glamorous” comparing it to the “line at Berrington” as his evidence.
However, when I see that line of “middle-aged men” I don’ see a bunch of losers, I see people exercising their human right to experiment with their own consciousness. I see people who have the authority over their own minds and bodies to do with it as they please.
This is exactly what society should be – a place where the individual is respected.
The DeStefanos of life are fading as the years pass. There will come a point in time when no one alive would have experienced prohibition – however, as we transition to this reality it will still be necessary to understand those with silver hair.