Since July 1st, 2015, it has been legal for me to grow, possess, and consume cannabis in my home here in Portland, Oregon. In honor of those who are still living under the tyranny of the Drug War, this podcast is designed to assist individuals and communities navigate this peculiar twilight of cannabis oppression. It’s now time to ask how we integrate our now-permissible pot-smoking into the preexisting social milieu.
That’s actually is bit of a misnomer. The truth is that my guests & I are already engaged, productive community members. We teach in schools, stock your groceries, care for the needy, and provide a host of other services that keep our neighborhoods running. In these first steps into the post-prohibition era, we no longer face penalties for the pot itself. However, our bosses can fire us for using it, our kids can be removed from our custody and placed in foster homes if we have it, banks are obligated to deny us home or business loans if we don’t hide it, and we’re not allowed to operate a car for weeks after we use it. Plus, the racially disproportionate enforcement & punishment of cannabis laws continues. So the prejudice and stigma still have very real consequences.
It seems now we are entering the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell phase of cannabis integration. As members of a legally-oppressed demographic, we are faced with cumbersome, emotionally-charged conversations when it comes to interacting in any truthful way with our employers, our parents, our landlords, our neighbors, and our children. Sometimes, these conversations can go well, and deepen the bonds of trust. Other times, well, they’re just not possible.
But how should we approach these conversations? How do we know if the time is right? How much should we reveal? There are no instruction books, benevolent pamphlets, or support groups to answer these questions. But now, thanks to the Oregonians who voted for Measure 91, there is a podcast – a cyberspace where where people, pot-smokers, can share their experiences of having these difficult, often clumsy, occasionally liberating conversations; where we can share what went into our decisions to engage, how to most productively engage, and what signs have told us not to engage.
These episodes are our coming-out stories. The unspoken-of must stand forth.
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