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Responsible Marijuana Smoking: Moderation in All Things

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel April 13, 2015

    While we now enjoy the support of a majority of the American public to end marijuana prohibition, 64 percent of those same people nonetheless still have an overall negative impression of marijuana smokers. All to often they see us as slackers who fail to live up to our full potential, and whose primary interest in life is getting stoned.

    While much of that disconnect is likely the result of decades of “reefer madness” propaganda, some of it also results from careless conduct on the part of some marijuana smokers that reinforces those negative stereotypes. We can’t change the past, but we do have the ability to demonstrate by our conduct that marijuana smokers also have full, rich lives filled with family and friends, and influenced by our intellectual and professional pursuits. We are about more than just getting high.

    In fact, those of us who smoke marijuana are otherwise indistinguishable from other Americans. We come in all shapes and sizes, with a full range of political beliefs and lifestyles and professional goals. For the vast majority of smokers, our use of marijuana does not define our lives; it is but one factor, including family, work, education, sports, literature, music and faith, that taken together, define who we are as individuals.

    Of course, those of us who smoke enjoy the benefits of marijuana, from its relaxing qualities to its ability to allow one to become more creative, and expansive, in our thinking. I do believe that marijuana smoking plays a very positive role in my life and in my work, and I am sure many other smokers feel the same.

    Everyone needs some private time, and getting “high” — like sex — is not a dirty word. There are times when we can lay aside our responsibility for a time, and enjoy the freedom of just getting high with friends. But that does not suggest that marijuana smoking should become the center of one’s life, or that one should be stoned all waking hours. Most jobs and educational pursuits require a clear mind and a steady focus that are not possible if one is experiencing the short-term memory loss that is an integral part of the marijuana “high.”

    And a healthy family life requires shared experiences and interactions that depend on a degree of personal communication that is frequently interrupted if one of the parties is stoned. And, frankly, like most other activities in life, getting “high” is more pleasurable when experienced in moderation.

    Principles of Responsible Marijuana Use

    Here are a few common sense suggestions for enjoying marijuana in a responsible manner, which will, over time, help persuade the non-smokers that those of us who do smoke are nonetheless good, productive citizens. Many of these are based on The Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use, adopted by the NORML board of directors back in 1996, and found on the NORML website.

    1. Be sensitive to the set and setting before lighting-up. A responsible marijuana consumer should be vigilant to the conditions – time, place, mood, etc. – and should not hesitate to say “no” when those conditions are not conductive to a safe, pleasant and/or productive experience. And we must always respect the rights of others.

    The responsible marijuana smoker does not violate the rights of others, observes accepted standards of courtesy and public propriety, and respects the preferences of those who wish to avoid marijuana entirely. Regardless of the legal status of marijuana, responsible users should adhere to emerging tobacco smoking protocols in public and private places. It is important politically that non-smokers do not feel as if those of us who smoke are forcing our personal preferences on them.

    2. No driving while impaired with marijuana. A responsible marijuana consumer should not operate a motor vehicle or use other dangerous machinery while impaired by marijuana or other substances (including alcohol and some prescription medications).

    Public safety requires that impaired drivers be kept off the roads, and that objective measures of impairment be developed to detect marijuana impairment; not simply testing for the presence of THC.

    3. Resist abuse. Most marijuana use is essentially harmless; some is not. The use of marijuana, to the extent it impairs health, personal development or achievement, is abuse and should be resisted.

    For example, the concept of “wake and bake” needs to disappear from our lexicon. It is a variation on the “stupid stoner” stereotype of a smoker who sits home on his couch all day and stays stoned from morning until night. That image feeds the prejudice that exists among non-smokers towards those of us who smoke.

    “Wake and bake” might work on an occasional camping trip, or a day spent walking in the woods, but it should not be a regular part of one’s life.

    4. Be careful with edibles and concentrates. When consumed as an edible, the THC in marijuana requires up to 90-minutes, or even longer, to take effect, and it is therefore difficult to titrate the dosage. 10 milligrams is generally considered a single dose for an experienced user, and perhaps 5 milligrams for a novice user.

    One who consumers too much of an edible will likely have a frightening, unpleasant experience, similar to a bad acid trip, which sometimes ends up in an emergency room. Those incidents are not life threatening or fatal, but they do reinforce negative views of marijuana smoking by non-smokers, and complicate our task of moving legalizing forward.

    And the same warning applies to concentrates. Novice users especially need to go slowly when using concentrates, to avoid an unpleasant overdose; and even experienced smokers frequently are surprised by the strength of concentrates. Just as alcohol drinkers learn to use far less if they are drinking hard liquor than if they are drinking beer, those who use edibles and concentrates must acknowledge the distinction from regular marijuana and adjust their intake.

    5. Moderation in all things. Just as alcohol drinkers learn that moderation is necessary to insure a pleasant experience, and to avoid an unpleasant one, so too with marijuana smoking. Getting as high as possible should not be the goal. The purpose of marijuana smoking should be to reach a nice, comfortable, pleasant high that permits enjoyable social interaction with others, and enhances the experience of activities such as eating, listening to music, walking in the woods, having sex, etc.

    In fact, sometimes marijuana smokers prefer a mild level of intoxication, which has resulted in the arrival of many low-THC strains and edibles in states in which it is legal.

    If those of us who smoke marijuana can generally follow these basic guidelines, we will begin to overcome the negative impression of recreational marijuana smokers that persist among nearly two out of three non-smokers, which in turn will permit us to make the remaining cultural and legal changes required to end unfair discrimination against responsible marijuana smokers.6_8_NORMLK.StroupPortrait_z

     

     

    http://news.marijuana.com/news/2015/04/responsible-marijuana-smoking-moderation-in-all-things/

    38 responses to “Responsible Marijuana Smoking: Moderation in All Things”

    1. The B says:

      There are always going to be those who are stoned all day long, just as there will always be those who drink alcohol all day long.

      The problem is that because alcohol is in the public eye in society, people see all the non-abusive uses of it.

      Since marijuana is illegal, non-users only tend to be exposed to abusive cases. This colors the view of non-users.

    2. Miles says:

      @The B – You are so right!!! The Non-Using public doesn’t see what typically goes on after someone uses cannabis. The majority of the time, after I have vaped, I spend the afternoon cooking and cleaning house, walking my dog, and even exercising! Surely this is not a good reason for the cops to come a knockin’.

    3. Mr D says:

      The B , I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. Cannabis. Is. Not. Alcohol. I know for a fact using cannabis all day long everyday had no negative impact on my life. I’ve been cannabis free for just over four years. I have no job, no friends, just anxiety and sinking further into an unwinnable depression that no one cares about. Here’s the mind****, back during the years when I did smoke [all day everyday], I always worked [cannabis isn’t free, or cheap], I had friends, I was social, outgoing, smiling more, laughing more and was basically enjoying life. Cannabis use is not abuse. Even if you use it all day everyday. That is just a fact (for me at least and that is all I speak for) Thank you again NORML for letting my view be seen. (Even if I am the bad image everyone wishes would shut up)

    4. Judy says:

      Just so you know, Marco Rubio has announced that he is running for president. I advise against even considering giving this Republican prohibitionist the time of day!

    5. Galileo Galilei says:

      We should make the prohibitionist pay for the Drug War themselves.

    6. Lance Traynor says:

      A way to move this cause forward is to point out that opponents and proponents have something in common that should be considered a most cogent talking point. That being ‘keeping marijuana out of the hands of our children’. National pollsters and research groups have determined from nationwide surveys of high school students that marijuana is easier to get than alcohol. This tells us that marijuana is pervasive in our society. Tha at can’t be blamed on legalization because it isn’t legal. It also tells us that law enforcement, after 50 years of prosecuting the War On Drugs at a cost exceeding on trillion dollars of national treasure and arresting twenty five million Americans for possession of small amounts of marijuana have failed to keep marijuana out of the hands of our children. Yet law enforcement is back at the trough insisting we maintain the status quo and give them another fifty years to resolve the issue of keeping marijuana out of the hands of our children. That’s the classic definition of insanity. We are not on the defensive anymore and we should be pointing out that change is necessary if we want to keep marijuana ou of the hands of our children.

    7. TheOracle says:

      If one works in a hot environment such as outside I can see using cannabis to cope with the heat. It helps people tolerate the heat better because the cotton mouth makes them have to keep hydrated, and they slow down and take it easy, works well for repetitive tasks such as field work, hand picking produce and filling up a sack or basket, dumping it and starting over.

    8. Dave Evans says:

      ” National pollsters and research groups have determined from nationwide surveys of high school students that marijuana is easier to get than alcohol. This tells us that marijuana is pervasive in our society. Tha at can’t be blamed on legalization because it isn’t legal. It also tells us that law enforcement, after 50 years of prosecuting the War On Drugs at a cost exceeding on trillion dollars of national treasure and arresting twenty five million Americans for possession of small amounts of marijuana have failed to keep marijuana out of the hands of our children. Yet law enforcement is back at the trough insisting we maintain the status quo and give them another fifty years to resolve the issue of keeping marijuana out of the hands of our children.”

      Yes, this is the scam. We waste national treasure on morons that otherwise could not earn that money in a free society. They need a law supporting their bullshit scam. They need this authority for such a scam to even work in the first place. The War on Marijuana was sold to Law Enforcement on the promise they will not be held up to the standards of our Constitution. Murders, thieves, whores all get their Constitutional Protections, but not marijuana users or sellers. “The (non) existence of marijuana dangers” gives racists police an endless list (a blank check of sorts) of bullshit excuses to ignore it. So weird how that works out.

    9. Mr D says:

      I just wanted to apologize to The B. I misinterpreted what you were saying and went off in the wrong direction. I’m sorry.

    10. Julian says:

      @Oracle ,
      Agreed; the more routine or repetitive the physical job, the more I would allow workers or employees to stay stoned all day, providing there are no children on the job-site. For work intensive and repetitive labor that requires a self-imposed sense of accomplishment, I recommend an Indica strain that stimulates short breaks with appetite for fruit and granola snacking and deep muscle relaxation at the day’s end.

      As for creative projects and development, consume in order to inspire, then proofread after the two hours of effect with THC expires. Recommended strains; Trainwreck and Jack Herrer, or any other variety high in pinenes. (You know the strain has mentally stimulating and sensory-alert pinenes because the herb smells like refreshing pine).

      If you are studying or in school, get up early, vaporize or smoke some Trainwreck early, 2 hours before school and studying starts while jogging or commuting, stretch, then clear your mind and refrain from the short term memory loss and fatiguing tolerance of cannabis during the day. At the end of the day, reward yourself with a relaxing Indica and you will gain perspective from what you have learned while retaining your education with long term memory. This final routine can help the mind solve and understand complex problems while nourishing neurogenesis.

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