The Stigma Attached to Marijuana

There is a stigma attached to marijuana.  I know this is true because i feel it.  My husband thinks its hysterical that I have an interest in marijuana.  I feel the stigma attached to marijuana even though my interest is not so much in the weed itself, but in:

  • business;
  • economic development in NY;
  • jobs in NY;
  • criminal justice reform as it relates to the racial injustice perpetrated by prohibition.

The weed itself is not my cup of tea right now but my husband still thinks it’s funny.  He wishes I would get another interest.

There was a really awesome piece in the Poughkeepsie Journal News last month.   It made a strong impression on me even though it is a letter from a politician and I have little use for politicians generally.  In this letter from the local politician to the person at the newspaper “who decided what words to use where.” He tells them to stop using the term “recreational “ as it applies to marijuana legalization.

The stigma attached to marijuana
NY Assemblyman Kevin Cahill

“Decriminalized, legalized, regulated, state sanctioned marijuana distribution, use and possession is not about encouraging or even a benign acceptance of a “recreational” use of the substance. In fact, the persistent labeling of efforts to remove criminal sanctions and state prohibitions against the creation of markets as legalizing “recreational” marijuana, far overstates and misrepresents the intent of most legislative sponsors. It trivializes the reasoning behind advocacy for such changes and risks sending an inaccurate and inappropriate message to the general public, but in particular, young people.

Indeed, individuals have a variety of motivations for marijuana use and lumping these together as “recreation” distorts usage which more likely is for the improvement of health and quality of life.”

“…colleagues and I are not supporting the proliferation of a party drug.”

He goes on to say that using the term “recreation” twists the reason for legalization and sends our youth the wrong message.  He says that a recent study by BD Analytics shows that only 6 percent of people over 50 who consumed marijuana did so for recreation. The overwhelming majority did so primarily for pain relief.  Other studies said people consume marijuana to relax and to help sleep.   Oddly enough he does not give a better word.  I suggest that that word be “regulated”.

If this terminology catches on, it might go a long way toward ending the stigma attached to consuming marijuana or working in the industry.