Working in cannabis comes with responsibility to the cannabis community. For decades, people working with plants or just having flower on their person have been the target of law enforcement harassment; have been jailed and had assets and property seized. With this dark narrative, comes a responsibility for everyone working in the industry now to be a good citizen of cannabis.
Here’s how to improve your citizenship.
Know Your Cannabis History
Bob Marley wrote in his song, Buffalo Soldier: If you know your history, then you would know where you coming from. If you want to learn a little about marijuana’s colorful past, Wikipedia has well-cited page devoted to history. The historical section of the Pro Con website is comprehensive and easy to read. Two recently published books, “Weed the People” and “Cannabis Manifesto,” were written by a respected journalist and a noted activist and provide history and cultural context. The books also discuss the social justice issues around the criminalization of cannabis in communities of color. We’ve written our own short modern cannabis history here, too.
What Are The Marijuana Laws in Your State?
No matter where you live or travel, be smart about the laws regarding marijuana possession. Whether you live in a marijuana-hostile state, like Wyoming or are lucky enough to be in a cannabis-friendly place like Colorado or in one of 29 states where marijuana is medicinal or been decriminalized–know the law and your rights. There are cities, too, like Grand Rapids, Michigan where decriminalization has taken place within a state where non-medical marijuana is still a crime.
Carry a Card
If you live in a medical-only state, you need to have a card. Whether you visit your own physician or make an appointment with one who specialized in MMJ determinations, this is an important step in cannabis citizenship. Having a card also helps provide the government with a accurate data regarding marijuana use; the more people with cards, the more power we have as a group. While we’re all for puff-puff-pass and trying other people’s personal favorites, you don’t do the business, the culture, or the community any favors by purchasing, re-selling or giving away medicine.
Oh, and it’s illegal, too.
Have a Voice
Join and support an advocacy organization like—NORML or the Marijuana Policy Project. They are our voice for marijuana choice on the state and federal level. Meet your local commissioners, state and federal legislative representatives. When action is being taken on cannabis in your community or beyond, it’s important to reach out in person, email or by phone to your elected officials and state your point of view. Reach out to those who oppose and support marijuana issue. Express your appreciation to cannabis-supporting legislators and educate opponents. And always vote.
Stand up For Marijuana
Letting people you know that you are a marijuana patient or a recreational marijuana user is a part of being a good citizen. It’s mentally liberating to come out. You’ll find when you start telling other people that you consume, that you’ll meet more people that do, too. Speaking up also helps you articulate your case for marijuana as medicine or adult-use. Not everyone is able to publicly stand up for cannabis, usually because of employment or family issues. You don’t have to come out on Facebook or be part of a social campaign, but be as honest as possible about your use. It’s helpful for people who don’t partake to stand with friends and patients who do. It helps normalize use and builds up the cannabis community, too