I've been out of the pot closet for many years now. I've proven time and time again that I can manage a serious health issue, a full-time job, a secondary job or project, a full family life and a great network of friends that I love spending time. I STILL hear things when I make a mistake such as "somebody smoked too much today" or "did you eat one of those cookies Laura?". When anyone else makes a silly mistake its usually just ignored.
My husband and I own a restaurant in a small busy tourist town and recently had to terminate an employee. This employees significant other was mad and called and left a long angry voice mail. One of the comments repeatedly made on the call was accusations that my husband operates the business stoned, hence why he didn't realize how wonderful the terminated employee was. My husband isn't a cannabis consumer. He has had a medical card in the past and has used tinctures for sleep and pain. He is not a medical marijuana patient and does not use cannabis. I'm sure the fact that we are open about my marijuana use was the reasoning for assuming he was a cannabis user as well.
Honestly, the issue of his use isn't even going to be my point in this blog.
My husband listened to the voice mail on speaker, and I watched. He is very hard working man. He puts in 12 hour days on his feet at least five days a week and another ten hours on his days off. But he has never been in my shoes when it comes to being dismissed just for cannabis use. He has heard me defend or respond to these off-hand remarks and jokes from usually well-meaning folks. He has also heard me tell the stories of my work in the cannabis industry and the insults from the corporate side about my being a marijuana user and how it hurt.
My goal here at the web page and blog is to assure you that cannabis use isn't a bad thing and to help to ease your worries. But being unrealistic and not telling you the truth of my path won't help you either. There will be people that assume that if you use cannabis, you are any of the following things...
Lazy, Dumb, Addicted, Loser, Unmotivated, Unworthy
You can choose to attach to any of these; I chose to prove them all wrong. They are all wrong. So back to the hubs. He got all defensive about the accusation. He kept saying things like "I dont..", "I'm not..." you get the gist. I looked at him and said welcome to my world. People using shame as a weapon. Trying to shame you for choosing to use a plant as a wellness option rather than consuming intoxicants or pharmaceuticals.
It may happen to you. So here are a few of my tips for handling the shame that someone may attempt to place upon you for your choice.
1. Be clear on your purpose.
You need to be clear in your own heart and mind on why you are choosing cannabis for a health option. When exposed to someone who implies that you are somehow 'less than' for your choice, politely explain to them what you know in your heart to be true. Whatever that may be. For me, it is responding by saying "I appreciate that you think that but for me the impairment was so significant with the pharmaceutical treatments, and they weren't even effective, so I have found that cannabis allows me to contribute to my community and not suffer from any unwanted side effects like impairment."
2. Set an example
Live your life in such a way that other people ask you what are you doing right. Don't use cannabis as an intoxicant, use it as a wellness tool. If you find that you have over consumed, drink some orange juice or take a nap. Remember when you're talking about cannabis, more is not better. I find certain strains are great for me when I need to spend hours on a creative project. There are ones that allow me to focus. People always wonder how I get so much done, why I look younger and how I can continue to have a full life with a diagnosis that normally disables people. So I tell them, it's cannabis.
If you are naturally a person who does not feel any need to advocate, or you don't like confrontation, there are small things you can do. I like to be bold, so I'll use my medical marijuana patient card as a photo ID whenever possible to start a conversation. You could do smaller things like maybe educate a girlfriend who wonders how you're sleeping all night. Or have a talk about what you're doing with a loving relative. As I began to speak about what I was up to I was amazed by the number of people who would whisper in my ear that they were also using cannabis but were not open about it with anyone. This usually was the opening I needed to have a thoughtful conversation on the topic.
So back to that voice mail, it gave me an opportunity to show the hubs how even his 'stoner' jokes weren't helping the message about cannabis consumption. It didn't require or deserve the supposed humor or shame it has received over the years. He will think twice next time I trip over a curb, and he wants to make a wisecrack. Don't be offended by the comments by often well-meaning comics in your life. But do use the opportunity to educate. You will be amazed how quickly that person becomes fascinated by your adventures in cannabis.
Lot's of Love,