Perks, perils, and thoughts of a Cannabis Activist

I catch all sorts of hell for being a part of the cannabis movement. My family tells me that it will ruin my future prospects, the employer I interned for last year told me that he would never want his child taught by a person who supports the movement, teachers have told me its use will make me stupid, others tell me that the police are going to target me for what I do. There are even those who despise and refuse to associate with me because of both my beliefs and my involvement. No doubt, it can be a hard and lonely road, especially living in a state like Texas.

Do I worry about my support and involvement in this movement harming my future prospects? I see it as a double-edged sword. Yes, it very well could. I am definitely concerned that it could hinder my ability to go into a teaching career. But why should a person be discriminated against in the teaching field for having a sensible view on cannabis? It could also harm my chances of obtaining good future employment in other areas. Even now as I have co-founded a local news agency, I worry about what might happen if the two happen to get intermixed, that sponsors will steer clear of advertising with us. It all could make things very tough for me, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Success in life depends entirely on the risks you take.

I also see it as helping as well. I’m deeply interested in being so involved with the cannabis industry that it becomes a full time job for me. I’d like to make a living writing about it, traveling to cover events and working with organizations to promote the spreading of information. I’d love to some day grow my own crop, especially without having to worry about getting arrested or having to buy some BS state license. One of my biggest interests in life is cooking, and of course I’d love to incorporate cannabis into it, and to a certain extent, I already do. In fact, it would be a dream come true for me to work in depth with all aspects of the cannabis industry. Not to mention all of the great people I’ve met through my involvement with the movement.

Am I worried about the police targeting me? I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t cross my mind, and I do know that the police can and will go out of their way to screw with someone. However, it’s unlikely that they’ll bother me, and to be honest if you’re careful about your actions, they’ll have a tough time nailing anything to you anyways. I can also assure you that they won’t be kicking down your door simply for being vocal about the issue, it just doesn’t happen.

Honestly, I really don’t give a damn if other people are going to hate and not associate with me over this matter. It’s childish and there’s just some things in life that we don’t have to tolerate, and this is one instance of that. To steal a quote from Curt Cobain, I’d rather be hated for who I am, than to be loved for something I’m not. I don’t go out of my way to advertise to people that I’m interested in cannabis. Sure I write about it and I promote it through my social media, especially the legal aspects, but I’m not out there throwing it in people’s faces, which at times is what I truly believe needs to be done, but I do want to be respectful of others.

I also don’t shy away from it either. If someone asks, or if someone is running their mouth spouting false information about the plant or making generalizations about the people who consume it, I’ll step up to the plate every time. Everyone is different and I’m not trying to say anything negative about those who would rather keep their stuff on the down-low. It’s not my place to judge someone about how they want to run their life, provided they’re not hurting anyone else in the process. However, I prefer to be vocal and we need more people to be vocal, and that is exactly what this movement needs right now, badly. I do not however want people to be vocal if they’re going to act a fool and give us bad press. This isn’t just some big party, people’s lives are on the line here.

Do I consume cannabis? You bet I do, smoking, vaping, and edibles. I hope to some day get the opportunity to try a tincture. Do I consume it every day though? No, I’m more of the type that enjoys it a couple of times a week, and you know what, I don’t want to be chastised by other heavier consumers of the plant for it. To each their own.

So why do I not consume it every day? I have no need for it. I claim no medicinal use, even though there is not a doubt in my mind that medicinal claims for it are legitimate. Sure I use it from time to time to relieve some aches and pains, but really it’s just a fun thing for me, kinda like alcohol, except I don’t feel like crap afterwards and I haven’t torn up my kidneys. Not dissing on drinkers either. I enjoy it when the mood strikes is all.

I will say that cannabis has helped me in many ways. In essence it has made me the calm, confident person I am today. It helped me find myself, to look within and examine what makes me tick. It has helped me through bad times and has enhanced the good times. I was once a person that got upset and fretted over the little things in life, but once I found cannabis, these things gradually began to change about me. It’s not the cannabis that makes me this person, it is what enabled me to find the person that I am. In essence, this plant helps people get to know themselves, provided they are ready to get a boost to that internal dialog. It’s not for everyone, but nothing is, however I highly recommend seeing for yourself whether that is indeed the case for you.

I also readily admit that when I get stoned, “why do we call it that anyways?” I don’t function well. Sure I can shoot a great game of pool, among some other things, but otherwise it messes with my memory and train of thought when I’m talking. I definitely can’t work in most cases while I’m under the effects of it, though it does at times help me focus and increase my drive when I’m writing. That’s just my situation though. *Note: This is not one of those times, sorry to disappoint.

All of these various claims about cannabis I listen to skeptically. I don’t know if it cures cancer, I certainly won’t make the claim, though based on what I’ve seen I believe it very well could fight cancer cells. If only we could get some more serious research done on it here. I don’t believe that it damages your brain, though I could be wrong, but research has shown that it may in fact regenerate brain cells. I’m just in search of legitimate information about the plant, good or bad, and I don’t think any of it should be hidden or dismissed. We will be better off as a society if our decisions are informed by facts and are not skewed by fear-mongering half-truths and outright lies. By the way, the name of the plant is cannabis, not marijuana, but harping on someone for their preferred term isn’t helping anyone. Though it does seem a bit insidious when some people use the term “pot.”

You could say that I’m a part of this movement because I have skin in the game, at any point in time I could be arrested for consuming a non-toxic plant while harming absolutely no one. You could say that I’m in it just to get high. I disagree with both assessments. It’s bigger than me, than any one person. We all have skin in this game, whether we consume the plant or not because the illegality of this plant affects us all, whether it be directly or indirectly.

I’m a fan of economics and in studying economics you must realize that things are very intrinsically linked, and that every action has ripple effects into many unseen areas. Everything about making this plant illegal leads to one central issue, that humanity suffers because of it. People who need it as a medicine suffer, people who get discriminated against because they happened to get caught suffer, children whose parents have been taken away from them because of it suffer, those who must submit to drug tests because the government encourages and subsidizes them suffer, the missed economic opportunities cause suffering, the profits that go to violent organizations cause people to suffer, the money and police work wasted while dangerous people get less attention causes everyone to suffer. Not to mention all of the unnecessary deaths induced by this war on a plant. We are all affected by its criminalization. This doesn’t even take into consideration all of the losses incurred due to the criminalization of growing hemp, a subject that isn’t talked about nearly enough.

I also never want to have to experience the police breaking into my home, ransacking the place, holding my family at gun point, killing my pets, or even worse, having one of my family members or friends killed by a trigger happy agent. Would you want something like this to happen to you? Imagine the terror that would be inflicted on your family, your children, all because the police either raided the wrong house, or because you had some drugs but otherwise weren’t harming anyone. Don’t think for a moment that it couldn’t happen to you, because this happens on a daily basis all over this country.

It absolutely baffles me that as a society we find it humane to lock people up in cages for doing something that in no way detracts from the liberty of others. Those who would encourage this type of world, along with those who stand on the sidelines and do absolutely nothing to prevent this truly upsets me. I really don’t see how people can’t even do something so simple as to take time out of their day, a couple days every couple of years to get out and go cast a vote for someone who doesn’t want to lock people up in cages for simply doing things that they don’t agree with. That would be a start, but voting on election day is just one of a series of steps.

I’m involved because someone has to step up and help put an end to all of this, because I have a duty to speak out against injustice, because the world will be a better place for it, and I want my children to live in a better world.

By: Stephen Carter
Stephen@iCarter.com

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4 Comments

Filed under Contributors, Stephen Carter

4 responses to “Perks, perils, and thoughts of a Cannabis Activist

  1. Well written sir. The use of misinformation boggles my mind. American’s don’t do enough research and get spoon fed a bunch of lies. Keep on keeping on!

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  2. Mike

    There *has* been serious research into cannabinoids killing cancer cells – and it’s absolutely proven with repeated studies. Research your posts a bit more man.

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  3. Stephen Carter

    Perhaps you could point me towards these studies that have been proven and reproduced that cannabinoids kill cancer cells. I’ve seen studies of this, but nothing that indicates to me that this is a sure thing.

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  4. Tim

    You can search google for scholarly articles on “cannabinoid apoptosis”.

    Here are a few of the first results:
    http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/66/13/6748.abstract
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19047095

    It isn’t disputed that cannabinoids induce apoptosis (natural cell death) in many kinds of cancer cells, while not harming healthy cells. These studies are simply reviewing the methods of action (Primarily CB2 receptor stimulation) that leads to this activity.

    Also – Really well written piece. You concisely relate many of the concerns of cannabis activists and you seem to have very clear thoughts about the direction the movement needs to take. It’s difficult for some activists to realize that they can actually hurt the movement by not presenting their argument properly and professionally.

    I’m finally getting to that vocal stage myself. I’ve written enough speeches and done enough research that I feel confident in publicly representing the movement. I often wear cannabis apparel (hats, shirts, NORML gear, etc..), to raise awareness and just to see the reactions/conversations it starts (obviously when I am completely clear headed). You get the whole range of reactions from the ignorant, “Hey bro, you got any bud?”, to people suddenly being really friendly, to people actually staring openly at me with dislike (once or twice I would have even called it hatred). No one has ever actually confronted me negatively about it and the vast majority of reactions are at the very least accepting if not directly supportive. That’s coming from the heart of the bible belt too.

    Anyway, once again – well written piece. Thanks for taking the time to make the efforts you are, because as you said, “I have a duty to speak out against injustice, because the world will be a better place for it, and I want my children to live in a better world.”

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