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Coming Out About Cannabis

Updated: Oct 20

Coming Out About Cannabis

Part 1: A Call to Action


I was first introduced to cannabis in early High School. By the time I graduated and moved out, I demonstrated my cannabis enthusiasm by decorating my apartment as a shrine to The Herb. Closeups of multi-colored buds and crystallized flowers from High Times posters lined my walls, my favorite 3-ft glass bong sat in the corner, and my wardrobe consisted primarily of tie-dye, Pink Floyd and Bob Marley t-shirts. Decades later, I again find myself immersed in the world of cannabis, both personally and professionally. This time around, both my wardrobe and how I demonstrate my connection to the plant have changed significantly.


If you are a cannabis aficionado or advocate like me, you probably also find yourself grappling with the question of how and whom to “come out” to about cannabis. Grappling with this choice has changed me – I’ve become more purposeful with whom I spend time and associate with. As a result, I have fundamentally changed how I prioritize my social connections and personal relationships for the better. By bringing friends, family and professional contacts into my “circle of trust”, I have deepened these connections. Talking about cannabis has been tremendously positive. It has made my relationships more intimate and has given me the opportunity to educate, advocate and share my knowledge about this topic for which there is always tremendous curiosity.


Coming out of the cannabis closet will accelerate cannabis normalization. If you are reading this, you probably have a history of consumption or know someone who is happier and healthier due to their connection to cannabis. For those of us whose life has been positively changed by cannabis, we cannot forget those whose life has been negatively impacted by the war on cannabis. We have an obligation to share our stories rather than keeping this essential part of us hidden.


Coming out can require tremendous courage. For me, the following were prerequisites to generating the confidence to come out:

  1. Understand the sordid history and true motivations for the creation and maintenance of the war on cannabis

  2. Understand the plant and its beneficial uses and risks

  3. Understand the legitimate personal and professional risks

  4. Join in advocacy

I believe the best way to drive change is to come out and create awareness and support through our existing networks and relationships. Many entrenched, often elitist interests, benefit from the current war. Most of the greatest positive changes in drug policy have therefore been ground-up, through ballot initiatives and constituent pressure. Weed to the People! Prohibitionist warriors will not relinquish their privileges without significant ground-up pressure. Together, we all have the ability to create positive change. If we would all come out and express loudly and publicly our position on cannabis, we can end this unjust war.


#OutAboutCannabis, #TalkAboutCannabis, John is the Founder and CEO of Alento, a medicinal cannabis company based in Los Angeles. He is a committed activist for justice and for creating a sustainable society.

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