Last week a close friend told me she was afraid to share my recent article: 7 Ways Pot Makes You a Better Parent. Although she liked it and was proud of me for writing the piece, she explained how she was scared that promoting the article in any way would land her in hot water with her government employer.
For many cannabis advocates, this is too often the difficult reality. So many of us fear the consequences of standing up for something we believe in. However, the social stigma of cannabis will not change unless more people start talking about its benefits toward wellness.
Pot enthusiasts who open up to the people in their lives about their positive experiences with marijuana do so because they want to share a part of themselves they’ve been hiding for so long. And they want to spread the word on the value of this good medicine.
There comes a time when you can no longer resist coming out to those you love, and naturally you want the occasion to result in a positive experience for both sides. If you’re wondering the best way to go about it, check out these 10 tips to help make #comingoutgreen a lot easier for you and your loved ones.
Weigh the Positives and Negatives
There’s a good chance coming out green will be a huge relief, but you need to think about the pros and cons.
How will your friends, family or employer feel about you coming out? Will they be supportive of you and your cannabis use? Most importantly, what will the consequences be?
These are all questions you need to carefully think about. Luckily, there is a simple task that will help you consider all the factors and better decide whom you should or should not tell.
Take out a piece of paper and list the pros on one side and the cons on the other; then decide whether or not it’s a good decision to come out green and to whom.
Keep in mind that word might spread about your cannabis use within your community, which brings me to my next tip.
Be Compliant with the Laws
Coming out green could put your marijuana use in the spotlight, so depending on whom you approach, you’ll want to make sure you are fully compliant with state laws.
This is less of an issue if you live in a state that has legalized recreational use.However, if you live in a state with a medical marijuana program, then make sure you have a medical marijuana license. And in places where prohibition is still in full effect, you’ll want to be extra careful about whom you talk to.
But even in places where cannabis remains illegal, coming out to those you trust most is a great way to get a conversation going about marijuana. If we can’t talk about it with our loved ones, how will we ever muster enough courage to publicly lobby for policy change?
For a more detailed rundown of your area’s current cannabis status, check out NORML’s list of marijuana laws by state.
Educate Yourself and Be Prepared
to Educate Others
We are surrounded by negative opinions and stereotypes that work against cannabis and its therapeutic value, which is a big part of the reason why we want to come out green in the first place.
If you’re going to engage somebody in a meaningful conversation about pot, you’ll want to establish yourself as a credible source. Know this herb inside and out and be able to talk about it from an informed, educated perspective.
This is also general knowledge you want to have for you own benefit, information to further cultivate a healthy respect for the plant. Aside from Green Flower Media articles, you can regularly find a lot of educational cannabis content on sites like Leaf Science, reset.me, and even Business Insider.
Talk to Friends Who Already Came Out
A lot of thought goes into coming out green. You might even have a friend or two who have been there already. Reach out to those friends – even if they’re just social media contacts – and ask them how they did it.
You can learn from their experiences, by asking them about the positive and negative reactions they encountered.
A great question to ask could be: “If you had to do it all over again, what would you change about how you came out?”
The answer to that question might be the key to your success.
Put Your Thoughts on Paper First
Putting your thoughts into words can be challenging. This is why I recommend writing them all out first.
A psychiatric therapist would recommend the same. Studies show spending 15-20 minutes journaling about a given quandary on 3-5 occasions can help those dealing with traumatic, stressful, or otherwise emotional events. And even if you’re just troubleshooting a challenge like coming out of the cannabis closet, expressing yourself in a journal can go a long way in helping you get your thoughts straight.
Every time you think of something or come across a piece of content that will positively add to difficult conversations about cannabis, write it down, and then consolidate all your notes when it’s time to come out.
As far as writing goes, some people have even found it helpful to come out green in a letter.
Find the Right Place and Right Time
As with any serious conversation, you want to find or plan a convenient time to sit down and talk things through. It is best to approach your friends or family members while they are in a good mood and aren’t dealing with stresses of their own.
Either schedule a time to talk about “something important,” or wait until the right moment, such as when your uncle is complaining about his arthritis. Also, try to pick a place that is private, with no distractions.
Come Out to People You Trust First
Now take a second to think about the most open-minded person you know. Got it? That’s the person you need to come out to first.
It might not be your best friend, but it will be a friend or family member you feel comfortable around. This will help you feel better accepted and loved and will give you the courage to move forward and deal with those whom you fear will react differently.
Hold Out on Social Media
When you’re ready to come clean about being green, you might want to think twice about coming out on social media. This is a mistake I made myself.
My friends already knew and so did my family, but my spouse’s family and employer did not. Both expressed frustration when they called me out on it. Needless to say, it was a lesson I learned the hard way and the consequences could have been much worse.
It is best to talk to your loved ones in person, before coming out to the world. Otherwise, it tends to make people you love feel left out and the last ones to know. Keep in mind, once you post on social media, there’s no turning back.
Anticipate a Variety of Reactions
Some reactions will be positive and uplifting, while others might not be. Your coming out of the cannabis closet might even come as a complete shock to the other person.
Be prepared for the conversation to go either way, and keep your cool if things don’t go well. As long as you show your friends and family that you are cannabis-educated and can articulate how marijuana makes you a better person or helps you live a healthier life, then you might be able to win them over.
If the reaction is negative, it’s important to let them know that you value and respect their opinion. There are times you have to agree to disagree and move forward with your lives. In the meantime, you can continue setting a positive example as a cannabis user.
Be Patient and Give it Time
Those who aren’t on your side might need a little bit of time to process your news. It could take a couple of days, or it could take a few weeks. Patience is key. Give them the time they need to evaluate everything.
Be prepared to answer questions and be open and positive. Who knows, they might even ask to smoke a joint with you, so they can judge the herb themselves. After all, marijuana has gone through a complete transformationthe last half-century; it’s a matter of finding the right strain, dosage andmethod of consumption.
Once You’ve Come out Green…
Once you have come out green to the people you care about most, be proud and give yourself a pat on the back for coming to terms with who you are. You’re being true to yourself, your friends and your family.
Coming out green takes a lot of positive audacity and planning. Some might think it’s equally as difficult coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Either way, it’s a tough conversation to have, especially with someone who doesn’t see eye to eye with you.
But look how the LGBT community’s hard work paid off for them. Gay marriage is now legal federally, and they fought a somewhat similar battle against the outdated stigmas we are now facing with marijuana prohibition.
I hope you find these tips helpful in your quest to come out green. Any suggestions or experiences you’d like to add? Feel free to share by commenting below.