Breaking Binaries: Black and White Thinking Can’t Apply to Cannabis

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Measure 91 is currently on Oregon’s November 2014 ballot with hopes of once and for all legalizing the adult recreational use of cannabis. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act was passed in 1998, which legalized the medicinal use of cannabis through the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Despite the leaps and bounds cannabis (in both respects) has made over the last two years, the two-party system mindset has heavily infiltrated the plant.

Mainstream media has constructed the usage of cannabis into the binary of being either purely medicinal or recreational. Like issues involving sexuality or race, the gay or straight, white or black, female or male mentality has been adopted in the context of cannabis use. In comparison to female sexuality, cannabis consumers have been forced to operate under the (false) dichotomy of either justifying their use as medicinal or recreational. This type of ideology works to simplify the purpose of cannabis and hinder our ways of thinking about the plant. I believe that cannabis operates beyond the parameters of good and evil, which cannot be recognized if we limit the relevance of cannabis to two categories.

It is routine for American culture to sift public issues through binary systems, leaving countless perspectives on cannabis unrecognized. What about hemp legalization to promote sustainability that can range from “hemp houses” to clothing? Cannabis can be used in a variety of industries that do not involve getting people high or curing cancer. We forget about incorporating how cannabis can help our global community through curating sustainable products. Legalize cannabis so we do not have to kill anymore trees for paper sourcing. If you are a current cannabis activist, I challenge you to strengthen your arguments that beyond the typical medicinal benefits, or being safer than alcohol.

I want Oregon to become the third free state in the union, but I ask those in and outside of the OMMP community to see beyond serial dichotomies. People are often brought into the cannabis world through devastating health circumstances, or a light as a get together with friends. No two realms could quantify the use of cannabis as a whole. I am a person who deals with a reasonable amount of anxiety, but my reasons for cannabis usage are not primarily medicinal. I highly value the community of people I have met because of my cannabis activism. Watching patients, friends and family empower their lives (and health) through the usage of cannabis for me is certainly a reason to partake.

Do not let the cannabis movement fall victim to closed-minded theory. One of the most beautiful aspects of cannabis is the diversity among users. Continue to think outside of the box in order to end prohibition. Creativity certainly isn’t lacking in this industry.

Photo Credit: geralt under public domain via Pixabay