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Like many niche groups or cultural movements, the cannabis community tends to defend its own. Unfortunately, that can mean that very problematic people get a pass for unethical and inappropriate behavior. Science has shown repeatedly that individuals with questionable morality and a willingness to take advantage of or abuse others tend to do well in business and in manipulating how people perceive them.
It is unquestionable that there have been some very powerful, very problematic people in positions of notoriety, power, and authority within the cannabis community. In the early days of the legalization movement, a combination of cultural expectations of silence on the part of the victims and an unwillingness to divide the activism power of the community kept many victims of unscrupulous individuals silent. Now, however, with the rise of social media activism and call-out culture, victims of unethical individuals within our community feel comfortable coming forward.
In the last year, there have been several big-name power players who have faced scrutiny and accusations of impropriety within the industry. Instead of closing ranks around these individuals as would have happened in the past, people are now stepping back and really looking at how problematic some of these so-called cannabis heroes truly are.
It’s great when people make an effort to change unjust laws and bring relief to the sick and dying. It is upsetting and disgusting when individuals who claim to be engaging in those honorable actions are also leveraging their position as a means of abusing, harassing, or even assaulting other people.
It’s about time that people started coming forward and calling out the creeps in the cannabis community. Those of you who have engaged in abusive, coercive behaviors have every reason to be afraid. Your victims may soon come out of the woodwork and expose you to the world, as they well should, if doing so isn’t overly traumatic for them.
Like any community, the cannabis community can only remain a strong and functional group of activists if we root out disease before it spreads to the entire movement. We can’t allow abuses of power or systemic sexual harassment to remain the status quo. Only by making the cannabis community accessible to people of all races, genders, orientations, religion, and levels of ability and fitness can we truly leverage the social power of activism and the healing power of this incredible plants.
At Ladybud, we’re not here to call out or call attention to those negative individuals who abuse their positions of power. We will leave that to the victims, whose bravery we absolutely salute. Instead, we’ll continue to focus on shining a light on those doing good work with good intentions.
For previous Ladybud articles about sexual harassment, click here.
Photo Credit: Justgrimes via Flickr under (CC BY-SA 2.0)