Whether you’ve found a really nice strain that you want to share, or you’ve never tried marijuana but are curious, stigma remains a huge barrier in the cannabis social scene.
People are used to talking about using marijuana in whispers, if at all, because of the 70 years that the plant has been persecuted by governments worldwide.
But if you have a tinge of the gourmet in you and you love to share your findings (like you would if you found a really great stout or Belgian ale in the microbrew scene), you’ll need an avenue to find other adults that share those interests.
So how do you ask if your friends use marijuana? Blurting it out probably isn’t the best way to go.
As a recovering journalist I’ve had a natural in and way to bring up the subject – by just telling people what I do for a living. And I have to say I’ve been pretty amazed by the broad range of people that have shyly approached me, asking what’s out there, how can they retain their privacy, and how do they get started if they’ve never tried cannabis before.
I’ve been amazed at how many people use cannabis but are afraid to talk about it. They’re used to being stuck with their black market dealer with limited options for the product they can get. As recreational stores and markets open across the country, consumers suddenly find themselves in a wonderland of strains, tinctures, concentrates and other products that they may not have heard of. But again, the stigma from the War on Drugs means many of them are still too scared to go to a store.
I think the best way to find out if your friends are also curious is to bring up a news story or recent trend about the subject and ask them how they feel about it (Of note: This is probably not something you want to do at work, especially if your office has a drug testing policy against marijuana).
From there, your friends’ answers will give you a sense of whether they’re supportive of cannabis or not.
If they seem open minded and interested, then the next step is to put yourself and your own use and curiosity out there. Such as:
“I’ve been fascinated with the changes in marijuana rules myself, and I actually tried some recently. Have you tried anything or are you just curious?”
If they’re friendly to the scene, you may find that by just admitting it, you’ll be deluged with dozens of questions about what you tried and what you know about the range of products and strains. That’s certainly happened to me several times.
And even if they aren’t interested in using marijuana, there’s often still a lot of unbiased curiosity about it from the general public as the stigma starts to fade.
One day, this market will most likely be just like the micrbrew scene. People will openly share ways that they enjoy using marijuana, they’ll tell each other about their favorite products, they’ll go to a smoke lounge and try out a few selections while comparing notes with their companions.
For now, the stigma against the plant and still-evolving laws around it (such as a ban on smoking lounges in Washington) make some of that impossible. But it will change, laws will transform as the world grows more open to marijuana as both a recreational consumer item (for me it’s a far better nightcap than anything alcoholic) and also as a medical baseline for dozens of products.
The laws WILL evolve, even if it does take time. The writing’s on the wall for prohibition, the genie isn’t going back in the bottle and as education spreads, the stigma will fall away, perhaps faster than any of us realize.
If you’re in a state where cannabis is legal and you find some friends who are equally curious, now is the time to start exploring. We’re building a brand new gourmet consumer scene – and you have a chance to be part of that scene from the very beginning.
It’s a world of possibility.