In spite of the stereotype that people who regularly smoke marijuana are lazy degenerates who live in their parents basement and spend their days watching reruns of Family Guy, most weedists know that cannabis enthusiasts come from varying backgrounds and lifestyles. Some of these lifestyles offer the privilege of being open and honest about the recreational use of marijuana. However, others may not be afforded such freedom.
Although the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis in many areas of the U.S. may have many of us feeling as though we are free to emerge from the shadows of cannabis prejudice and no longer conceal our personal choices, it is worth remembering that anti-cannabis attitudes are likely still held by many people in our lives.
While the frowns of disapproval or lectures from our parents may be something we can generally shrug off, the opinions of those within our professional lives may be harder to ignore. For better or worse, our livelihoods matter and therefore should factor into how we choose to conduct ourselves in certain situations.
The following are a few tips for those who would prefer to keep their weedist lifestyle on the DL.
1. Social Media
Sharing canabis related material or posting about pot use on social media websites that are associated with one’s real-life identity can be risky business. Even for those fortunate enough to reside in a weed-friendly area of the country, it’s important to keep in mind that employers or potential employers may see what you post and may not be as educated about cananbis as you or your friends are. Even in Colorado, employers continue to discriminate against cannabis users. Sadly, many people still hold on to negative stoner stereotypes and may develop an opinion of you that can harm your future employment prospects.
While wearing cannabis themed clothing in public may be alright at a music festival or at a friend’s house, it could potentially be an issue at the coffee shop or grocery store. You never know when you’re going run into your boss, or the conservative office gossip. Sometimes, a plain hoodie may be preferable over the one with the giant hemp leaf on the front. Same goes for the bumper stickers on your car.
3. Concealing the Scent
Going to work and/or attending serious social engagements smelling of cannabis is a sure-fire way to give yourself away. Non-smokers are very sensitive to the rather pungent aroma of weed, and many lack the courtesy to discreetly inform you of the odor you are giving off. Going to work smelling of weed is never a good idea. Even if you haven’t been smoking, you may unknowingly be carrying the scent around on a daily basis if you regularly smoke inside your home. To avoid this, it may be best to smoke outside, blow the smoke out of a window if you would prefer to remain indoors, or invest in a product created to eliminate the smell.
4. Choose Your Battles Wisely
Engaging in political discussions about cannabis in a professional setting may not always be the best idea. As tempting as it may be when you hear your blowhard co-worker throwing out inaccurate cannabis “facts” and statistics he heard on Bill O’Reilly, do not take the bait. Such discussion can get heated rather quickly, and before you know it you may find yourself blurting out your own very personal cannabis knowledge and experiences just to shut someone up. It simply is not worth it if it can put your job on the line.
Although I am a staunch supporter of the notion that we should all strive to stay true to ourselves and stand by our convictions, I also believe this can be done in many ways. The ‘soap box’ approach (i.e. boldly sharing your thoughts and ideas to anyone who will listen) is not always best, and has the potential to be counterproductive in certain situations. Putting your well-being and livelihood first is nothing to be ashamed of.