Recently I was telling someone how embarrassed I was for something I did, and they responded with “Verguenza robar”. The literal translation “Shame is robbing” is a quirky way of saying “be ashamed of stealing but nothing else.” What a wonderful thought, to leave (most) of your shame behind. Truth is, it isn’t very realistic. Especially as a Latina, where any type of individualism or independence produces shame.
Not to mention if you’re a cannabis consumer. Void of the general populations opinions, Latina’s still very much face the shame and criticism for consuming marijuana.
I can remember the many times I was filled with embarrassment at my mothers references to my consumption. The criticisms on my red eyes, on my smelly clothes, on the “stupid look on my face”. All things I’ve worked hard at concealing. And while my eyes will always be red, now a days I am much more self aware about my “zoning out”.
A little over a year ago, I worked in downtown Chicago and on my lunch breaks I would head outside for a smoke. Always stopping by the front desk to chat with the older gentleman who I had shared laughs and coffee with. He was over 65 years old, white haired, and pleasant. I, a victim of daddy issues, have always collected father figures. He was my work one.
I’ll never forget the day that he walked out into the alley and bumped into me while I smoked. The look of absolute disgust that filled his eyes made me want to shrivel up on that sidewalk.
For the rest of my time working there, we never interacted more than the occasional hello. I felt the difference immediately, this very obvious disappointment. I remember rushing to my Instagram to share the story, absolutely heartbroken.
But this story, while sad, is not unique. Every day, women, particularly women of color, shape their entire lives so as not to bring shame to our families. Ideas that affect the clothes we wear, the people we date, and the plants that we smoke. It’s unfortunate, considering that in yesteryear the TV was filled with images of sultry women puffing on cigarettes.
And yet the sight of a productive woman smoking cannabis is still met with shock.
I have always said that the only thing that takes an unfortunately encounter with cannabis into a positive one is CONFIDENCE. How I wish I would’ve questioned my work friend about his change in demeanor, instead of letting the embarrassment engulf me. Not because I would hope to change his opinion about cannabis, but because I could’ve changed his opinion about me as a cannabis consumer. And that’s why I created Cannabaddie Talk.
Cannabaddie Talk hopes to empower women, specifically women of color, in their cannabis consumption.
Images of women of color consuming cannabis in a productive way should be highlighted. Cannabaddie Talk does this by creating content and events geared toward women of color. By cultivating interactions among women of color that are positive and embrace personal preferences. Normalizing the plant means normalizing it for everyone, not just a certain group.
Breaking the Stigma: How to Overcome Embarrassment
I cannot tell you to stop being embarrassed. That is years, decades worth of stigmas that will not easily go away. But I do think there are things we can do collectively in order to work our way to a better tomorrow.
Discuss your Consumption Openly
I know this might be very uncomfortable, but consider starting small. Have a transparent conversation with your best friend, sibling, confidante, or even therapist about your usage. Be honest about why you consume and what it does for you. The more you talk about it, the easier it will be to talk about it with anyone.
Stand By Your Consumption
Many times, our consumption is clouded in apologies. Sorry for smelling this way, sorry for taking time to smoke. Slowly begin shedding these unnecessary apologies. Your consumption is your choice, and you no longer have to apologize for it.
As with any medicine, or health related habit, research is important and necessary. If you’re a smoker, educate yourself on the harmful effects. If you prefer edibles, learn the difference between canna-butter, tinctures, and RSO. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be aware of what you’re putting in your body.
Respect Others Choices
Just like you hope others will respect your choices, make it a point to respect theirs too. Don’t be the person who insists cannabis is for everyone. Don’t be the person who peer-pressures others into partaking. DO be the friend who is self aware, willing to guide a newbie, and open to discussing cannabis openly.
I am excited and looking to the future of cannabis marketing for real break throughs. As cannabis advertising goes mainstream, I hope we see different people partaking and being represented.
Cannabis consumers exist in every industry, every gender, and every ethnicity in this country. It’s high time we stopped being embarrassed about it.
What is Cannabaddie Talk?
Cannabaddie Talk is a platform that empowers women, particularly women of color, in their cannabis consumption. It creates content and events geared toward women of color, highlighting and normalizing their productive cannabis consumption.
How can we break the stigma surrounding cannabis consumption?
Breaking the stigma requires open and transparent conversations about cannabis consumption. It involves discussing consumption openly, standing by your consumption without feeling the need to apologize, educating yourself about the plant and its effects, and respecting others’ choices.
Why is it important to empower women of color in cannabis consumption?
Women of color often face shame and criticism for consuming cannabis. Empowering them in their consumption helps normalize the plant for everyone and challenges stereotypes and biases. It promotes inclusivity and equality in the cannabis industry.