Our stories – “how I came to where I am” – are our series of interpretations of & about the world. Stories are where we store what is meaningful and valid. They are our current renditions of reality; and as such, are the primary reference points for how we choose to behave. The oral tradition of recording observational data in the form of story has been with us since humans have had language. Even today, our cultures and traditions are constantly being written, rewritten, and revised.
This is where we jump in, folks. And by we, I mean you. This podcast is a wedge, splitting the edifice of prohibition’s master narrative. My stories, your stories, our stories, are the antidote for the well-intentioned, yet ultimately poisonous ideology of this master narrative. So far our public story [when we talk cannabis] has been an unrealistically dichotomous one – total abstinence vs. corrosive dependence, squandered potential, neutralized ambition, and negligent parenting; incompatible with academic, athletic, or professional success. For those of use with a fair amount of exposure to cannabis use, we know that responsible adult use is not a unique outcome. Unfortunately, one-sided research has set the rules and chosen what it will support as true; in this case, the stories of addiction, over-indulgence and vice.
We empower ourselves when we become critically aware of the master narratives that we live … and that live us. My goal is to foster liberation and emancipation from the devaluing and disempowering master narratives. Story-sharing is the remedy I employ. Drug policy is in flux right now. During this process of reinvention, it is squishy and malleable. The conditions are ripe for transformation. A crucial piece of the system of cannabis policy has been the voices of consumers. The conversations which occur during these interviews are the sound of our voices being set free. You are hereby invited into the creative act of meaning-making.
“The creative act of meaning-making”? What does that look like?
Well, one could collect stories. Dialogue is dense with all sorts of information (emotional content, hidden assumptions, living data of tested hypotheses, etc.) which influence the component parts [of policy] while they reorganize themselves. As we engage with one another, with society at large, and with the communities we’re embedded in, we are able to further articulate the healthiest behaviors and approaches for this new post-prohibition era. The conversations on this podcast are our bids to influence the change process, to coauthor a revision of the existing, outworn narrative. In the interviews I’ll be posting, we’ll be exploring stories beyond the one in which we were trained. As we share them, we find some stories don’t fit like they once did – which is good, since they may prevent optimal success. In its truest good, dialogue takes us past our own stories, into a new, freshly revised realm which didn’t exist before. It is only called forth when two or more are gathered with the willingness to be changed by what they’ve heard.
If we really want to participate in changing public perceptions of cannabis (and its consumers), our best bet is to tell a believable story, that challenges people’s perceptions. This is what it means to take part in the creative act of meaning-making.