• Shelby McDaniel

Legal Cannabis Workers and Those Who Judge Us

I stood in the cereal aisle trying to scope out the best deals. It was Saturday morning and I was doing my usual grocery shopping. There was only one other person in the same aisle, an older lady peering at the more healthy options. As she moved closer to see what kind of options were near me, she paused and sniffed the air. Not just a quick sniff, either. It was a long, dramatic, 'oh lord, what is that smell?' sniff. Then she looked me dead in the eye with the most disapproving look she could muster.

I knew that that look was for. I smelled like marijuana.

After working the previous day in the grow, I had thrown on the same jacket to go to the store. And while I may have been nose-blind to the scent, it was obvious the lady nearby could smell it.

There is a certain stigma around cannabis, despite it being legal in the majority of US states. According to a Gallop Poll taken in November 2020, 68% of Americans support cannabis legalization. While reasons for agreeing with ending cannabis prohibition remained varied, the support for legal cannabis grows every year.

But if the majority of Americans support legal cannabis, then why do industry workers such as myself get the stink eye?

There is a certain stigma that is still being pushed by prohibition advocates. Previously, cannabis users have been portrayed as forgetful, unmotivated, and unreliable. And despite the research and testimonials showing how wrong these stereotypes are, outdated information is still being cycled.

The truth of the matter is the cannabis industry is placed under strict regulations that are continuously changing. Industry workers pay taxes just like in any other line of work. To say cannabis users (many who work in the industry) are unreliable and unmotivated is absolutely misinformed and (quite frankly) idiotic.

The cannabis industry has proven itself to be recession resilient and a boon for the economy. However, misinformed stereotypes hurt the industry and its workers. I have been in multiple instances like the one above and there are sure to be more. Such scenarios will only stop if misinformation about the industry is corrected.

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