Residents of California, our times are changing. We have wittnessed an increase in marijuana advertising, the passing of a recreational cannabis bill and the shifting attitude of a populace who just 20 years ago held cannabis in the same low regard as cocaine and heroin. Starting this year, the California Department of Public Health plans to educate us on the best ways to safely purchase and consume cannabis, all in the name of civil liberty.
Information from this program, aptly named “Let’s Talk Cannabis“, will not be posted on billboards on Muni buses or disseminated in informal workshops off of 30th and Mission street, rather, the city plans on providing cannabis education through an online portal accessible to everyone regardless of age.
Imagine if you would your state government providing you an instructional video on how to purchase your first six-pack. The reaction, while perhaps not as unsettling as some would anticipate, would not be without controversy. So why is it okay for cannabis to be touted in this way?
Ellen Komp, deputy director of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws of California, notes that this newly conceived cannabis education program is for informative purposes only. Komp, however, admits she holds some reservations about the site. For example, she has expressed her doubts about the warnings of the dangers of cannabis for pregnant women.
There are many like Komp who have heralded the changing attitude towards cannabis and feel that the stigma concerning cannabis far outweighs some of its dangers, which, while hotly debated, remain relatively unchanged. We at KushCA support these and other measures that aim to reduce the damage done to communities of color from the failed War on Drugs, as well as educational measures that seek to inform, as opposed to criminalizing cannabis users.
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.