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Cannabis, more and more, is becoming an accepted part of mainstream society. Seven states and DC have legalized recreational use of the herb, and more than half the U.S. has some sort of medical marijuana law in place. But as we all know, there are plenty of holdouts who are still against weed.

When people are against weed

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What is it that makes some people so resistant to the idea of accepting cannabis as a normal part of life? A big part of the conflict is the miseducation that many have received, due to the anti-weed propaganda that has been so prevalent in our society for 80 years now.

How do you react when friends, family members, acquaintances, or random strangers assail cannabis culture? What’s the best, most intelligent reaction when your obnoxious Uncle Arnie goes off on his standard weed rant? Here are a few suggestions.

1. It’s all about the science

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If you are of a logical and analytical frame of mind, then you can be happy that science is standing behind you on the subject of cannabis.

There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of good, solid scientific studies that show cannabis to be no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco, and in fact, much less dangerous by almost any objective measure.

2. The politics of pot: Adapt your message to your audience

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If the person who’s against weed is more of a political animal than the scientific type, then it’s important to use the arguments which might work best at convincing them. For instance, if you find a liberal opposed to weed (and there are a few!), pursue the social justice angle.

If you find yourself debating a conservative, remind them that legalization is good business. What if you find a libertarian opposed to pot? Point out that Big Government has no business intruding in the personal lives of citizens and making those kinds of decisions for them.

3. If they say, ‘But what about the children?’

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Turning this old anti-legalization refrain on its head is an effective way to counter arguments that “We can’t legalize marijuana, because what about the children?” First of all, in a black market scenario, nobody asks for I.D.

Secondly, there are plenty of kids who, for medical reasons, need cannabis, and in fact, many with severe seizure disorders and other ailments are in greater danger of dying when they don’t have access to cannabis.

4. Medical marijuana is safer than pharmaceuticals

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Opioid overdoses drop in states with access to marijuana (either recreational or medical). How much is one human life worth? A lot more than keeping prohibition in place, that’s for sure.

5. Use the bible on bible-thumpers

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Where I grew up, in the Deep South, it’s usually conservative Christians who are against weed. I remind them that it’s a God-given healing plant and it’s man that has placed restrictions upon it or demonized it. Helpful bible verse: Genesis 1:29.

6. Every reason that was used, at the time, to justify prohibition has been debunked

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Whether it’s the racist sensationalism of 1930s Reefer Madness or the Gateway Theory of the 1960s, every so-called justification for prohibition has been disproven, so they have to keep coming up with new (still ridiculous ones).

7. When all else fails, disengage and walk away

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We have been given a refresher course lately in the lesson that some people just aren’t interested in facts. If some anti-weed zealot isn’t amenable to logical (science) arguments, emotional (the kids) appeals or economic reasons, your smartest option may just to walk away.

The old saw about teaching pigs to sing is applicable here. Don’t let them harsh your buzz!

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Steve Elliott

Editor/Publisher at Toke Signals
Steve Elliott has been a journalist since 1974, has been trained on how to do that since 1982, and has worked the cannabis beat since 2007. Elliott is the author of The Little Black Book of Marijuana. He runs the blog TokeSignals.com.
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