With the social stigma, coming out of the cannabis closet can be more difficult than, well coming out of the closet. If your friends and family happen to be rather conservative, telling them you like weed could feel like saying you love heroin and cocaine.
Someday we can just ask them to come to the vape bar after work for a fat bud, but that level of acceptance is still in the works. YOU know it’s different, but how do you convey that to them?
1. Stage the scene: Let’s be honest
This is going to be a battle in some cases, and a smart warrior likes to pick his battlefield to his advantage. Choose a time and place where you have the ability to have a long conversation, but you can leave if you want. Have some literature from several sources at hand, preferably from sources that you know they would listen to. This takes me to step 2.
2. Know thy opponent
Anticipating what your friends reactions could be will allow you to prepare for any number of conversation turns. Know what news sources they find credible, their political leanings, their personal experiences with cannabis, and the opinions they hold. If you can know where they come from, and where they will go in each point of conversation, you can steer the dialogue.
3. Have a plan and a backup plan
Take the time to really think about how you want to have the conversation go. Obviously this person is important to you or you wouldn’t bother sharing this aspect of your life. Write a bubble outline of the talk, like an English paper. It will help you to keep control of the conversation.
4. Have a partner
Sometimes, the person you want to talk to may be able to catch you off guard, maybe you are nervous, or maybe they start to overwhelm you in the conversation. It’s best to have a second person, one who they can see as intelligent and a good person, who is there to help you with the talk. That way, if you stumble, they can catch you.
5. Know when to back off
What you are doing, by having this conversation, is similar to an intervention. You are trying to enlighten this friend, and save your relationship with them. However, you don’t have to change their minds completely, or get them to like Cannabis. You just need them to respect your appreciation for it. If you try to shove the entire agenda down their throat, they may get too defensive to think. You might also cause more damage with the style of the talk, than with the subject. Use your backup buddy to help you pull back if you get in too deep.
6. Have an exit strategy
Remember back in Step 1, when I said pick a place that allows you to leave if you want? Okay, good. You don’t want to just share this with them and then storm off. A meal in the oven, or an order at a restaurant, makes a great timer for the talk, and a great way to end it, good or bad. Then you can spend the rest of the visit smoothing over the bumps with regular chat and great food.
Or if it goes bad, you can stuff your face with tortellini to avoid talking until the check comes. Then pay, so they feel bad, and head out.
7. Remember it’s not a battle, it’s a war
It’s better to make some headway and leave with egos intact, then drive onward, into a Russian winter like Napoleon. Plant the right seeds, and you might turn a friend into an activist. Plant the wrong ones, and you might lose a friend or family member.
Why it’s worth it?
I know what you are thinking. Why do I have to tell them at all? Why risk it? I can just avoid it… The truth is, holding a part of yourself back like that leads to problems of its own. On a personal note, I had a very similar conversation with my own Mom, when I told her I wrote for this publication. It wasn’t easy, but in the end, our relationship is stronger, and we have a foundation to grow on. I wish you the best of luck. After all, cannabis isn’t the problem, it’s the way people have been trained to think.