What are three signs of reduced cannabis stigma? Don’t get us wrong – cannabis stigma is still alive and well. But in the past week, we’ve encountered three new stories that indicate the needle is moving in the right direction.
From British Columbia declaring that cannabis retail shops don’t have to cover their windows to Switzerland expanding their legal cannabis pilot. Progress may be coming at a snail’s pace, but it’s something.
What is Cannabis Stigma?
We can’t identify reduced cannabis stigma without asking: what is cannabis stigma? What is stigma?
Earlier this year, Dr. Julian Somers told CLN that stigma was like a scarlet letter. “There’s a sign about you,” he said. “Maybe you sound less formally educated or you look like you’re a little undernourished, maybe you’ve got some piercings and ink on your neck or something. Things like that.”
While Dr. Somers was speaking in context to the drug and homelessness problem in all major Canadian cities, you could say the same for cannabis stigma.
Indeed, there’s a stigma associated with reggae music, bongs, Cheech and Chong, and other 20th-century stereotypes about cannabis consumers.
Non-cannabis users tend to view cannabis consumers as more dopey or less intelligent than the more “sophisticated” types that prefer to drink cocktails after work.
There’s a stigma associated with smell: too many medical cannabis patients have been victims of this. Especially during those “sobriety checkpoints” the police like to set up.
There certainly wasn’t any reduced cannabis stigma when Canada legalized cannabis. If anything, cops and public health busybodies amped up the drug war propaganda to eleven.
#3 Reduced Cannabis Stigma: Window Coverings
A significant cannabis stigma in Canada is window coverings. Despite cannabis being legal and hidden behind opaque plastic child-resistant containers – governments demand retailers wrap their windows so no one can see in.
After a series of robberies and break-ins, the British Columbia government finally agreed with cannabis retailers. These opaque window wrappings are more harmful than helpful.
The most obvious example is a robbery in Vancouver earlier this year. Security footage showed the criminal trying to steal from the shop.
Typically, if you try to rob a store in broad daylight, people walking by are witnesses and can call for help. But with opaque window coverings?
Who knows what’s going on in there?
Notably, B.C.’s many public and private liquor stores don’t require window coverings.
#2 Reduced Cannabis Stigma: Switzerland Expanding Cannabis Trials to More Cities
Ideally, Switzerland would legalize cannabis completely. If someone is fining you or sticking you in a cell for a nontoxic herbal plant, then that person is the criminal.
Statute law by governments is not the be-all, end-all of what’s right and wrong. You’d think this point would be well-known. But decades of government schooling and the erosion of religious values have us lost in the wilderness.
Long-term, this may prove more advantageous. While many U.S. jurisdictions legalize in a manner more consistent with the values of individual liberty and private property – Switzerland’s top-down approach comes with one significant benefit.
The Swiss’s cannabis trials are decentralized and conducted by different universities. Multiple research findings will root out bias and narrow in on objective observations found in all studies.
In other words: cannabis legalization in Switzerland is a product of multiple researchers in different cities rather than bureaucrats implementing a one-size-fits-all regime based on their definition of “best practices.”
While legalizing in this way still indicates that cannabis stigma is alive and well – just the fact that the Swiss have embarked on this program (followed by the Netherlands and a non-profit German model) shows that reduced cannabis stigma is becoming the norm.
#1 Reduced Cannabis Stigma: Doctors Aren’t Drinking the Koolaid
Last week, researchers published a study indicating that “cannabis use disorder” causes schizophrenia. Many in the media repeated this study’s findings without referencing its numerous methodological problems.
We covered it here, but you might be skeptical that a site calling itself “Cannabis Life Network” would give an unbiased account.
The study says, “Assuming causality, approximately 15% of recent cases of schizophrenia among males in 2021 would have been prevented in the absence of CUD [cannabis use disorder].”
But as Dr. Chuck Dinerstein wrote:
“I am not ready to make that leap. There is more science to consider. I am willing to consider cannabis, and for that matter, alcohol gateways to mental disease, but I believe it may be more critical to recognize that the gate swings both ways – that is, schizophrenia, in this instance, is a gateway to substance abuse…The narrative can go in either direction.”
Can cannabis trigger schizophrenia in individuals predisposed to the disease? Yes, all research indicates that. The same is true for any substance, and alcohol looks to be the worst of them all.
Is 15% of schizophrenia due to cannabis?
But will cannabis cause schizophrenia in otherwise healthy young, adult males? “Not likely,” says Dr. Dinerstein.
And for us, that is the number one sign of reduced cannabis stigma. With cannabis legalization becoming a force that governments and pharma lobbyists can’t stop, they are increasing anti-cannabis propaganda to protect their investments.
Like giving children hormone blockers (or homeless addicts free opioids, or criticizing the covid regime), many doctors are too afraid to speak out. We’ve returned to the pre-Christian values of public humiliation.
So for an actual M.D. to read this Danish study and publicly declare that the researchers made “a leap of faith” in connecting cannabis use and schizophrenia is a breath of fresh air.
It’s a sign of reduced cannabis stigma.
The Future of Cannabis
We’re not out of the woods yet. Cannabis stigma is alive and well. But these three recent stories indicate that trends are moving in positive directions.
Public health can complain and cry like children all they want. The fact is: people are ditching their meds and alcoholic drinks for cannabinoid therapy.
Treating cannabis retail like a Great Depression-era bookstore selling “Tijuana bibles” is coming to an end. Even the most conservative European countries (and U.S. states) are moving toward cannabis legalization.
And doctors aren’t afraid to call out drug war propaganda when they see it.
Hopefully, ten years from now, we’ll look back at this period as Reefer Madness 2.0. The era when the people demanded legal cannabis and the powers-that-be did everything to prevent it.
But, as the saying goes, facts don’t care about your feelings. No one says you must consume cannabis, so it’s time to stop worrying about what others are doing with their lives.