Coming Out of the (Cannabis) Closet.


Will Wilkinson has penned a particularly thought-provoking essay about marijuana:

If we’re to begin to roll back our stupid and deadly drug war, the stigma of responsible drug use has got to end, and marijuana is the best place to start. The super-savvy Barack Obama managed to turn a buck by coming out of the cannabis(and cocaine) closet in a bestselling memoir. That’s progress. But his admission came with the politicians’ caveat of regret. We’ll make real progress when solid, upstanding folk come out of the cannabis closet, heads held high. So here we go. My name is Will Wilkinson. I smoke marijuana, and I like it.

I’m not sure how much anyone cares, but my name is blackink (riiiight), I dabbled occasionally during college and in the few years after graduation, and I enjoyed almost every single pull. And I can vouch (not publicly, of course) for the use of dozens of others, none of whom bear a resemblance to Cheech or Chong or any character in Half Baked. We’re talking about a pretty diverse group of people: lawyers, journalists, teachers, nurses, cops, grad students, mothers, fathers, etc.

I stopped mainly because it wasn’t a big deal, and I didn’t feel like going through hoops to get a dime bag. The high simply wasn’t worth the risk.

But even today, I can’t come up with a compelling reason for the criminalization of marijuana. And no, that’s not because of the chronic.

Though President Obama did once call the War on Drugs “an utter failure” and has previously lobbied for the decriminalization of marijuana, he doesn’t seem all that serious about a radical rethinking of our national drug policy. Which is more than a little disappointing. The “war” is not a damn joke for the thousands who have become its victims, a disproportionate number of those whom happen to be black men.

But if Nate Silver is to be believed – and after all he’s done for us, why wouldn’t we? – the push for legalization could be gaining momentum with each successive generation. At some point, the pols will have to answer to the polls.

And laughing it off will no longer be enough.


Joel Anderson —blackink —  writes about sports, politics, crime, courts, and other issues far beyond his competence at BuzzFeed. He has worked at media outlets in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Atlanta and contributed to a number of publications, including The Root and The American Prospect, among many others.
  • Seriously, part of the pot legalization movements problem is that so many of the people associated with it are too easy to ridicule. They’d be helped out enormously if it became associated with ‘regular’ people.

  • I’ve never smoked pot in my life, but have known several people who have. I do not hold it against them, and find it reprehensible that we criminalize marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes.

    Maybe if more stick-in-the-mud old farts like me publicly supported legalization, we could move beyond this sad and wasteful “Drug War” and get some real work done.

  • Joanie

    Young black men have been major victims of this war on drugs. I read some stat the other day saying that if you are carrying equal amounts of crack cocaine and powder cocaine, the crack cocaine (the person with crack cocaine) would get a substantially more severe punishment/jail time. On a level of discourse, even, the more negative words and stereotypes of drugs are linked to black youth.

  • kaya

    it’s ironic that there’s such a stigma for this in the medical community…when so many in the medical community have SERIOUS addiction problems. i have mixed feelings about legalization of marijuana but am all for the de-criminalization of it. (if you understand what i mean)