Out And Proud: Coming Out Of The Cannabis Closet

Cannabis fanatics have been leaking out of the woodwork ever since legalization took place in Washington State. Are we supposed to believe that all of these supporters are bandwagoners- just 420 friendly because it’s “cool” now? I’d say this is just about as true as people “coming out” as homosexuals now that same-sex marriage is on the rise. It’s not to fit in; it’s something that these people have been dying to disclose, but nervous to make the move. I use the LGBQT community as an example only because it is of recent history and current culture; however, I could use just about any revolutionary episode of American past.

Not to make light of what the gay community has gone through – I am very aware that sexual preference and the use of Marijuana are two extremely different topics; however, their underlying taboos lie close to one another:

Due to stigmas regarding each matter, those partaking in the lifestyle have felt stuck in a closet of secrets for some time.

Now that more and more people have begun to speak up and take a stand for who they are, the others who have felt ashamed, are finally coming out too; feeling that the “strength in numbers” theory will protect them. Call me a hippie, but I believe that every person deserves the right to openly be themselves, no matter what that entails.

Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t see Pride Festival posters on the walls of restaurants; you would know the festival was going on, MAYBE, but it would not be so publicly advertised. Now, they are everywhere – at least in specific places, like Capitol Hill and downtown. Are we that far off from Online Marijuana Design ads being blasted all over the city? I should say (and hope) not, but at what point will this transformation take place?

Likely, when a large enough portion of the community takes a stand together…which, is that not already what we are experiencing in Seattle? Take Hempfest for example, where thousands of people gather for days to celebrate their shared passion for the plant. And this year, we are very excited about the new Cannabis friendly event coming to town: CannaCon.

This August (Thurs, 14th – Sun 17th) the first annual Cannabis Conference will take place at the Tacoma Dome. If you’re like me, you’re already thinking, “Dang! Why would they double those events on the same weekend? Which one will I go to?” Don’t be alarmed; there will be shuttles transporting folks to and from both events all weekend for the ultimate experience!

I’m assuming your next question would be, “Well, what is the difference between the two events?” That is why I interviewed Bob Smart himself, the inventor of CannaCon.

Bob says to think of CannaCon more as “a home and garden trade show… but for Cannabis.” He went on to say that CannaCon is not a festival; to him, that represents a public smoke-out (although he is surely not against the idea, he wanted to design something different). After 40 years of experience of growing and smoking, his vision was to create the first all-business, industry-geared, professional based Cannabis event. There will be no smoking, no activism and no live music in the Tacoma Dome next month, but yet, over 500 exhibits devoted to anything from products for growing to booths with the nation’s top glass blowers.

Like the rest of us green-thumbs, Smart wants to see Cannabis “freed from the government’s schedule.” Through this event, he hopes to generate a realization for the public: that the Cannabis business is a respectable and thriving industry.

After speaking with Bob, I started to think; the people who are putting these types of festivals and events together…who are they? They are people like Bob Smart – people not just with money, but with intelligence, drive, VISION, and determination.

BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS. The same professionals that hold our American backbone together; the ones respected by the working class and essential to the survival of our economy. These entrepreneurs and business people are moving towards the Cannabis marketplace in order to meet the rapidly growing, popular demand.

Now, while it would not be fair to say that all those in the Cannabis industry smoke/ingest THC themselves, it is certainly accurate to say that a lot of them do. I mean, to an extent, in order to maintain a successful business, there must be some level of passion. But there is something to be said for how many men and women who come home from a long day, kick off their heels, or loosen their ties, and light up a post-work joint. You know, those hard-working Americans outside of the Cannabis industry.

A good friend of mine, and Branch Manager of a local Seattle bank, Dirk Dimon, says that his use of Cannabis enhances his quality of life every day. Dimon says,
“I suffer from a legitimate disease which has always qualified me for a Medical Marijuana license, but I have never pursued that because I don’t want to be on a list of known users. There is a benefit for my medical issues, but I do take other medications, so using that as my sole excuse to smoke isn’t being completely honest. I work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment, I smoke to relax and recharge my batteries so that I can take another fast-paced day without burning out.”

Dimon went on to explain that while he is not ashamed of his Marijuana use, because of his position, he does have to very careful about whom he can fully disclose his lifestyle too.

“I am one of the top producers in the company and I am good at what I do, even if I have had a small smoke. I am actually quite proud that I smoke Marijuana and am excelling in the professional world despite my ‘stoner behavior.’ I would like to think that eventually the stigma against Marijuana users will go away and us bankers could get together [for a smoke] without fear… but we are not there yet.”

The stigmas, like all other major movements in history, will die, as the taboo topic becomes a money-making machine. Dimon says that at this point, his bank is still unable to accept investment clients within the Cannabis industry, but as they turn away these potential high balanced accounts, he knows that this will soon change. The industry will one day become fully acceptable to society and Cannabis advertisements will be on freeway billboards and even flashing through our beloved Super Bowl commercials.

So cheers to all you hard-working, success driven, weed puffin’ Americans who have begun to step out of the metaphorical Cannabis closet; keep your chins (and joints) up! OMD votes YOU the MVP!

Let’s Make Some Work