By Debby Goldsberry
After 100 years of prohibition, cannabis legalization has never been closer. Yet, there is no clear and unified strategy in place to reach that goal. The public, though highly supportive of medical cannabis, remains reluctant to commit their vote to full legalization. This is despite the clear failure of the “War on Drugs,” the proven benefits of using cannabis, and the support of more than 20 million Americans who use cannabis regularly.
It is time for the cannabis users themselves to imagine and create a world with legal cannabis. This means taking responsibility for self-governance and self-regulation, and identifying and enacting strategies to combat problems that could occur within a legal cannabis scheme. Already we have seen “big business” moving into the medical cannabis industry, and thwarting long-standing values held by activists, including the HIGH TIMES Freedom Fighters.
Voters have an outdated view of the average cannabis user, and this is holding up the legalization effort. Prohibition has always placed negative labels on cannabis users: hophead, stoner, burnout, pothead, etc. Let’s show the real face of the modern cannabis user. Cannabis users are sensible people, good neighbors, and they care about the community around them. Let’s “tune in, turn on, and help out,” and put old stereotypes to rest.
Cannabis Action Network, a nonprofit group I helped co-found in the late 1980’s, worked with renowned drug addiction specialist Stanton Peele to develop a campaign to promote the “Sensible Use of Cannabis.” Based on standards Mr. Peele developed for the wine industry, these guidelines help identify ways of using cannabis in a positive manner. Please copy, distribute, and educate people about these guidelines. We must step up and organize ourselves for the future.
Reprinted from Cannabis Action Network archival materials.
Personal users of cannabis must make responsible decisions and use good judgment. The following guidelines help identify ways of using cannabis in a positive manner.
1. Adults should use cannabis as part of a healthy, balanced, and responsible lifestyle.
2. The decision to use cannabis should be made freely, and not as a result of social pressure.
3. Cannabis users should be well informed about its effects on themselves and others. This should include both legal and health risks and personal consequences.
4. Never use cannabis as an excuse or a cue for antisocial or irresponsible behavior.
5. Cannabis users should model and reward responsible use, particularly with new users.
6. Use cannabis as a part of positive social interactions, rather than primarily in isolation or as a remedy for negative feelings.*
7. Develop sensible cannabis use limits for yourself based on personal, health, situational, and cultural factors. It is important to be objective about your cannabis use and listen to the constructive advice of others.
8. Avoid cannabis use that puts you or others at risk, such as when driving, at work, or in public places. Remember, personal use of cannabis is still illegal and penalties are stiff.
9. Use of cannabis by children is inappropriate and should be discouraged.
10. Cannabis use should contribute to, rather than detract from, users’ health, well-being, creativity, work, relationships, and social obligations.
*Combating negative feelings may be a positive effect for patients suffering from depression. It is important to consult a physician whenever using cannabis as medicine.
I nearly forgot, give um ah listen!
Irie Ites, Folks