When we started The Weed Blog in January 2010, I didn’t think the word ‘stoner’ was that big of a deal. In fact, I thought it was a term of endearment. In my home state of Oregon, people frequently use the word ‘stoner’ to describe me, and I couldn’t be happier about it. In high school growing up, I was the ‘stoner kid,’ which of course has continued into my adult life. I guess I’ve been so far inside the fishbowl that I never gave much thought to using the word.
But that has evolved over the last couple of years that I have been running TWB with Ninjasmoker. I’ve gone outside the fishbowl and talked to activists and political strategists all over the nation that feel the word ‘stoner’ shouldn’t ever be used by marijuana activists. They feel that the word has too many bad stereotypes attached to it, and that it discredits an activist when they use the term. I respect these people’s opinions. Even though I don’t mind the term, I understand why people are hesitant to agree with me, and I don’t expect them to. Out of respect for the movement, I use the word only when talking to friends now, and try to not use the term in articles as often as I did before.
These same activists don’t like the words ‘pothead,’ ‘weed,’ and in some cases even the word ‘marijuana.’ I think the last one is a bit much personally, but if people want to only refer to it as ‘cannabis’ that’s fine with me. I have always felt that there is a need to tailor vocabulary to fit certain audiences, but at the same time, I don’t think people should pass judgment on others that use words that they prefer to communicate their ideas. Just as I’m OK with some people only referring to it as ‘cannabis,’ I’m also OK with people that want to refer to it as ‘pot’ or ‘mj’.
As loyal readers will attest, I have always supported actions over words. I understand the importance of being politically correct, so I try to do so as best I can. But with that being said, it’s been my experience that actions speak louder than words. There are thousands of people that I have met since I have started TWB, from all walks of life, that are blown away by how productive I am despite the fact that I consume marijuana constantly. ‘Usually stoners are lazy, but you get more done in a day than ten people combined!’ is a common phrase that I hear.
I can tell people til I’m blue in the face that I’m a ‘cannabis consumer’ and maybe it changes their minds about reform or maybe it doesn’t. Or I can let non-supporters call me ‘stoner’ with their tongue in their cheek, then run circles around them in a college classroom, or on the campaign trail, or in another arena. They find out real fast that I’m not lazy and I don’t fit any stereotypes that they have in their mind when they think of the word ‘stoner.’ I have found that to be a much more powerful way to go about things than being politically correct, and I know I’m not alone. I have met far more hardworking activists that are proud to be called a stoner than I have met hardworking activists that only refer to themselves as ‘cannabis consumers.’ That’s not to say that there aren’t any, but certainly not as many.
What do readers think? Are you proud to be called stoner? Are you a person that doesn’t care either way? Or are you a person that totally disagrees with me and thinks I’m doing more harm than good when I let people call me a stoner? Do you think it depends on where you’re at? Like I said, in most parts of Oregon the word stoner isn’t a bad thing. But I have been to parts of Colorado and California where people find the word appalling. I look forward to your comments!