Do I Look Like a Pothead?

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I’ve never been a fan of labels. From my sexual preferences to the North VS South Side debate, I am a firm believer in “Why choose?’ We live in a time where we are expected to accept someone, so long as we are able to put a label on them. I don’t agree with that. Life is much better when it’s enjoyed without any hang ups. Society puts too much of an emphasis on “who” and “what” and not enough emphasis on the “why?” This applies to just about everything in my life. There are many labels that I don’t wear even when others think I should. As a smoker, one of the labels I hear, and detest, the most is “Pothead”. It’s one of the labels that goes into my “Do Not Wear” pile.

I shy away from terms like “pothead” or “stoner” because I don’t like the negative connotations it brings. I don’t like being looked at as an unproductive pothead who just smokes and never gets shit done. I want to be a part of this new representation of what I like to call “Cannabis Consumers”. An example of someone who is able to be highly productive while smoking regularly. And while the old terms related to weed hold a special place in my heart, they no longer describe the real me. I am not a pothead. I am an aunt. I’m a writer. I’m a lover. I’m a hard worker. And I just so happen to smoke. There are so many current people in this industry hoping to change that stigma, and I am one of them. “Pothead” is not the umbrella term for people who smoke because we come from all walks of life. It would be like referring to all people who drink as alcoholics.

And we see it everywhere. The decriminalization of marihuana was happening during the introduction of films into mainstream America. So the very first instances of weed on film were outright propaganda. Marihuana was being broadcast as a “Devils drug”, up until fairly recently. It would take decades, and the will of America’s youth, before things would change. The media has always used drugs in a way that suits their narrative. From demonizing marihuana in the 1930’s to product pushing corporate partners in the 2020’s. Hell, it’s Hollywood that portrays white drug dealers as goofy, approachable types while portraying brown and black men as ruthless criminals. These are hardly the types of people who I would want to represent me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love classics like Up In Smoke. I’ve seen every major stoner movie from Reefer Madness to whatever shit stoner lineup Netflix always recommends. But I’m not Tommy Chong laughing my way through life with red eyes. I’m a regular person. One that has to go to work. One that has to function for most of the day. One who’s peers respect. Who’s nephews look up to. Yes, my days are peppered with smoke breaks. Sure, my Visine is doing a great job of keeping my eyes clear. That’s just me, and I refuse to have my experience as a Cannabis Consumer cheapened by our Governments, and even Hollywood’s stereotype of who I should be. A pothead is someone who is portrayed as a bum, someone who sits around and smokes all day. Yet this alienates the millions of highly productive consumers in the US.

The cannabis industry is fast growing, and quickly it’s being taken over by “the man”. More and more I see the perception shift, smoking weed is now becoming the cool trend for white suburbians everywhere. Yet weed has always been an inner city drug, and I hope that we’re able to display its use by its members in a positive light. I hope that one day minorities won’t be looked at as criminals or drug addicts, while laughing off White America’s use of the same drug. It’s because of this reason that I cannot accept the term “Pothead”. I mean, it literally was an insulting and derogatory term in its origins. It’s believed to originate from the Spanish word for cannabis “potiguaya” and we can safely assume who translated into English and used it disrespectfully. This country has never been nice to Cannabis Consumers, and while I will always lovingly look back on the word, I don’t see myself really using it in the future.

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