As Bob Dylan sings “The times they are a-changing” and we get asked all the time what you can do to help. Well here are 5 ways you can help change the stigma in your everyday life. I know…who said being a stoner was easy!?
Come out about your cannabis use. There is nothing to be ashamed of for using this herb. Despite what you think your family or social group may think about cannabis the chances are they just may not have had the courage to bring the subject up before – and for obvious reason. This is a very current international issue so there are many ways to bring the topic up. “Hey did you hear that Uruguay are legalizing cannabis to take down the cartels…no more Scarface?” Or “Did you see that Seth Rogan film 50/50 where the dude gets spine cancer and they get him medical cannabis”. This was actually based on a real event in Seth Rogans life. Popular culture has come rushing up to speed with cannabis and Marijuana Movies are starting to look at it in a more serious light now.
Become knowledgeable about the plant, its effects and the science behind it. There are so many published medical reports on cannabis and books that have been published about its use and history there really is no reason to keep yourself in the dark about this very incredible and important plant. This will allow you to be assertive and back up what you are claiming about cannabis possibly to someone that has only ever heard what the media have said, “Drugs are bad Mmmm kay”. Don’t just tell someone to “Google it” the likeliness of them doing it is very low, whilst it may be well intended it’s kind of lazy and your attempts to pass on valuable information will have been in vain.
Don’t let Reefer Madness slide…We all hear it now and then, maybe something derogatory is said about people who use cannabis, that they are just dirty hippies for example, or even someone quoting The Sun or Daily Mail on “Cannabis Kills 30,000 a year”. No one has ever died from cannabis use and letting ignorance like that remain fact in someone’s head is letting this systemic problem spread more. It is also not true that all cannabis smokers are dirty hippies; lawyers, doctors, MPs and even police offices use cannabis but you don’t see them boasting about it because they neither need to and it would probably get them in a lot of trouble.
Listen to the concerns of those against cannabis to learn how to put their mind at ease. The words Decriminalization and Legalization can sound frightening and conjure up unrealistic imaginations of a world where there are drug shops on every street or you can by crack in Tesco’s. Explain how a regulated market would work (and that there are working models in other countries), the benefits over the current prohibition, age regulation and harm reduction through contamination and potency tests. You can even pose the question “would you want your son or daughter to get locked up for using cannabis?” “Are you happy paying for the police to raid the homes of people growing a plant?” The main thing those against cannabis need to understand is that prohibition encourages criminals to get involved and they are the ones that cause the social disturbance, violence and force the price up to make massive profits. If you can do this whilst not losing your head and shouting you are onto a winner – if not you may get the “typical pot head” response, they haven’t suffered the injustice and don’t understand that kind of passion. *wink*
Find your local Cannabis Social Club, Join NORML UK and volunteer your time to help achieve change in your area. We have put on over a dozen protests this year and made local and national news stories including several BBC radio interviews and TV appearances. The UK Cannabis Social Clubs have been included in several documentaries that are in the course of airing through the end of 2013 and as thing continue to progress each club is growing larger. Now is definitely the time to get on board and increase our numbers. Throughout November and December UKCSCs will be making appearances in town centers handing out cannabis information and educating the public on the harms of prohibition.