A 4/20 PSA From a Stoner Valedictorian

Hey you! Yes, you: the one holding the bong. And especially you there smoking that blunt in the South. 

I see you. 

I get you. 

And I reckon there are folks in your life who have no clue you enjoy a little cannabis. 

Keeping it quiet from your employer is one thing (at least until it becomes federally legal), but what about your friends and family? Are you open with those closest to you? How many among your kith and kin would be surprised that you smoke weed? Or disappointed? Or delighted?

Part of destigmatizing marijuana-use is becoming aware of how widespread its enthusiasts are. You know lots of stoners. And if you are one, I want you to think about from whom you’re hiding it—and come out to them this 4/20. 

Mural by Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith (Eugene, OR)

Although recreational use laws are changing attitudes in progressive states such as Oregon, Washington, and California, there are others lagging far behind in their inevitable embrace of the devil’s lettuce.

Texas and Lousiana, for example, seem very comfortable with booze consumption but have proven hostile ground for the legalization of the righteous bush! (Hey, ya’ll: how about altering your mood and mind without the liver disease, car wrecks, cancer, and domestic violence?)

In fact, this liquor alternative can have positive health effects. While funding for U.S. studies has been limited, the sticky icky has been used to treat a wide range of conditions such as: 

And we’re just scratching the surface of the benefits of a plant that’s been used for thousands of years. The racist War on Drugs has been an abject failure, expensive and devastating for communities. The American government’s anti-kush stance has needlessly filled our prisons and courtrooms, disproportionately with people of color. And that puritan attitude has also robbed us of a valuable medicine that should be available over the counter to adults. 

We’re sandwiched between two countries where the green goddess is more-or-less legal for recreational use: Canada has already legalized ganja, and Mexico is poised to do so this month.

As a recreational user, I can tell you what I love about Aunt Mary: in the right dose during my leisure time, she makes me feel like the best version of myself. If I have 2.5 mg of THC (a microdose, even for a newbie), I get motivated to paint, ride my bike, read, write, eat, clean the house, socialize, attend concerts, etc. I end up enjoying all of those activities more and feel much more present while participating. 

A microdose of THC helps to calm my inner chatter—what I call “my internal achievement dictator.” Normally, it’s easy for my brain to be three steps ahead of where I am: 

Jocelyn, double-check the expiration date on that Alaska Airlines certificate. 

Jocelyn, put “Detransition, Baby” on hold at the library. 

Jocelyn, clean those nasty baseboards, NOW. 

I’m a planner and a doer, always trying to maximize my daily output—it’s tough for me to turn this voice off even when I want to chill, but I’ve found that a left-handed cigarette shuts up this internal achievement dictator and lets me marinate in the moment. It’s nice, and I daresay it’s healthy for me.

I realize there are skeptics out there. Among them is (unfortunately) President Biden, who recently dismissed five White House staffers for past use of the whacky tabacky. (Come on, man! Your former boss was the leader of the Choom Gang!)

The bottom line is this: If alcohol use doesn’t compromise someone’s ability to get the federal government’s highest security clearance, then homegrown shouldn’t either. And let’s face it: the myth of the lazy stoner—even if taken at face value—is still better than the violent alcoholic. Cannabis should absolutely be legal at the federal level, and we’re getting there. 

And it starts with being honest with people closest to us. Need some famous names to to convince your family that smoking a doob isn’t unusual or demotivating? Here’s a list of high-achieving stoners—folks who currently attend (or have attended) the Holy Church of Reverend Green:

  • Carl Sagan
  • Lady Gaga
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Barack Obama
  • Brad Pitt
  • Bill Gates
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Bill Clinton
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • The Beatles
  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Al Gore
  • Stephen King
  • Martha Stewart
  • Steve Jobs
  • Ben and Jerry
  • Rihanna
  • Michael Phelps

If it’s good enough for entrepreneurs, astronomers, musicians, writers, athletes, and former presidents, it’s good enough to be available to Americans 21 and older. 

Floating on Tenas Lake, OR

So let’s embrace the medical, social, and economic benefits, as well as the much-needed criminal justice reform, that will result from the legalization of cannabis.

Want to help speed this up? Come out to your friends and family this 4/20. 

3 Replies to “A 4/20 PSA From a Stoner Valedictorian”

  1. And John Boehner! I have so many friends and a 92-year-old aunt who have used it for a full range of maladies. Thanks for your advocacy, BR!

  2. I recently got a hold of a concentrate from Oregon of micro dosed psilocybin. One drop and I could write, read, interact, do business, or whatever else I needed to do which I normally couldn’t do while tripping. YET, I felt the deep interconnectivity and reverence and humility and all the other amazing side affects of injecting mushrooms. The new frontier is not weed, it’s hallucinogenics. And I’m ready for the new trip.

    1. Agreed! I’m delighted that we’re the first state to not only decriminalize small amounts of all drugs but also to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic uses.

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