As the cannabis community grows, with nearly 11 million posts on Instagram, it's hard to deny that we are not only surviving, but thriving.
But as cannabis is becoming normalized, it is open to attacks from all sides.
Politically, it is used as ammo in the war on drugs.
Socially, it is perceived as a dangerous mind and life-altering drug by those who have only been told what it does.
On TV, we see it used by teenagers who don't understand the damage they are doing to their bodies and brains or it is seen being used by junkies who are homeless or live off their parents.
In reality, it is nothing more than a plant that can be smoked and ingested with minimal side effects.
There are countless studies that show not only can marijuana be used medically but can be used recreationally without negative effects.
There are countless people who are making a difference in the world and it is in part due to their cannabis use.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, people like to think about the monetary value in all things. How much can we sell this for?
The pharmaceutical companies stand to lose the most if cannabis is federally legalized.
Why? To be put simply, there is more money in treating patients than curing them.
A big part of the cannabis community uses marijuana for medical reasons. From physical pain to mental issues, weed helps so many different problems.
And unlike pills, which you can take exactly as your doctor prescribes and it can kill you, there is no overdosing on marijuana. You would literally have to smoke your body weight in 15 minutes to fatally overdose. You can, however "green out" which is when you have taken more than can be processed at the time and you can feel nauseous, very tired, and possibly even vomit but it is just uncomfortable, not fatal.
Plus unlike pills, it is not possible to get addicted to weed. The most "withdrawal" you'll have is a headache and maybe a messed up sleeping schedule but both of those will go away, unlike pill withdrawal which—if you or anyone you know has gone through it—is scary and painful. Pill addicts will do anything to avoid going through withdrawals.
The community is under fire, though, as many accounts on social media get shut down daily on popular sites such as YouTube and Instagram. But why?
Popular accounts such as Matthias710, who has been shut down seven times, states that Instagram gave him a message saying he has violated the terms and conditions. But when you go over the terms and conditions, nowhere does it say that what he is doing is wrong. Also taking in consideration that there are accounts that post sexual content, violence, and murder, there is obviously a double standard.
Also when expanded upon, there are people who encourage their viewers to do illegal or potentially dangerous things and no one bats an eye at them.
Popular cannabis advocate @imcannabess, has started the #CANNABISBLACKOUTDAY—on October 6, all cannabis users refrain from using Instagram to show how much impact the cannabis community has. To participate, do not open the app at all, no scrolling or posting.
For those who like watching potent creators on YouTube, there has been a site created called The Weedtube which was made by stoners for stoners to feel safe and give them a platform to create and share.
The best thing we, as a community, can do is to keep spreading the truth and do good by the world. There are a few of those in the community who are bad eggs but that is few and far between. Most of us are the sweetest, kindest people you could ever meet.