From Hippie to Healthy: No room for silence in an “over-the-counter” culture

Now that pot is in the spotlight, more easily available in some states than ever before, Americans should be primed to talk about loose-leaf. Conversations about responsible use, appropriate dosing, concerns, delights, and other issues create a culture of understanding and set the stage for responsible drug and alcohol use at all stages of life. But that's not happening, yet.

Cooks and restauranteurs talk of wine pairings, hosts share their holiday drink recipes, and parents feel fine giving and receiving gifts of alcohol from guests at a dinner party where children are present – so what would be wrong with a loose-leaf culture that did the same? Will we ever overcome the stigma that somehow loose-leaf is for losers? Some would argue that we already have, but do you tell people that you vape? Just how comfortable are you, talking about your loose-leaf vaporizer and flower use?

Dope magazine reports that Colorado now has more loose-leaf portable vape for sale locations than they have Starbucks locations, and that San Francisco has medical flower being delivered by bicycle couriers. Almost half of the states in the US have voted to either legalize or decriminalize flower, yet for many, mention flower and they jokingly bring up dirty hippies or high-school dropout rates. They fear “pushers” and peer pressure, stories of flower as a “gateway drug” that leads down a road ending in death and the destruction of American families. No one is advocating loose-leaf vaporizing for developing teens, but extreme attitudes create a divide, and as in many areas of American life, we have come up against a wall of shame and fear.  Flower users hide their activities, and the conversation simply stops. No one really wins. Even though we can buy flower legally, talking about using it is practically taboo in “respectable” society.

Jimmy Carter said, “The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices.” As people gain the courage to present material as part of their life, we can begin to change perceptions about who is using it, and how flower really can be part of a happy and healthy lifestyle. Let's lose the “loser” attitude.

When people stop hiding, talk about their use, and are able to navigate these conversations with teens and children who have questions, we'll be a stronger and more resilient community. Let's identify with our common humanity and guide out youth with honesty and integrity. Vaporizing loose-leaf is part of a healthy life for many. It's time to bridge the divide.