Working in Cannabis: balancing activism and protection

I received a couple of notes via social media that questioned my cannabis activism based on my anonymity. So here’s my take.

People who work in the cannabis industry must face some realities that those in other trades never experience. The most common reality is the idea that every time you do your job, there is a strong possibility that you’re breaking federal law.

While the public might see marijuana as a legal grey area, the fact still stands that the Justice Department has made it clear that it will prosecute marijuana cases as it sees fit.

Activism is a choice, but a different choice for everyone. A great example of this outside the context of cannabis is this: Kim Kardashian posted a naked selfie and provided commentary about her choice to do so. She cited her pride in her body and encouraged all women to take pride in their body, “Whatever the case may be I’m grateful to God for this miracle & no matter what rumors or comments you throw my way this time they truly don’t affect me!” she said on Instagram.

A teacher in South Carolina lost her job after a student stole her phone and distributed her naked selfies, which were intended for private use. This teacher didn’t post the photos anywhere on social media. While school officials tried to make it sound like she was fired for not doing her job, I would wager she would not have lost her job had they been photos of her playing tennis.

Two women. Two nude images. Vastly different consequences. Kim Kardashian keeps her job (whatever that may be) and a woman who was a victim of hacking is fired from her job. Kim has a fortune that can protect her from the consequences of her choices so they “truly don’t affect” her, while the teacher in South Carolina may have trouble making ends meet as a result of a thoughtless 16-year-old.

While this may seem like commentary on feminism*, it illustrates how two people can experience vastly different consequences from the same choice. An owner of a cannabis company may be able to go on CNN and talk about their product, or even buy the naming rights to a stadium, but that person probably has legal counsel on standby should the Justice Department decide to poke around. A part-time cannabis blogger will undoubtedly struggle far more against federal prosecution.

Personally, The LA Lady is a way for me to protect myself and my family. Most of us have other jobs, families, friends and colleagues that could be affected, should the federal government decide that writing about cannabis, or using medical marijuana, harms the public. Protecting myself doesn’t mean I’m less of an activist for taking into consideration my livelihood and the well-being of those around me, nor does it mean that those who publicly display their cannabis use are reckless. It means we all have different lives with different responsibilities. Shaming people who are afraid of the consequences will not aid your cause, but rather alienate your quieter allies.

 

*It’s almost an argument about class. Kim has millions of dollars to insulate her from whatever idiotic thing she decides to do. The teacher privately celebrates her body and loses her job. She doesn’t have millions of dollars to fight wrongful termination. In suggesting that women should celebrate their bodies, Kim is shaming those who don’t have the freedom to post nude selfies by not acknowledging her incredible privilege. She isn’t shy about flaunting her wealth and privilege and is a poor representation of feminism.

 

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