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Smash the Lies

What Being a Pothead Means to Me

When people I know think "stoner" they think "low-life, jobless, welfare sucker." They don’t think of people like me with a full-time, 8-5 job. They don’t think of the people who work two jobs, have no children, and receive no aide from whichever state that individual may live in. Contrary to what many believe, think, or feel… here’s a breakdown of the people I know who smoke weed and lead a seemingly "normal" life.

We’re not low-lifes. Not all of us at least. I have a full-time job. I work hard. I try to make ends meet or a little more.

The stoners like me who I’ve met are not generally partiers. We don’t go out clubbing. At best, my friends and I (my friends who smoke or don’t smoke all hang out together), sit around and drink a few glasses of champagne or beer and play cards.

We’re responsible and we know what we have to lose by being too out-of-control with our leisurely habits.

Many of us suffer with mental illnesses and marijuana helps those mental illnesses.

There are a plethora of other things I could say. But I think the most important thing is doing the comparisons of me now vs. me when I was drinking all the time. I used to buy a case of beer and huge handle of vodka every week. Go through it all. In my home state that would set me back at least $30 a week. At least. In Colorado that sets me back way more than that usually. Whereas… smoking weed? I might spend $60 every month or two. I didn’t quit drinking completely… but I have basically given up getting drunk. I will sit down and have a few drinks here and there. Maybe a glass or two of wine occasionally after work. A margarita here and there. Sometimes I might even catch a buzz. But… I’ve just realized that the benefits and cons and pros and whatever of weed… have far outweighed those of alcohol.

Generally speaking, I believe most individuals think of complete drug addicts who put their addiction before their responsibilities when they think about weed smokers/stoners. And I’m here to tell you firsthand: that’s not what many of the people I know are. We work full-time. We have friends but, get this, some of our friends don’t even imbibe. I have friends who don’t touch the stuff but they don’t judge me for doing it. I don’t do it in front of them. Even so, they are aware that I smoke and that has not caused them to lose respect for me. They still hold me highly, let me play with their children, and still consider me as a part of their family. And why? Are you curious as to why? It’s because I hold a stable, full-time job with a company who is legit and works hard. It’s because I work hard. I have two jobs. Plus I work weekends watching dogs through Rover. Not to mention my writing. I’m busy even if it seems like I’m not busy.

You have to smash the idea that all people who smoke weed are bad people. You have to smash the idea that all people who smoke weed are irresponsible nimrods. It just isn’t the case. I have met plenty of people who do plenty of different types of drugs. And you know what? Not once have I met a stoner since moving to a legalized state who doesn’t hold a full-time job or two jobs or three jobs. I have not met a single stoner who can’t handle the responsibilities in their lives.

The weed industry has the potential to create jobs, revenue, and help normal people like myself. Weed has made such a monumental difference for me. I’m more focused. I’m happier. I’m calmer. My anxiety doesn’t act up nearly as much. I laugh a lot more (sober or high shut up it’s not just a cliché thing). I wouldn’t say I’m completely happy. I also wouldn’t say I’m as unhappy as I once was.

But I’ve done the math. And… get this… I’m saving money by smoking weed. I can smoke every day and still make an eighth last me about a month (maybe even longer). I can buy a quarter and make that last me two months or more. And that’s smoking every day… a couple bowls a day. So don’t sit there and tell me that I’m a bad person when one of the leading causes of death in my school district growing up was alcohol-related. Car accidents mostly. A couple suicides. I never heard anyone say, “Yeah, dude, he drove off that bridge ‘cause they were high and it killed everyone in the car.” No. Two of my very good friends were killed in a drunk driving accident when I was in high school. Not a "high" driving accident.

And listen, marijuana… it was a huge part of the social groups when I was in high school. I smoked it. None of my friends really did. But, whatever. And never once did I kill anyone because of it. It was there but we never heard about deaths caused by it.

I moved to Colorado initially just for something different. And now… I’m so torn because not only am I broke because of the living expenses, but I don’t have a whole lot of friends here. I do enough. I get by. But no one should work 40+ hours a week… and barely be able to makes two ends meet. That’s not stoner talk. That’s not, “I buy too much weed and can’t make it work” talk. That’s “Why the f*** am I working my a** off and still barely able to make it all work.”

Colorado is beautiful. But I’d rather move home, get back on my feet, and be able to take vacations. The only problem with that? I think, as far as my mental illnesses and health is concerned, I would see a decline in the progress I’ve made.

People say that someone like me uses weed as a scapegoat. I don’t. I like it. I will be the first to admit that. I don’t need it. But it really helps me. I’d take a bowl over a beer any day. I’d take being high over being drunk and then hungover any day. I can’t be drunk around my family because we fight too much. I get stupid when I’m drunk and I don’t like that person.

Weed can be used as a beneficial substance. You know how many alcoholics I’ve had say to me, “You’re just using weed as an excuse.” Yeah…and what the f*** are you using alcohol as? It doesn’t make anything better. Numbs you for a while and then what? You get to feel all that pain from before tenfold. And that just doesn’t feel okay to me. Weed? I still feel all the pain. But you know what? It clears my head enough to allow me to see alternatives. Alternative routes to take with my life as far as my future is concerned. Alternative ways to handle situations. Alternative ways of thinking. It opens me up. It doesn’t shut me down.

Anyone who tells you that you have a "problem" because you smoke weed…ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I have a stable job/income?
  2. Can I hold a stable job/income?
  3. Do I have somewhat of a social life?
  4. Can I handle my responsibilities?
  5. If I had to quit tomorrow smoking…could I?

Number five remains a very tricky question for me. Because while I wouldn’t consider myself an alcoholic… I will admit it would and could and will be hard for me to quit in the near future if/when I decide to move back to my home state. And then I feel bad because that could mean my priorities are not aligned.

But for all those who drink on a regular-to-daily basis… ask yourself the same questions. And I bet number five would be just as tricky for you. Because for me it was a really hard question for a really long time. And now there’s no question. Hands down if I had to give up alcohol for the rest of my life right now… I would. Bye. I don’t need it or really even want it. Most alcohol doesn’t even taste good to me anymore.

So when someone looks down upon you for smoking weed because it really does help you… tell them to shove off. Because it truly isn’t their life and as long as you can answer the above questions with mostly "yes" answers… I think you’re doing just fine.

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