Recently, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney showed a bit of prejudice and poor judgment when he joked that smoking cannabis “makes people stupid”. There are a lot of Americans, however, who feel the same way (some of whom like to get drunk and smoke cigarettes while they explain that cannabis makes people stupid). And that preconceived notion is what we are fighting when we fight for legalization.

Luckily, all our mainstream presidential candidates openly favor states’ rights and medical cannabis. The tide is turning. We can now say, optimistically, that medical use will likely be legal in some form in all 50 states sooner rather than later. That will be welcome news for residents of Montana, who have seen their medical cannabis industry extinguished this year by pinhead politicians, after 12 years in operation.

Freedom of choice: only for lethal stuff?

The discretionary or recreational consumption battle is a tougher one. We can compare cannabis to alcohol, and cannabis wins on all counts except legality. We can compare cannabis to tobacco with the same results. Yet, those two recreational substances are legal in all 50 states. But, do we want to compare adult discretionary cannabis use with consumption of those potentially deadly things? Is it fair to cannabis consumers to begin with that premise? Not even.

Perhaps the best way to advocate legalization is to borrow from the movement for gay rights. In the 1980s, just 30-odd years ago, it was not uncommon to hear politicians on both sides of the aisle denigrate homosexuals in connection with the AIDS crisis. Gays did not feel welcome in very many churches, never mind being ordained a minister.

Now, the Episcopalians, Methodists, and other mainstream churches have ordained gay and lesbian ministers; and homosexuals are welcomed in other denominations. In 2016, gay marriage is legal in all 50 states. How did the tables turn in only two generations?

Unfounded fears

gay rights

A variety of factors were involved, of course, but among the most important: National Coming Out Day. Gays and lesbians started coming out of the closet in force, relying on strength in numbers, and mainstream America learned that their fears were unfounded. The gays weren’t monsters lurking in the streets. They were their friends and neighbors with clean homes and manicured landscaping who were forced to live a lie.

That fight still has a long way to go. The Orlando massacre proved that. But it’s come so far and so quickly that perhaps we ought to consider a similar campaign. Cannabis consumers aren’t all waste-cases in beat-up vans or deadbeats in their parents’ basement. Cannabis users are presidential candidates. CEOs and inventors. Artists and teachers. NFL football players, Olympians, and other elite-level athletes. Cannabis users are parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, and police officers.

One caveat: If it means losing custody of your kids or your job, or if some other horrible repercussion would arise from admitting to cannabis consumption, then don’t put yourself in jeopardy. But wherever possible, you can support those who can take the chance.

Adult freedom of choice in a free society to socialize and consume a relatively harmless, non-toxic herb instead of something deadly and addictive that society approves of depends on the next few years. Every little bit helps, whether it’s sharing a relevant article, sparking conversations, or encouraging more research. Every single one of us has something to contribute and a responsibility to do so—for a healthier, safer world.

RELATED: For dozens of mouth-watering cannabis recipes, how-to videos, and how to get your own Botanical Extractor for infusing the wholesome goodness of healthy herbs into foods, check out MagicalButter.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

About the author Amber Boone copy (1)

Amber Boone considers writing the cornerstone of communication. She interviews MMA (mixed martial arts) athletes for CombatPress.com and opines on MMA at FightItOut.com. She’s passionate about helping folks tell their stories and making the world a better place, which includes working to win the freedom of Americans to partake of the herb. When not writing or playing beach volleyball, she can be found at her day job—for now. Follow Amber on Twitter @thruthetrees11.

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