Marijuana users misunderstood

Casey Nguyen, In-Depth Editor

Your eyes are closed, and the music is on.

The joint is passed, and you inhale.


If there’s one thing marijuana is good for, it is being inexplicably tied to people’s identities and how others perceive them.Whether it is self-superiority or simply compassionate disdain, people have the tendency to love to talk about their feelings on topics regarding cannabis and its accompanying culture.


Although marijuana itself has been proven to have many benefits in medicinal uses, there is still a negative connotation that is associated with the name and its subculture. The mainstream or media’s portrayal of people who smoke marijuana are viewed in a negative manner and are often looked down upon.


People try to paint marijuana with a broad, large brush to say the least. It is easier to think of things as black or white; good or evil. Some would like you to think that you are doomed if you use marijuana, that you are wasting away your life. This is not true. With marijuana, the truth lies in the middle.


“The answer is not always going to be in black and white,” said junior Sadaf Marzi. “It can affect your brain in serious ways, but on the other hand, it can be very helpful in relieving stress.”

Today, every one of us is spending more of his or her leisure time watching TV or using our smartphones to go on Twitter or Snapchat. This shows that the media influences our decision process and establishes our perspectives.


It seems that these perceptions have been existing forever. That is because, from early childhood, we are given by our parents and our teachers a clear line of what is right and wrong. Our drug education system is one of the many aspects that influence the public perception of marijuana.


Looking back to the previous years in our PE classes, the vast majority of lessons had to do with marijuana and how it will ultimately cause you to lose your grip on reality in a whirlwind of addiction. Maybe this will happen. Maybe it will not. A more realistic, comprehensive approach would only see to students making safer decisions.


“We were all taught from an early age that all drugs are bad for you,” said Marzi. “Many still have that mindset but it’s slowly changing for the better.”


There is more public support for marijuana law reform than ever before. According to Governing, new polls show that current as of September 14, 2017, more than half the country is in favor of legalizing marijuana.


Despite the fact that America itself is ready to let people smoke marijuana legally, there is still a  rather bad light on those who do. These judgments go hand in hand to stereotypes. The cannabis community has had to live with these stereotypes of being lazy and losing all self-motivation based on the media’s depiction.


“Marijuana ties into how you are judged by other people and the people you surround yourself with,” said junior Jasmine Phan


However, this perception is proving to be outdated and misinformed. According to a recent study conducted by BDS Analytics, the annual household income among consumers in California is $93,800. This is considerably higher than the $75,900 average income of rejectors.

“In the end, it doesn’t matter unless the person you are criticizing decides to act upon it,” said junior Alex Brennan.  


If this issue is not addressed, thousands of people throughout America who smoke weed will be seen as dysfunctional members of society. Yet despite these findings, the “stoner” and “pothead” stereotype of being apathetic and unsuccessful remains intact. A definite stigma remains that people think these stereotypes hold true.


“Whether it diminishes their self-worth or how others think of them, that is just something they will have to understand because everyone has different ideas about it,” said Brennan.


By all means, I am not condoning the usage of marijuana. However, what I am saying is that it is not something that should be demonized. It also shouldn’t be something to base an identity on.


“They’re still human,” said junior Darwin Khay. “They are still their own person.”


Unfortunately, marijuana remains misunderstood. It is time to realize that marijuana usage should not be regarded as a means of judgment. Some people are going to do drugs. It might not be healthy, productive, or ideal, but it’s true. Marijuana use should not diminish a person’s value as a human being.

Maybe it’s time to rethink what you think you know.