Everybody knows stoners are no good. We’re shiftless, lazy, drooling piles of dysfunction, parasites living off the hard work and good manners of the square world.
In reality, of course, we’re the same as everyone else, but with better priorities. We just reached a conclusion a long time ago that the rest of society will soon discover: Pot is a lot safer than booze, and a lot more fun.
Still, it’s entertaining to speculate about what the world really thinks of potheads. Here are few common misconceptions.
Stoners are pathetic, unwashed losers, the layabout dregs of society. So the myth goes. But while there is some scientific evidence that pot can dampen ambition, there’s even more evidence to the contrary.
Just ask Carl Sagan. Well, no, don’t ask Carl Sagan. He’s dead. But ask the people who knew him: He smoked a lot of dope. He was also one of the smartest, most driven people the planet has ever seen.
Or take Steve DeAngelo, the Californian behind what may be the world’s largest pot shop. His medical weed dispensary serves a wide swath of Oakland and is beloved by its neighbors. What’s more, DeAngelo has become a frequent – and notably ambitious – voice for reform in the national media. Try tamping that kind of drive.
It is a common assumption that potheads have only one avenue of employment: the marijuana industry. Pot shop operators are forgiving of drug use, the thought goes, so they’ll hire the stoners no one else will.
Actually, most pot users hold down regular jobs and get along in the world just fine. If you think a large portion of unemployment, welfare, or disability benefits are going to buy weed, you don’t know anything about the job market or government relief programs.
Our Playlists Are All Reggae
There’s no doubt Bob Marley holds a special place in every stoner’s heart. No one has better symbolized the social, religious, and personal benefits of smoking cannabis, and no one has pushed the political discussion as far as he did.
But that doesn’t mean we only listen to tunes out of Jamaica. We also have hip-hop.
No, seriously, we potheads listen to a wide range of music, from jazz and classic rock to rap and even country (Willie Nelson, anyone?). Reggae is just part of the mix.
We Sell Weed to Kids
The stereotype is ancient: The sleazebag dealer hanging out at the local jungle gym to entice impressionable youths with a presumably deadly narcotic. The image has fueled countless bad TV episodes, B-grade movies, and D.A.R.E. lectures.
First, the vast majority of potheads never sell. We may occasionally swap an ounce here and there, and maybe a little money changes hands between friends. But the risk of selling on the black market is much higher than the risk of using, no matter where you live, so we tend to avoid it.
And even the few who do deal almost never do so with kids. Why would they? There are plenty of available adult customers no matter where you look, and they can pay better. A scummy dealer would only target children out of perversity or sheer desparation. And in this market, neither is very common.
We’re Politically Potent
For a long time, cannabis users were viewed as an especially powerless political group. Public opinion on legalization remained low for many years, and there were few if any major legislative victories over the years.
But then something happened. Almost spountaneously, starting around 1996, Americans started coming around to the conclusion that marijuana bans are a ridiculous failure, a national clusterfuck of epic proportions.
Now, we’re typically viewed as a potent force in the political world. Anti-weed laws are falling left and right, and nationwide legalization may be just a few years around the corner. We’ve accomplished more in the last decade than advocates achieved in 70 years of prohibition.
Thankfully, this particular stereotype is true. And with a little bit of luck, we can use it to overturn some of the other silly misunderstandings about potheads.