I sat in a surprisingly comfortable chair and drummed my fingers on my thigh, irate that I had missed a day of work. Like millions of Americans, I had been called for jury duty only to find that I would be turned loose after hours of waiting.
A brusk looking man in a grey suit had just finished explaining they were selecting their jury for a marijuana DUI case. As soon as he said that, I knew my services would not be required. After all, I have very strong opinions about cannabis. In fact, I'm pretty sure you could smell my opinion radiating off me. It seemed to follow me everywhere.
The lawyer was now asking each of us if we had any strong feelings one way or the other about marijuana. Most people answered yes or no. The older gentleman sitting in front of me, however, had much stronger feelings.
"I believe anyone who has anything to do with that will rot in Hell."
The following silence was by far the most awkward I had ever experienced in my adult life. Even the judge looked up from where he was seated looking over some papers. We all looked at each other stunned as the older gentleman sat with upright conviction.
"And you, ma'am?" The lawyer finally broke the silence, looking at me.
I couldn't help but laugh a bit as I replied, "I work in the industry."
While I processed the awkward encounter with my fellow potential juror as humorous, it highlighted a deeply enforced stereotype. Those involved with cannabis were doomed to rot in Hell.
Nearly 100 years' worth of negative propaganda has painted legal cannabis workers as shady and immoral. According to Leafly's Cannabis Jobs Report released in January 2021, there are roughly 321,000 full-time cannabis jobs across 37 states. Each of these industry workers faces discrimination based solely on the negative stereotype of a plant. Loan denial, social stigma, and even denial towards housing plague industry workers.
Outdated propaganda, though losing its grip, is still strangling this recession resilient industry. However, thanks to current ongoing research and transparent education, cannabis is overpowering the stigma surrounding cannabis workers.
The facts are clear; the cannabis industry is only going to continue to grow and the fear-riddled propaganda against it is no longer working. Cannabis workers are just like those in any other industry, we want to make a living to support our families.
As for the idea that those who work with cannabis will rot in hell...it is worth remembering that those in glass houses should avoid throwing stones.