When I first joined Twitter in the dildo capacity about a year and a half ago, I found a handful of awesome, welcoming, and genuine people right away. One of those people is the beautiful lady behind Nurse Mary J Tattoo Aftercare – Colleen Kibler.
She’s an educator, blogger, businesswoman, cannabis advocate, and total badass to name a few. She’s modest and kind, and is the type of person who takes the time to tell you she appreciates you. She’s the first person who popped into my mind when I wanted to bring you a guest blog, and I’m thrilled that she not only accepted but also wrote a fantastic blog post with little to no guidance.
The United States cannabis industry needs our help now more than ever because we’re finally getting somewhere with reversing prohibition. Now that governments are somewhat listening to what is being said about cannabis, it’s extremely crucial that it is represented in a strictly positive light in order to fully legalize and decriminalize it for good to continue helping the millions of people already benefiting from it.
One of the main challenges for legalizing cannabis products is that there isn’t enough scientific research on it. This is a true fact and you know I do everything by science – but the reason there isn’t enough research is because it’s typically illegal to do so. We need cannabis decriminalized so that scientists are able to legally do their job without risk of prosecution.
Until that happens, we U.S. citizens have to do our part in representing the cannabis industry professionally to prove that it’s not “a gateway drug,” “dangerous,” or even “a drug” at all. It may sound way bigger than you are, but look at how far we’ve come. As of today, 28 states plus D.C. have legalized some kind of marijuana – an activity that people are STILL rotting in prison over today. Over half of the United States now allows medicinal marijuana, and that only happened because people started standing up. Here’s how you can too.
Becoming a Cannabis Advocate
By Colleen Kibler
The world out there can be a difficult place for the pro-cannabis crowd. While polls indicate that over 60% of Americans would like to see Cannabis legalized, there is still a great deal of fear and discomfort discussing the subject publicly… and for good reason! In 2017, there are STILL thousands of people each year getting arrested and going to prison for growing, selling and using a plant. Harsh disciplinarian action over such minor infractions generate a population consumed by fear- it’s part of how they control us.
Cannabis advocates are brave souls, often risking their livelihoods to spread truth and information. Their fearless and tireless work is to be admired, and we all benefit from it. They usually have a reason very close to their heart for speaking up. Experience. Many times, they are parents of a sick child and witness their suffering daily. Sometimes they are victims of traumatic stress or suffering a debilitating disease that has stopped them from living the life they want. For these people, and I am one of them, their experiences with Cannabis gave them their lives back. The deep pain they work through alters their perspective. Some people sink into depression. Those who are able, however, often arrive at advocacy. Because they have personally suffered, or witnessed the suffering of a loved one, they fight. They fight HARD. The fear of jail time or condemnation from their more conservative family members is just a dot in their rear-view mirror. These people move forward and preach progress. From the ashes, rises the Phoenix.
So, if you are NOT suffering or watching a loved one suffer, how can you become one of these phenomenal people? Is it as simple as talking to friends while you hand the bong around and using “Legalize it” as your email signature?
5 Steps to Becoming a Strong Cannabis Advocate:
Stoners who talk about legalization are not the same as advocates. In order to become a Cannabis advocate, you not only need to know details about the plant, but you must understand how the plant affects you, personally.
It’s easier to do this in a legal state, because then you have access to strain names, cannabinoid profiles and other information about the Cannabis you purchase (a HUGE benefit of legalization you can talk about during your advocacy!)
Consider the reasons you use Cannabis. Does it relieve your stress? Help your arthritis pain? Give you the motivation or inspiration to start a new project? What makes you passionate about it, and why do you want to share that with people? Enjoy being present and experiencing the difference between Indica and Sativa strains. Try new methods of consumption. Learn about your own tolerance.
Spend real time and attention on information. Treat yourself to basics of Cannabis language, and subjects like “The difference between Hemp and Marijuana”. Learn about different methods of storing and using Cannabis. Look into different preparations like concentrates and edibles. Find out more about your State and Local representative’s opinions and understand your state’s legal position- then learn more about other legal states. If you’re interested, learn about growing and industry ancillary products! If you’re in a legal state, check out different dispensaries and ask questions about the products they sell. Spend some time on Cannabis chemistry and read up on Cannabinoids and Terpenes- if you’re not sure where to start with your education, I want you to check out a wonderful book called “Understanding Medical Cannabis” by Gooey Rabinski.
This is the part where you need to muster some courage. It’s time to start spreading the information you’ve learned, and get involved with the Cannabis community. You can start small! Open an information only Cannabis Twitter feed, mine is @CannaFactsbyNMJ. Write a blog. Network online with other folks who are deeply passionate. Join a local NORML chapter, and donate to pro-Cannabis groups. If you’re the entrepreneurial type, consider starting a business or a non-profit. Most importantly, get out there and TALK to people. Be a font of facts and truth to those interested in listening. Speak clearly, practice your ‘elevator pitch’ to make your opening salvo short and sweet. Keep calm when speaking so that listeners also remain calm- the calm mind is an open mind.
Make Your Voice Heard When You See Irresponsible Practice
Even though we don’t think about this, the biggest way we can advocate for Cannabis is to conduct ourselves maturely, and ask those around us to do the same. There are a ton of advantages to industries as young as ours, but one drawback can be lack of standards. Among the hundreds of responsible Cannabis based companies, there are a few bad apples. Companies that produce product in unsafe ways should not be supported. Products that are inconsistent, playing off dead stoner stereotypes, stealing brand assets from other companies or delivering confusing messages should also be avoided. Hold companies to reasonable standards- ask that products have accurate potency testing and demand that brands practice truthful marketing. When you hear those old stoner stereotypes in everyday conversation, speak out against them. Explain why the terms and phrases we use shape the world we live in.
Use Cannabis Wisely
As an advocate, people will be watching you. You can LOVE Cheech and Chong movies, but don’t act like you’re an extra in one! Know your limits and stick to them. Store your Cannabis away from children and pets. Don’t show up to work high. It takes a while, but try to remove stoner slang from your vocabulary. Be the example.
Becoming a strong Cannabis Advocate isn’t something that happens overnight. But the awesome news is that you’ve probably already started this path! Now it’s time to brush up your knowledge and debate skills. Be conscious and present when Cannabis is involved, and soon, you’ll be making ripples in the community. Understand that you are a crucial part of the movement towards normalization. If you choose to take on this commitment, thank you. You truly will be making a difference in the world, I can’t wait for you to join me!
Ms. Kibler is the Founder of Nurse Mary J Tattoo Aftercare
Where to find her: