A “High” Achiever

There are many stereotypes in life, and sometimes they have merit, but other times they are just plain false. There is a common misconception that a pothead (I prefer the name stoner, or cannabis user) is lazy, unkept, and uneducated. This could not be further from the truth. This association perpetuated by Hollywood. Most people fail to realize that movies like “How High,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Friday,” and different cannabis references like that in “Shrek” are supposed to be ironic — even causing people under the influence of said “drug” to laugh.

As for me, I have always worked hard and had really good grades. My parents, wife, and closest friends can verify. In fact, I did my entire bachelor’s degree in 18 months, and graduated with a 3.93. In other words, I graduated valedictorian of about 6 classes ahead of mine. Wouldn’t you know it, I drank frequently and occasionally smoked cannabis. This fact would escape many people, but it’s true nonetheless. Just because you have believed a lie out of ignorance, doesn’t mean that you have grounds to assume that I am lying, or that I am somehow an anomoly — well maybe I am an anomoly on the schooling, but not on being a “high” achiever.

Plenty of hard working individuals manage their money, pay their taxes, work hard, give when they can, attend church, serve you food and drinks, play music, write books, give you news, and other activities, and they enjoy cannabis. I am not singling anybody out, but making generalized statements that are largely true. I spot them all the time in public. They are like kindred spirits. There are times I even lean over to my prohibitionist wife and say, “Our server is high, but he is doing a good job.” She hates it, but I think it is important to wake her up to a reality — stoners are not useless.

Sure, there are the ones that will steal money from their family members or pawn something valuable at a pawn shop, but as a fellow stoner, I always assumed they were either: 1. screwed up in the head (in other words, they are like that without cannabis) or 2. they are playing around with harder drugs like coke, meth, or heroin. So far, my presumptions have largely been true, but I have been gifted with a unique perspective. Cannabis is not a gateway drug. I can count on one hand how many times I was around harder drugs. I would like to say that I never tried them, but I gave into peer pressure in the moment. I like to think if weed had been legal, that I would have used better judgement, but who has good judgement as a teenager? I know I didn’t.

In conclusion, many smart and talented people regularly ingest cannabis as a means to deal with emotional or physical pain, or to enjoy some quality time with some friends. Many of them are able to work a job, take care of their responsibilities, and work toward improving themselves or their situation. It’s time to shed old stereotypes, and open your heart and mind to the reality that it’s perfectly possible for a person to use cannabis and still be a productive member of society. This is especially important in a world where cannabis is becoming legal, and more socially acceptable. Many of us know this, but some of you don’t, which is why I am writing this to you today.