3 Reasons Why Prevailing Social Attitudes about Marijuana Need to Change
The early days of cannabis legalization are a transitional period for society, as there's still stigma towards cannabis leftover from the era when the plant was illegal. Funny enough this even applies to some cannabis users, who are used to hiding in the shadows when they consume cannabis!
Within time, the public's attitude towards marijuana will change in recognition of one plain fact: despite what previous generations believed, consuming marijuana doesn't make you an evil degenerate or a lazy stoner! In fact, consuming cannabis is just a personal preference that is nobody else's business. But there are actually three important reasons why the public's attitude towards marijuana needs to change.
Many Very Successful People Enjoy Marijuana
The old stereotype of potheads living in their parent's basement getting nowhere in life bears no resemblance to reality. Really, people who wonder does it affect your motivation levels have nothing to worry about: many very successful people from different fields use marijuana.
How many of your favourite musicians use cannabis? It's an old observation, that if you removed the marijuana users from the rock and roll hall of fame, it would be empty! But cannabis users are also found among business leaders, from Google founder Sergey Brin to Steve Jobs at Apple. Marijuana users occupy top positions in too many other white collar professions to name.
It may not agree with everybody, but many successful people use marijuana - that old stereotype should be put to rest.
Obsolete Attitudes Aren't Healthy
Attitudes that stigmatize marijuana aren't merely obsolete, they are toxic: there are people who truly benefit from medicinal marijuana, and lingering stigma may make them reluctant to get the treatment they need. This fear is especially acute for older patients, who grew up during a time where attitudes about marijuana consumption were sharply influenced by the anti-drug "reefer madness" hysteria. That there is still stigma is especially distressing, because medicinal marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001!
Cannabis can help treat all kinds of conditions. It should be viewed with the same unquestioned acceptance as any other medicine.
Old Marijuana Laws Enabled Racism
A 2017 study showed that while there is no evidence that marijuana consumption differs between white and black people, black people with no previous convictions were three times as likely to get arrested for small possession of marijuana by Toronto police.
Historically, America's draconian "war on drugs" resulted in a disproportionate number of minorities in jail for marijuana possession. Families were broken up, and barriers still exist for black people to enter the marijuana industry - today, only 4.3% of people in the marijuana business are black. Legalization has led to pardons for marijuana possession in many jurisdictions, but fully expunged records are essential but slower coming.
Reckoning with the paranoid views on marijuana that prevailed over society for decades also means confronting the racism embedded in how marijuana laws were enforced, and how this racism still affects society today.
Cannabis can be an amazing medicine for people's body, mind, and soul. But for this miracle plant to have its greatest positive impact, society has to get its mind around accepting it. The faster the stigma around marijuana disappears, the better.