We’ve all got ‘em, that friend or two, possibly a parent, whom we hide our marijuana use from. Maybe it’s because they’re conservative and you don’t want their opinion on just one thing to cause a rift between your otherwise wonderful relationship. Maybe it’s because you’ve heard them speak negatively about pot in the past and you just don’t want the hassle of the conversation. Who knows? But there comes a time in all good pot heads lives where they come out to all.
For many it happens gradually. As a teen you habitually hide your affection for weed from anyone outside your immediate smoking circle. Dousing yourself in vast amounts of Axe body spray, stuffing your face with wads of bubble gum and then there’s the Visine…. Oh the Visine. It might as well become a line item in your monthly budget.
As you get older, you realize more and more people partake, albeit in secret. Stories about the old hippy art teacher, the smell of skunk wafting over from your neighbors yard and first time you smoke a spliff with your college prof . If you’re like me, there came a point in your 20’s when you just assumed everyone did it until they told you otherwise
Then the 30’s come. For some, that means career and family take precedence. If using recreationally, the intervals of recreation time you once enjoyed is now coming fewer and far between. For me, my career took me away from marijuana as I worked as a personal trainer and a strength and conditioning coach. It wasn’t until a few years in where I had an incident that left me with not only a handful of physical scars, but a host of mental ones in the form of PTSD, that I rekindled my relationship with marijuana. At that time, although I was using pot to treat some very real symptoms (anxiety, insomnia, bad dreams, depression, mood swings) I still knew it would be looked down upon by my “healthy lifestyle” coworkers and clients. So…. I kept it to myself. Other than my girlfriend and maybe five close friends, no one knew I was a toker.
Fast forward to 2014. 2014 was the year that I decided to stop being a closet toker and start wearing my pot leaf on my sleeve. For one, I was tired of hiding it and felt like a huge hypocrite (and I was) for keeping my pot use under wraps, even though I was now with a valid license. For one, I truly believe, and the evidence is now out there and available, marijuana is nothing to fear. For the recreational users, it provides relaxation, good vibes and decompression with far fewer negatives than drinking or other methods. For the medical user, there are a whole host of benefits and relief the plant and its cannabinoids brings. And for the non user…? Well, if Colorado and Washington have taught us anything it’s that even the non-marijuana consumer benefits from a legalized landscape in the form of increased tax revenues for schools, parks, streets and more.
Something else I learned from watching Colorado, Washington and even DC, Alaska and Florida, is that if you want change you need to speak up. People holding rallies, holding signs, pins, pertinent questions to politicians are all common place in the US fight for legalization. As Canadians we have a hell of a time doing that sometimes. Other than the obligatory April 20 protest and the Global Marijuana March, there’s not a lot of Canadians speaking up about marijuana. Based on the information gleaned from the US over the last year and a half and with our looming election in the fall, marijuana legalization should be on the tip of every politicians tongue. It shouldn’t be an “are we or aren’t we” question anymore, it should be a “how are we going to proceed?” question.
Canada has the opportunity to become a world leader in marijuana. And I’m not just talking about the export of our BC Bud or recreational sales within our own boarders, I’m talking about industrial and medical uses. If Canada legalized federally and put a portion of the recreational sales tax revenue directly into cannabinoid research we could become a world leader in both curative and preventative medicine. Cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, alzhimer’s and hundreds more ailments could find themselves better managed through Canadian research, that is if marijuana were to become legal.
I think it’s time for Canadian’s to stand up and make their love for marijuana known. Find a way to express your support – wear a pin, start a conversation, something. Just the other night I was out for dinner with a former training client of mine and when the subject of medical marijuana came up I plopped my license on the table. What came after that was a great conversation on the pros and cons. One of the things that was said was that he never would have guessed I was a pot user as I’m an "active, motivated hard working person.". I told him, “that’s today’s pothead, man”.
Please everyone, do yourselves a favour this weekend and start the conversation!!