We as a community have come a very long way since the days of stone cold cannabis prohibition. As activists and advocates push forward to help bring change to our outdated laws, we move closer to ending the stigma surrounding cannabis consumption. Yet this culture of stigma is still very alive and well within our society. It doesn’t take looking very far to see that, even in legal states, cannabis use is still heavily stigmatized by many. How can we as a community contribute to ending this stigma. Here are 4 ways that you can start:
1. Educate Yourself: Nothing is more important than learning the facts about cannabis use. For decades, information about the efficacy and usefulness of cannabis was suppressed. Today, thanks to the tireless effort of the many heroes within our community, we now have free access to this information both online and in print. Quality resources are as abundant as ever and a few simple online searches will land you with plenty of rich and insightful information that will help take your knowledge to new depths. Taking the time to differentiate facts from fiction when it comes to consumption is the first step you can take towards helping to remove this stigma.
2. Talk to your friends and family: When it comes to education, one of the easiest ways to learn is to teach others. There is no better place to start than with teaching our friends and family what we have learned. Take the time to introduce this information to those closest to you, as they will be your greatest defense in helping others to lower their guard and listen to you. It can be difficult to convince others that they have been misinformed about the implications of cannabis consumption. This is why beginning with those you have already established relationships with can be helpful. If successful, you will have a much stronger support system behind you.
3. Leverage Social Media: More people are connected online today than ever before. Leveraging social media to establish a healthy dialogue about cannabis is a profoundly efficient way to disseminate information. Today, we have access to the internet virtually everywhere, and we use this access to get our news, educate ourselves, engage in conversation, and ultimately influence our views about the world we live in. Use your social media to show your peers what you have learned by sharing what you have learned. Posting links to articles, videos, photos, and publications are a great start. Also, use feedback sections and comment areas to continue pushing a positive dialogue forward.
4. Use Cannabis Responsibly: Nothing stifles forward momentum in this movement more than irresponsible cannabis use. This can range from using cannabis in restricted areas such as where cannabis use is either illegal or off limits to using cannabis during inappropriate times or in excess. Even using cannabis incorrectly or in an unsafe manner can perpetuate stigmatization. Using cannabis responsibly goes hand in hand with education. It is always important to know where to safely and legally access cannabis, the steps you must take to maintain compliance when using cannabis, as well as the various consumption methods and your personal threshold if you are to use your cannabis responsibly.
We as consumers and advocates have a voice both within our communities and abroad, and it is our responsibility to use this voice to help reverse the stigma surrounding cannabis consumption. Use these four tips to help stimulate dialogue and cultivate a healthy discussions within your community. Doing so is a step down the right path to ending cannabis stigmatization everywhere.