By Steve Elliott, Seattle Weekly columnist, and author of the Little Black Book of Marijuana
“You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” ~ César Chavez
If we, as cannabis activists, finish the job we’ve started, we could be the last generation that has to live under the onerous sway of old-style “Reefer Madness.”
Make no mistake about it; we have our work cut out for us. Lots of people, even in the 21st Century, harbor some enormous moral judgments about marijuana and even those who legally use it as medicine. We are given to understand by these anti-pot reactionaries that we should somehow feel guilty about the relief and enjoyment we get from using this beneficent herb.
As a legal medical marijuana patient and activist myself, I’m offended by the moralistic, judgmental, and willfully ignorant tone of the anti-marijuana propaganda to which we’re subjected on a regular basis. Cannabis users have become one of the few groups upon which it is still considered “OK” to project damaging clichés and stereotypes which have little to do with reality and a lot to do with outmoded anti-marijuana hysteria.
While most of us wouldn’t think twice about calling someone out for making an overtly racist or sexist statement, few of us are as willing to confront anti-cannabis prejudice when we encounter it. Just remember: Failing to confront and correct ignorance isn’t very different from supporting it.