Part the Third: Medical Marijuana, the Stigma and Politics

My first ever government teacher, Mr. Smith, began our very first lesson, a class of Advanced Placement students, seniors, taking our first ever government class, the one required by the state to graduate, with one of the greatest two lessons I ever learned about politics.

“Politics” he said, writing the word on the board. “Poli, which is Latin for many, and tics, which means bloodsuckers.”

And the second was the lesson that followed. Why government, and therefore, to some degree or another, politics, was important. You can’t touch anything, more so in a public school, that isn’t influenced, or outright controlled by, the government.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Looking around my apartment, much of this is still true. Politics still kind of means many blood suckers, and it is hard to look around and not see something that is influenced by the government, and therefore, the politics matter.

One of the biggest things I see is the row of glass jars I have my weed stored in. I see bongs, pipes, a dab rig, several little glass containers for wax, and in many parts of the country, what I have is not allowed by the government, and is therefore still heavily influenced by politics. Still yet, cannabis is not yet federally legal, which involves a whole additional level of government and political influence.

In the previous two posts of this multi blog series about medical marijuana, or MMJ, we have discussed medical marijuana, some of the science behind it, and the stigma around the plant known as cannabis. Today, we will be diving into the politics surrounding one of my favorite flowers.

Politically, weed is finally starting to get a come around, with more politicians than ever actively agreeing with medical, and even recreational, marijuana, but it hasn’t always been that way, nor does it fully have a “green” light.

Over the years, the politics of cannabis has morphed. Originally, we had lobbyists campaigning against weed for trivial reasons like cotton, tobacco, and paper, and more sinister, racism, which was of course fueled by irrational reactions to propaganda.

Photo by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash

Propaganda was pushed onto everyone. Propaganda that terrified parents into believing sinister evil drug dealers were going to offer your kids free reefer, get em hooked, turn em into sex crazed, evil, laughing lunatics!

Uh huh. I have never. Ever. Ever. Been offered free weed by a stranger on a playground.

When I finally WAS offered weed by a friend, who just politely offered to share, as friends are prone to do, stoner friends more so, and I sure as hell didn’t get hooked on it.

If anything, when I started smoking weed I started to finally, slowly, get my shit together, and when I kicked everything but weed, I REALLY started to get my shit together.

Weed doesn’t turn people into lunatics, and one puff of the reefer doesn’t end your life.  

The propaganda became more subtle, as things grew. People who were against legalization, for whatever their reason, got more creative with their smear tactics to spread false information about cannabis.

Some continued to prey on religious people, insisting that weed was somehow associated with the devil, evil, depravity, lack of family values, etc, all while ironically ignoring the long history cannabis has had in other religions.

Some would instead insist the issue was a issue of “protecting the people from themselves and addiction” angle, which poses the theory that people shouldn’t be allowed to make choices for themselves, like the common person is stupid, which they aren’t, or, it implies that humans need to be protected from weed. It implies that weed is in anyway dangerous or harmful to humans, when all evidence and research indicates quite the opposite.

False information has been much of the politics of marijuana, with the aims being to keep marijuana out of our hands, and its pretty sad when you realize how deep the lies go into our everyday culture.

Many of the stigmas that linger are only here from the propaganda against marijuana, from the ongoing political attack of weed, an innocent flower everyone decided to focus on in the “war on drugs.”

Focusing on a flower that has a very noticeable aroma is easy, so I have always kind of assumed people just focused on weed because it was easier to sniff out, versus a harder drug which doesn’t have the same “loud” odor.

Photo by Get Budding on Unsplash
Glass jars help with that smell though, for real.

The politics continued to try and keep weed illegal by working within the systems to keep weed as a highly controlled substance, ranking it as dangerous as heroin, giving propaganda machines an extra edge in their marketing, and also stamping, at a federal level, the lie that weed was dangerous.

Dangerous as someone may try and claim marijuana is, it has never been bad like a harder drug, or even alcohol and tobacco. It is less addicting then all these substances and is much better for you.

As the politics of weed morphed, states began exercising their states rights to legalize marijuana in their own states either medically or recreationally, and still, technically, federally, it is illegal. Politically, while many claim to be pro marijuana, few elected officials back this up with actions. Recently, federal regulations have lessoned on hemp and CBD products, but still these are heavily controlled with politics.

Weed has always been used to arrest people, namely people of color, and incarcerate them. As less people are arrested for marijuana, the corporations that are prisons (look it up, they are), need more victims, ahem, sorry, I mean, uh, inmates, to make their profits. These lobbyists apply their own pressure to elected officials urging them to keep weed illegal.

These same companies actively fight against people trying to get the proper laws written, laws that not only legalize weed but begin a path to releasing these inmates, to free these innocent people. These same corporations are the ones that fight for the right to continue to imprison people for previous weed related crimes, despite the legalization of weed in that state.

In legal states, people are sitting in jails for doing nothing more than selling some weed. The same thing a dispensary down the street is doing, and seeing great profits from.

Politically, things have improved, but they are far from perfect. Things like “Reefer Madness” may be hysterical now, but once upon a time, people were dumb enough to believe that crap!

To fix this problem, I stay vigilant. I demand answers, I hold politicians accountable. If they vote against legalization, I demand answers, I ask them ahead of time how they will vote, I write letters and leave voicemails about legalization. I support candidates who OPENLY support cannabis (assuming I agree with most other issues. I won’t support a racist just because they like weed), I also ask elected officials and those seeking office how they plan to not only see the plant legalized, but how they plan on freeing the many innocent people in jail.

Because the more they hear we care, and are paying attention, the more they do. That is just how representative democracies work.

If they don’t represent you, or don’t follow through, you should know what to do.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Get em out. Vote em out. Do the stuff I mentioned above, for their opposition, and if you agree enough with them, support the crap out of them and get them elected. You may not win every time, but even the losses inform people about marijuana, they bring more to the cause, and ultimately, we end the stigma against marijuana by showing people of all walks of life coming together to legalize a beautiful flower.

Politically, now is one of the easier times to advocate for marijuana legalization, so why not join us? Write your congressmen, get involved. Everyone should participate in democracy; everyone should participate in the world around them. If the world around you has weed criminalized, or innocent people in jail for a FLOWER (one that shares terpenes with lavender, pine, and lemongrass), then do something about it. The sooner we fix the politics of marijuana, the sooner we can end the stigma against it too.

Next in this blog series, I will be discussing what I forgot to mention/was too nervous to speak up and say words, ya know, with my mouth, from the podcast that we did this evening.

Here is a link to the amazing podcast- Black Tuesday https://t.co/p8bQCU127K

I really enjoyed my podcasting experience and was so grateful for the chance to go on and talk about a few of these topics that I have covered in this blog series, and I hope to do it again when I am not so nervous. As I will explain in tomorrow’s post, I had to smoke a bit to stop being so nervous, which probably means you can hear when my vape pen kicks in. Marijuana can help with nervousness too, so, really, lets all work together to get the politics of marijuana in the green.

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Abbi

Feel free to follow me on all the social medias: @AbbiGrasso on Twitter, Instagram, Speekin’, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WordPress, Medium, YouTube, WeedTV, and any place else I have forgotten.

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