9.18.2020 | Like A Stone(r) In A Stream

When I first started smoking marijuana back in 1983, culture was at the complete tail-end of the 60s-70s sex, drugs and rock-n-roll upheavals and the pendulum was just about to swing back towards repression. I came from a Reagan-Republican family, and was just coming of age – I hadn’t yet developed my own political ideas.

Then came “Just Say No”. I was deep into the first year of my love affair with Mary Jane when I stopped by a friend’s house one evening to smoke some herb. A whole bunch of friends had gathered to smoke and discuss something they had seen on TV, a speech by Nancy Reagan and something called “Just Say No” – an anti-drug program that was specifically aimed at marijuana.

I sat listening to my friends’ outrage at this Nancy person, unable to believe the lies that she’d used in her speech against marijuana. This wasn’t the plant I knew and loved. Marijuana leading to heroin?!? What’s up with that? Drug dealers on the school yards?!? How come I was having such a hard time finding the herb? Pot smokers were unmotivated?!? She sure didn’t know my friends!

This was my first introduction into the lies employed by those who hate and fear marijuana. Yes, I believe it’s mostly fear. Only scared people act this way I figure. Why else would someone spend so much time hating on a plant? Being a person who believes on having honest conversations about… anything, really, I was very troubled by the inability to talk to someone who was “anti-marijuana” without it going off the rails into falsehoods and outright lies about cannabis.

The conversations I had back in the 80s and 90s with anti-marijuana people were so frustrating because I spent most of my time just trying to refute the endless lies they came up with. Holy cow, it was a nightmare every time I got into one of these conversations. I was a fiery Libertarian by the mid 80s – all the way through the 90s – and I wouldn’t back down from an argument over the herb. I’ve mellowed immensely since then, but don’t get me started. ?

Eventually I learned a Taoist approach to the situation and just avoided those conversations – I let them wash over me like I was a rock in a stream – and when I did find myself heading into one I would just pull back and take a diplomatic approach. Why? Because you can’t change peoples’ minds. They are not even talking about the same plant we’re so familiar with, not really.

My mother, who I loved very much, was one of these anti-marijuana people. We talked for hours each week on the phone and I could never convince her of the goodness of cannabis – I tried over and over. And she was a smart lady, she had an extremely high IQ, had straight A’s all the way through college, and was very loving and compassionate – it boggled my mind. She never saw the goodness of the plant – she was from a different era and believed the Reefer Madness lies. It was like we were never talking about the same plant… so sad.

Having been in the trenches and having been in many high-octane arguments over the years, here’s my advice, for what it’s worth: walk away or change the subject. You’ve got to pick your battles in life and going up against someone righteously convinced of the evils of marijuana is NEVER going to have their mind changed by an argument, especially not an argument with a “pothead”. You just end up with high blood pressure and list of things you should have said buzzing around your brain for hours. At least, that’s how it has worked for me.

Here’s what I’ve discovered changes people’s minds – Experience.

I have heard this over and over when I volunteered at collectives, “I was against marijuana until my sister (brother, mother, father, neighbor, etc.) started using it to help with her insomnia (cancer, depression, migraines, anxiety, etc.) and it was like a miracle…” They would say this as they were buying an eighth of herb for themselves.

Experience has changed way more minds than any reasoned and logical argument. As I’ve discovered over the years, anti-marijuana people are often people who haven’t NEEDED the herb, yet. Chances are, that may change over time, so you’ve just got to have patience with these people. In my experience, once they’ve seen the positive side of the herb, they tend to not be such bad people. Herb can have such a positive effect on people!

Of course, I do reserve a special place for Nancy Reagan in my Book of Bastard People. Right up there with Richard Nixon and Harry Anslinger.

I hope your weekend doesn’t include any anti-marijuana people ruining your buzz 😉 Stay safe, and until next time, best of health.

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