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LET’S TALK ABOUT WEED

HOW I WENT FROM LOCAL NEWS ANCHOR TO MARIJUANA ACTIVIST

By Cyd Maurer

Hi, my name is Cyd. I’m 25 years old, married, and a University of Oregon graduate. I’m a former local news anchor, reporter and producer. I’m a runner, an animal lover, a bubbly and generally optimistic person…

and I enjoy using marijuana.

If you’re someone who immediately jumped to negative conclusions about my life – ask yourself, what do you really know about marijuana? Because I’ve found most people who are adamantly against marijuana don’t know much about it. Furthermore, if you’re against marijuana, but enjoy drinking alcohol – ask yourself why?

Alcohol kills millions of people each year and is involved in an alarming percentage of violent crimes. By comparison to alcohol, marijuana is harmless – both for personal useand for society, because unlike alcohol, marijuana does not kill, it doesn’t incite violence, and it doesn’t lead to criminal acts.

This is a public safety issue.

It’s time to break down the negative social stigmas, the laws, and the misguided policies that are forcing people to choose alcohol over marijuana. Because driving people toward drinking is dangerous, it’s hypocritical and it just doesn’t make sense.

My marijuana use had never negatively impacted my life, until recently, when I lost my job as a local news anchor. Like any other workday, I was completely sober. I was under a lot of stress, on my way to my live shot in a work vehicle during rush hour traffic, and I tapped the bumper of a car in front of me. I was immediately forced to take a drug test, to pee in a cup, and that was that.

The decision to fire me didn’t come from my immediate supervisors who worked with me everyday, who actually told me they wanted me to keep my job. That’s because my supervisors knew me, and trusted me, just like they trusted my coworkers who chose to drink alcohol in their free time.

No. The decision to fire me came from a corporate attorney who had never even met me.

I wasn’t fired because I couldn’t do my job. I wasn’t fired because of my work ethic, my attitude, or my abilities. I was fired for enjoying a plant, on my own time, in the privacy of my own home. A plant that the majority of voters in Oregon believe should be legal.

Thank you, fellow Oregonians! The magnitude of progress Measure 91’s success represents cannot be overstated. That being said, while marijuana is legal in Oregon and a handful of other states now, clearly – my and others’ stories prove we still have a long way to go.

When you consider the facts, it’s hard to believe that marijuana has been classified as a dangerous substance, but I think it’s at least partly due to a lack of exposure. We need more realistic examples of normal and responsible marijuana users, so here I am!

Like countless other “stoners” out there, I don’t fit into the stereotypical “stupid, lazy, loser” stereotype. In my life, the only thing I’ve been stereotyped as is an over-achieving goodie-goodie.

I’m educated and responsible. I’m a woman. The vast majority of people who meet me would never in their wildest dreams assume I use marijuana. But I do. And I’m tired of hiding it – and in fact, now I want people to take notice.

And that’s why I’m sharing my story. I want to start a conversation! Ask me ANYTHING! If you don’t agree with me, please, let me know! I want people to be informed, no longer misinformed.

I truly believe once people learn the facts about marijuana, they’ll be just as shocked as I am that this is even a debate.

 

HEMPSTALK AND THE HEMP & CANNABIS FAIR: SPEAKING EVENTS FUEL CONFIDENCE

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kvalWhat a weekend! I was luck enough to speak at both Hempstalk in Portland, and The Hemp and Cannabis Fair in Eugene.

Every event I go to, I’m just more encouraged to stick to my message. The support is so energizing, and it gives me the confidence to keep going. Drug testing is bad business practice! I’ve found most people, cannabis users or not, agree with me on that, which tells me I just need to keep speaking out… until everyone is listening! The facts are on my side.

Thank you KVAL-TV for covering my talk on Sunday! Here’s a look at the story by Ellen Meny:

http://www.kval.com/news/local/A-lot-of-people-who-are-against-cannabis-dont-know-much-about-it-333941791.html?tab=video&c=y

THREE REASONS ALL WOMEN SHOULD BE IN FAVOR OF MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION!

Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance This is a reproduction of a blog post first published on Marijuana Politics.

Even though a majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana, there are still many negative misconceptions out there that hold us back from full cannabis acceptance. The momentum is shifting, but old-fashioned ideas linger in many areas of the country, and within different segments of the population.

Being a 25-year-old woman who consumes cannabis, one common misconception I’ve observed is the notion that weed just isn’t “ladylike.” That women ought to stick to wine and cosmos at the sake of appearing less-womanly.

This is exactly the sort of misconception I hope to help abolish! I mean, let’s consider the facts: we’re talking about a flower nicknamed “Mary Jane.” It’s time for all women to embrace cannabis. Women everywhere deserve to know why legal weed will benefit them. Of course ending marijuana prohibition creates a better world for everyone, but today, I’m focusing on the ladies:

Three Reasons All Women Should be Pushing for Legal Weed!

#3: The Health Benefits of Cannabis are Endless!

I’ve heard several women in my life, and in pop culture, refer to wine as “mommy juice.” With hectic and demanding lives, it’s no wonder many modern women are often looking for something to take the edge off, but what some women don’t realize is that cannabis is a safer, healthier alternative to that “mommy juice” in their glass every night.

The medicinal qualities of cannabis can help people relax and fall asleep, may reduce the risk for certain cancers, and could even help people manage their weight… all without the calories, hangover symptoms, or damaging effects of alcohol (or the risky side effects that occur with many prescription drugs).

Research shows one in four American women take antidepressants, and an increasing amount of women use and abuse opioid pain killers. Amazingly, different strains of cannabis can help manage those conditions, and more!

In states where cannabis is legal, trained budtenders offer expert advice on what strains are right each individual customer, depending on their needs. Here in Oregon, it is so amazing to have the ability to walk into a dispensary and ask for a strain that will help me fall asleep, or one that will boost my mood and energy.

I’m not saying there isn’t a place for prescription drugs, just that cannabis can sometimes be a healthier substitute for women looking for alternatives – and I want women to know that!

#2: Legalizing Marijuana Creates a Brand New Industry Where Women Can Lead

Because woman have been historically undervalued, most industries are dominated by men. The legal marijuana industry is different, because it’s just getting started and offers a more even playing field for men and women who hope to invest, create new business, and be the leaders of marijuana-related companies.

Today, women have more opportunity than ever before, and intelligent, determined, and skilled women are proving they can shine within this new business arena.

Even women who don’t consume cannabis should be looking at the new legal cannabis industry with open, and eager eyes. There’s no reason you can’t get involved with the business side of the fastest growing industry in the US. Weed is lucrative, and judging on history, the demand for weed is not going away. Modern women, in the Midwest, the South, the Northeast – wherever they live – should be pushing for legal cannabis, and all the career and investment possibilities that come along with it.

Women who aren’t looking to get involved with the industry should think about the community benefits that come along with the legalization of marijuana. Your community will likely be safer, there will likely be more tax money available for schools and other public services, and the potential for economic development that comes along with a new industry is incredibly far-reaching.

Unlike the already formed, male-dominated images of the American business world today, the legal weed industry offers women an almost blank canvas. It’s up to us whether we want to grab a brush, or just sit back and let the men paint another picture the way they’ve imagined it.

And the number one reason all women should be pushing for legal weed…?

#1: Cannabis Creates a Much Safer World for Women than Alcohol

Let’s say you don’t have any ailments you’d like to use cannabis for. Let’s say you’re really not interested in cannabis at all, you don’t really want to consume it, you don’t really want to work in the industry, and the economic benefits of legalization have not convinced you. As a woman, you should still be in favor of legal weed because it offers a safer alternative to alcohol.

When considering the fact that alcohol is involved in an alarming percentage of violent crimes, sexual assaults, and cases of domestic violence, why is the legal deck stacked in favor of alcohol consumption?

Marijuana doesn’t cloud your judgement in the same way alcohol does. It doesn’t cause you to loosen your inhibitions or “blackout,” and it won’t fuel the flames of your husband’s fiery temper. If your college-aged daughter goes off to a party, what would you rather her be under the influence of? What about the men around her? Would you prefer them to be high from alcohol or high from cannabis? Studies show that even sex is safer for those who consume cannabis than it is for those under the influence of alcohol.

Clearly, all three of these reasons show I’m a true believer in the success of the legal cannabis industry, and that I’m a true believer that women are capable of pretty much anything. I believe that when exposed to facts, more women around the country (and hopefully world) will start to recognize why legalizing cannabis is so important, and that’s why I’m working hard to spread those facts!

14 THOUGHTS ON “WHY I’M SHARING MY STORY”

  1. Hi Cyd,

    While I’m truly sorry you had to lose your job over this, I’m thrilled that you responded by fighting back and helping us fight this battle against ignorance….and politics. I’ve been a full-time activist for 13 years here in Washington…where we just lost medical marijuana after 18 years. Aside from being an activist, I’m one of the VERY few civilians that are certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the “Standardized Field Sobriety Test”, as well a being a “Drug Recognition Expert”. I’m an expert witness in marijuana DUI case. What you don’t know about pot and the DUI laws WILL hurt you. I’d love to show you how ridiculous this idea of “drugged driving” is, and show you that there is no science behind this whatsoever. I think you’ll be amazed. It would make a great video to expose the myth of “stoned driving”. You’re very lucky no one was actually hurt in the accident. You would have been charge criminally….even though you weren’t impaired!

    Please contact me…

    Steve Sarich
    Executive Director
    Cannabis Action Coalition
    206-612-9044

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  2. I applaud you for taking a stand. I don’t totally agree with you about not harming. I saw my step-dad use it and it ended up killing him due to poor judgement over long time use. But that is another story. But the biggest issue is not your visitors and the ordinary folk out there but the legal system in this country and the fear of being sued. The number one destroyer of someones life is being taken to court for anything. The fear is not in the ‘weed’ per say but that if you do something wrong, that one mistake, and they new the ramifications, that they can be sued big time. So it didn’t matter how good you were. What matters is if someone could have sued them over a discrepancy that you did, allowing you in a less than sober manner. It has happened time and time and time again. The more this country is sue-happy, the more the scales of sense will go to the side of the lawyer and not the common man. Exceptions don’t count. If you are an activist, that I feel will be your hardest tackle. Just think, security guards and employees in stores are not allowed to touch a man stealing, in case he trips or gets hurt and sues. How wild a world is that. But good luck to you. Many people have recreational use to get a little relief in life from the stress. The problem arises from idiots who don’t use common sense and then sue and pass blame.

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  3. Hey Cyd,
    Just wanted to show our support and send you some love.
    It’s people like you who are breaking the stereotypical mold and putting yourself out there for the world to see. Helping break the stigma attached to being a ‘stoner’.
    If you ever want to publish a piece on our site you are more than welcome.
    Toke on.

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  4. Good for you. This is another example of corporate greed not allowing marijuana or cannabis to be a product for the marketplace due to greed and manipulation of the market. It is the age old story that if you go against the corporate society you will be ridiculed and the lies and misinformation will run rampant in the American media and society. Although I do think in the injustice that has been levied or imposed on your civil and personal rights, I think the bigger question is why? The cannabis and marijuana industry has so many values and so many possible products that if produced could eliminate 100s of products that are used daily and these multi-national corporations would loose billions yearly. And in time trillions. It is easier to villainies these Hemp products and make people fear them, than to try to make their product better and cheaper. Sadly this is the result of capitalism. Capitalism has never been a free market, never will be a free market. Capitalism has always been a a corporate run society that has no interest in social values but only self interests. But I do know people are beginning to wake up. And because of a few states legalizing Cannabis, a new day and new movement of truth and democracy is becoming a reality. So for a time these corporate overloads will fight tooth n nail to suppress and manipulate the media to make these product evil the same as making social democracy evil. Both are contrary to the capitalist market because both represent democracy something the multinational corporations and corporatists want you to know nothing about. Hemp, Marijuana, Cannabis are green and renewable. I applaud you and my hope is you are able to educate our society for all the wonderful products that not only help people but make their lives better.

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  5. Hello Cyd…how can I contact you to learn more about our commercial group that is interested in you working with us??

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  6. Hey Cyd congrats with the dailymail uk coverage, that one seemed to get a lot of attention with 100 comments last time I checked. I think you should share your story with theweedblog.com it’s the most popular marijuana activist blog in the US if not the world and the main author/founder is from Oregon. I already sent sent him your story through their facebook page and their website but you should try as well for a better response, maybe even a guest post? The blog get’s over 5 million hits per month. Check it out.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    Dan

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  7. Hi Cyd,
    Millions of us feel the same way and thank you for “coming out”. No one should be under the influence of anything on the job. That is our point! We are not! Many like myself have had this happen. We are with you however many cannot speak out or “come out of the woods” so to say. It is a death sentence for jobs, careers, and our “place in society”. If you could have stayed at your job they would have put you in rehab and random tested you for a year. All the while getting their alcohol buzz. We all know what those consequences can be for some people. They don’t trust us to make decisions and perform our jobs because of their ill-informed ways even though we were told before we were found out that we were so good at our jobs. Yet we all know alcohol is a brain cell killer. Legalization will get it out of the children’s hands and save their developing brains. Cyd, try to accept anonymous posts and especially do anonymous surveys. The only way this will ever get solved is to get it off the schedule status. It is not a president, or attorney general, or even congress that can do this. Corporate America will not let them do it. Corporate America runs this country. The alcohol, pharmaceuticals, prisons, rehabs, and many others don’t want to lose money. That is what is all about. The American people will have to do this themselves. Picture a Saturday in the spring of 2016 where at least 1 million people can do a peaceful civil rights march in Washington D.C. and attend a day long peaceful presentation on the cannabis medical, recreational, and hemp products industries. There this can be brought to the forefront of the presidential election. No profanity Charlo Greene. They will use it against us. We are not stoners or potheads! We are hard working and otherwise law abiding citizens. We are good people that take good care of our families and responsibilities in life. How would anyone that drinks any form of alcohol or even one drink like to be labeled an alcoholic! How many have died in alcohol related deaths? Millions! How many have died from weed? Zero! What a sick society. Anyhow, begin the day long program with the history from the 1930’s on up to today. From the Henry Anslinger days and Hearst and Dupont. The Schaeffer Commission and others who long ago knew the truth. Bring the Charlotte’s Web boys from Colorado, the lady in Kansas who had her child taken, to the lady and husband in a Midwest state who where prominent artists in their city only to be awoken at 3 am with DEA flashlights and guns in their faces for a few grams of weed they smoked once in awhile. All the pro groups like MPP and others to celebrities (Susan Sarandon) and maybe wind up with a few peaceful songs. There and then peacefully demand to the powers that be that this injustice and draconian laws be changed. Peace, love, and prayers to our God for you, your family, and to all in the land to end this prohibition. Hope to remain anonymous here because I do have loved ones to support and take of. But, like you it is so hard to “stay in the woods” anymore. God Bless All!

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  8. Wow! Look at you! Fired from one job. Make a stand. Get other offers right out of the gate! Proud of you and what you’ve made of your situation! Blessing on you and your bright future!

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  9. Good for you, Cyd! Marijuana has been demonized for far too long, and it’s people like you serving as our public champions that will help regular marijuana users become accepted as normal members of society.

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  10. I sincerely appreciate what you and other activists are doing around the country. I always enjoyed smoking, that is until my kids were born. Since then I had refined from consuming out of fear of arrest. Last fall I went to Seattle and bought and consumed pot legally and it was liberating. Upon returning home I spoke to a few friends and learned about local medical dispensaries. After much soul searching and deliberation I decided to pursue a medial marijuana card. My life has changed dramatically ever since. Prior to obtaining my card, I was on anti-depressants, binge drinking and unable to sleep. After obtaining my card I have completely given up alcohol and most pharmaceuticals, I still take meds for allergies, I also have a regular sleep-wake schedule.

    There are a few things I’ve learned about marijuana since I started my legal pot journey. One different strands have different effects. Most regular users know the differences between indicas and sativas, but even within the strands the effects are different. Some provide a very clear head, while support creativity. Because of this I enjoy going to the dispensary and talking with the proprietors about the different strands and making an educated purchase, or repurchasing the strands that have provided me with the desired effects. This is much different than the old days of just buying a bag of weed. Two marijuana controls my appetite. Previously my diet was terrible, lots of fast food and over-eating while drinking. When I smoke, I don’t get the munchies, I feel full and as a result I am losing weight. Weight that I needed to lose for health reasons. Three my bowel movements are more regular. Not something you always want to discuss, but I was never regular before and now I am, another health benefit. Four, I used to get up several times in the middle of the night to use the restroom, I now sleep through the night. Five, I have alway been introverted, but find my self more social. I walk over to the neighbors more frequently and seem to enjoy my time with my friends and family more. Six, I experience improvements in my motor skills, in particular with games of skill. I am more focused and have better body control playing ping pong, corn hole or shooting baskets. Seven, I am happy and this is the greatest benefit of all. No more antidepressants.

    Going from being depressed to happy is life changing. My relationship with my wife and family have improved and my future looks brighter than it ever has. Yet with all the advantages, there are drawbacks. First as a father of two teenage girls I have to hide my usage. I keep my pot in a locked case and smoke when I can be sure they cannot see. I want to tell them, but my wife disagrees and she has a valid point, we don’t announce to the kids when we’re going into the bedroom for sex. Why should I announce to them I’m going to smoke pot. My problem with it is this, it’s perfectly ok to have a beer in their presence, but not ok to smoke. Second, as a senior business leader drinking is encouraged and most events have cocktail hours. I don’t mind sitting there and drinking water, but the peer pressure gets annoying. It would be nice if I could walk outside and take a hit or two at these events, but I don’t. Third, edibles are dangerous. I think there is significant opportunity in the marketplace for edibles, but the ones I have tried are dangerous. It takes a long time for the effects to set in and they last a long time. I did not enjoy it. Four there is still the risk to be fired. I don’t want that, no one does, but I do deserve the right to be healthy and happy and marijuana has given me a path to that, a path that alcohol interfered with for many years.

    Like you I don’t fit the typical stoner mold. I am a recognized subject matter expert in my field and hold a masters degree. I don’t consume during business hours and don’t consume every day. I actually don’t smoke much at all, maybe the equivalent of a joint a week. I smoke some nights before bed to aid me in falling asleep, the stress of my job causes my mind to race and makes it difficult to fall asleep, with cannabis I am able to gradually fall asleep and sleep through the night. Which leads to greater levels of productivity throughout the day. I smoke when I do yard work and find I get a lot more done. I don’t drive under the influence. When I do smoke its usually only a hit or two anything more than that gives me anxiety.

    I applaud your courage. I want to scream from the roof tops that I smoke and am a good law abiding individual, but there is still too much at risk. Mortgage, college and weddings all have staked a claim on my finances and I want to hold to those commitments. I enjoy my profession and working for my employer, I don’t want to lose that. The new struggle in my life is coming to terms with the benefits of my use and I ask myself the following questions every day “If I had to choose between my job and my happiness what would I choose?”, “Can my story help others struggling with depression and mental illness?”, “Could I work for less money if I was able to help people?”. In my heart I know the answers, but unlike you do not yet have the courage to write my name on this post. I hope someday I can work with you as an activist or better yet this nation legalizes marijuana and we focus our efforts on other initiatives for the greater health and well being of the people.

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  11. Hi Cyd!

    I reside in California, worked for a Fortune 500 company, top producing sales representative (2014) and I was fired in January 2016, for MM. I have a serious medical condition (cervical neck fusion C4-7) as well as kidney problems. I have a very compelling message I would be honored to share with you. My recent progress might be helpful to your cause. Please reply back to me😀

33 THOUGHTS ON “MORE ABOUT ME”

 

  1. Cyd, you have my sympathy and full agreement with your very intelligent, reasonable view on marijuana use. I have been arguing this same point – alcohol is way more dangerous in every way than pot has ever been. Whoever heard of a person “high” on pot going on a rage-filled rampage? Of course, now the media is focusing on any story where a driver who crashed into someone else had pot in their system. But when you read further, other drugs (including alcohol) are usually present as well. Granted, one can smoke or ingest too much pot to be able to drive or do anything complicated (I’ve been there), and should not be behind the wheel under any circumstances because of it. While I haven’t used pot on a regular basis (I smoked it for the first time in Mexico a couple of years ago, after having not smoked since the 80’s!), I am all for the legalization and responsible use of it. I believe there is a lot of promise in the use of it medically. My husband suffered from Multiple Myeloma and had obtained a Medical Marijuana license in 2011 after talking with a friend who was getting great relief with it from his serious back problems. There was research showing that the oil produced from marijuana was actually reversing some cancers. The problem was that in 2011 there was no chance of getting that oil without the possibility of prison — it was highly illegal. We didn’t even know where to get pot — Beaverton’s few pot stores were closed down one by one because of “illegal practices”. I will never know if my husband might have benefited from the oil — I lost him in September of that year.

    The problem with marijuana is the fact that, even though you might have smoked it on a Friday night, on Monday morning when you return to work, it’s still in your system, and stays there for 7-10 days. They apparently didn’t think this through when they put the legislation through legalizing it. I’ve been saying this for some time — they need to come up with a test that can pinpoint exactly how much THC is in the system, and what the “acceptable” level is for the safe operation of a motor vehicle, or even machinery at the workplace. It’s almost like they are determined NOT to do this because the powers that be do not want this legalization to happen. There is no reason why you should’ve been fired. Anyone can have a fender bender, especially when they’re stressed and in a hurry to get somewhere! I’ve had one, and more than a few close calls, and I was stone-cold sober, other than my morning espresso.
    I’ve read different accounts of how and why marijuana became classified under the same category as heroin and other REALLY dangerous drugs. One of them is that, way back when cotton was king as far as fibers for clothing and other goods, hemp started getting very popular as an alternate fiber, and the cotton producers began getting very worried. They supposedly came up with a story about the dangers of the plant, and this grew into a huge deal about the deadly effects of using marijuana. Even Hollywood got into the picture (Reefer Madness, anyone?), even though I’ll bet a huge majority of them were potheads. The only reason was to outlaw the growing of hemp so that the cotton growers could continue making lots of money.

    It’s time we stop this nonsense. Although I don’t smoke it, I would like the ability to purchase edibles, because I’m developing painful arthritis in my fingers and a friend with a Medical Marijuana card let me try some salve containing cannabis on my fingers, and I got relief! So I’ll be off to my doctor to talk to her about getting a medical marijuana card so that I can legally get this stuff.

    Like anything else, there are those who just want to lie around and get high all the time. Just like there are alcoholics who want to drink all the time. Getting some thc level guidelines in place will weed out (ha – I made a funny) those people who shouldn’t be behind the wheel or operating dangerous equipment. For the rest, like you, it should stop the senseless overkill of punishing a reasonable and responsible user like you. Shame on them!

    Sorry for the long-winded diatribe, but I have been frustrated by this whole fiasco and it’s nice to vent. I wish you the best of success, and hope that you will find redemption from the senseless wrong that’s been done to you.

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  2. I always assumed one of the biggest obstacles to getting it legalized was a lack of a way to test if someone was high right now, at this very moment. Without such a test to give to people driving recklessly, a lot of politicians would rightfully be hesitant to open up such a messy new subject of legislation.

    However, now that a few states legalized it anyways, that test which was supposedly next to impossible to invent, supposedly has been already discovered by a college research group. I can’t find the link right now, and it’s also still in testing stages, but to have vast progress in just a few years shows you what the world of science is capable of when market and community demand is so dang high.

    Now that we (potentially) have our hands on such a testing device, I think you should try to use your platform to raise more awareness that such tests are already far in development, and use that as a way to tell politicians and anti-activists that arguably the biggest safety roadblock in the way to legalization has almost been entirely removed, which should make the choice to legalize a much easier choice to make now.

    Thanks for taking a stand and trying to catalyze the nation into an inevitable future a few months or years quicker than the pace it’s currently on.

    ///////

    Question 1: Can you provide links to research on how being high affects intelligence and logic? A popular topic in weed culture is how it makes you feel stupid and forgetful while high. While being drunk can get to those problematic levels as well, for the first many drinks, tipsy is more of an issue of having a body that won’t cooperate with your mostly normal brain. Whereas with weed it’s more of a binary, you’re either high, or you’re not, and when you are, you can’t figure out things like normal, you’re extremely forgetful, and the list goes on. Despite wanting it to be legalized for the sole reason that people should be able to have the responsibility to use it if they use it responsibly, I still have to admit that I’m worried what will happen when 100s of millions of people will be walking around in a stupid haze and not able to function on their normal levels in society. I would like to see research on just what exactly that diminished amount of IQ is while high. No study can be perfect in this area, but even a ballpark quantified estimation would help. When I’m high am I only 80% functional? 50%? How bad is it per ____ metric of weed? If we are going to be using is responsibly, we need more data (or to make previous data more public) showing exactly how careful we have to be when using weed.

    Question 2: This is not a popular opinion, but, I have never once driven drunk, but I can guarantee that even a very drunk me could drive more safely than even a mildly high me, and that’s scary to me. I’ve learned that weed in same doses as others use, it affects me far greater. While I’m not a scientist with a lab (and yes this is my anecdotal evidence so you should be hesitant to believe me), to me it’s still blatantly obvious that it hits me way harder than anyone else I’ve ever smoked/ingested with, which is why I almost never use it. Anything more than a little and it feels like what I would imagine a crazy peyote trip would be like, where I feel out of body and can’t even talk or hold a pencil. I’ve learned that my sister and mom both had similar extreme experiences and that both only did it once and then swore to never did it again, so I want to know if there Are there studies showing that some genetics process/interpret the chemicals differently? I know that with cilantro there’s an actual gene in the body that for some people the gene tells them to interpret it as a poison, and for the rest of the population it’s just another taste. Is there any evidence that some people feel more effects than others when smoking/ingesting the same amount of weed? Yes, I know there are indica and sativa varieties, and I’ve tried both, and both still made me feel almost insane. Despite still thinking it should be legalized, be aware that there are probably a lot of people like me out there who get freaked out when high in ways that aren’t similar paranoia, and on your road as an activist, once it continues to be legalized, be prepared to as a society deal with the incidents it will bring. While I don’t expect full on bath salt nude freakouts, if it’s legalized in every state, then I do expect NYC to have at least 5 people a day wandering around in the middle of traffic and not knowing what’s going on, and dying from it. I always side with citizens being able to make their own decisions so long as they don’t jeopardize the security of others, but in cases like this, it would likely cause harm to others. While I wholeheartedly agree it’s far, far safer than alcohol, please don’t also try to brand weed as 99.99% safe. It’s better than alcohol, but not perfect. Sorry for going a little off topic. Would love to hear your answers to both my questions. Thanks, and thanks for making your video/site!

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  3. Hi Cyd,
    I randomly ran across your blog today and I think its great that you are an advocate now. However, I would like to suggest that you stop advocating for marijuana and advocate for cannabis. Marijuana or marihuana is a racist and derogatory term conceived in the 1920’s. Marijuana is the plant that Mexican immigrants brought into the US to corrupt kids, make people lazy…etc. Cannabis is the actual name of the plant and speaks to the true nature of today’s professionally cultivated and regulated weed for adults only. Terminology is key as people have preconceived notions about particular words and just like how we’ve stopped using old ignorant/bigoted terms like mongoloid, we need to stop using marijuana.

    Other terminology issues to consider when discussing cannabis legalization:

    Calling for legalization of adult-use rather than recreational (eventhough this is what Colorado calls it). Soccer moms think their kids smoke recreationally so take the guessing game out of the equation: its for adults.

    People that smoke today are cannabis consumers (or patients on the medical side), not users. Most people associate the word user with hard drugs like heroin and their users. And, most people have strong negative opinions on hard drug users that you want to avoid when talking about the cannabis plant…. Adults consume cannabis just like we consume alcohol, mostly responsibly.

    —Also, I would have sent this privately, but I couldn’t find any other way to contact you.

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  4. One door closes another one opens. I believe you’ll be happier and find this more rewarding, you’ll be more successful and help more people than the media job. It does make me sad and very angry that you worked very hard and made sacrifices to attain your goals (I read your profile on LinkedIn and was very impressed but couldn’t connect ) I used marijuana to get off of opiates. I was taking Oxycontin (time release) 3 times a day and oxycodone in between for back pain. 2 years later I couldn’t stand taking the pills. ( about 150 200 mg/day) My whole life revolved around those pills. And once you body acclimates to the opiates it actually make your body more sensitive to pain. With the help of my Dr. and marijuana I got through it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t go through withdrawal however, it made it a lot easier. I was not going to be another government statistic going from pharmaceuticals (the real gateway drug) to heroin. There are senators who recently took action against Congress and demanded answers by 8/30 as to why they are blocking research and why the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are the only one ones allowed by federal law to grow marijuana and do research. They only research is what “harm” it could do. They make it up or “speculate”. Also I want to know why the US Government took a US Patent 6630507 titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services. This is what the patent states
    “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.” The patent was obtained on 10/2003.
    Why are we electing these self serving morons. Don’t believe me watch this (2 min) and go light up because you won’t believe what you hear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cesSRfXqS1Q.
    Then there’s the Shafer Commission brought to you by tricky Dick Nixon. Link to the report http://www.beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Nixon-Shafer.pdf.
    Thank you for taking the position you believe in and standing up for your rights as well as the rights of everyone.
    Keep up the good work!

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  5. We will be needing several reporters for our professional sports team in San Diego. I hope you will be available in several months when we are going to be hiring.

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  6. Sid, I read your story and I more than understand. I lost a job because they became aware that I was smoking on my own time and told me I could leave or they would fire me. Utter shock, I was 40 with many kids at home and boom, job over. I was in a terrible car accident and then a slip and fall, and have a 99 year old back. Cannibis has taken me from heavy medications every four hours for 15 years to none. Not one, I could tell you so much more, infertility and Cannibis, I would love to write your story or link your blog to my page.

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  7. Cyd –

    Sorry about your work situation. It is truly unfortunate and unfair. But I am proud of the way you have turned the situation around and used it for the greater good. I am the co-author of “Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink?” and also co-wrote and managed the campaign for Amendment 64, which made marijuana legal in Colorado in 2012. I also co-founded SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) in 2005 in order to educate the public about the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol. In your three-minute video, you managed to capture the exact spirit and tone of the work we have been doing for more than a decade.

    I continue to be very active in the movement to reform marijuana laws and would be very interested in talking to you about your budding activism. I would love to help in any way I can. Shoot me an email if you want to chat — steve@crcr.org will work.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Steve Fox

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  8. Hi,
    I haven’t had the time to ready all the other comments,
    but I would like to ask if you are going to have the company attorney that had to let you go,( for insurance reasons obviously), prove you were using on the day of the car accident? Because that seems to be the problem these days. I use to drive a big rig under my own business, but I knew sense I used marajuana, I was taking a big risk. All it would have taken was one careless driver to pull out in front of me and unavoidably get hurt or possibly worse , and I would be forced to test by the DOT and I would have either gone to prison for involuntary man slaughter or spent my life’s savings and my family’s too, just trying to prove that one simple question!!!
    Was I useing that day?
    Well there are test to tell the amount of THC that is in your system down to the nana-graham. And that is what it’s gonna take to save a lot of folks in your situation. Better testing, and people having the knowledge to ask for a more accurate test to be done. Just think, you could still have your job if it were up to the testing facilitater to prove how long it had been sense you had used!
    I guess that is what we need to be talking about next after legalization… PROPER TESTING for users.
    Anyway, I’m sorry to hear you lost a good job behind public ignorance. I know you aren’t the first and won’t be the last.
    Peace Mike C.

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  9. Hi, Cyd. What a bummer. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and your company (like most) don’t want the liability or stigma of having employees who are violators. Unfortunately, you were outed after having an accident in the company car while being on the job. That allowed for the drug test. While work accidents aren’t completely avoidable, those who drive for a living or are in dangerous occupations may not want to use. For those who enjoy using, maybe being an independent contractor or in a low accident-risk industry is a better choice. BTW- You are terrific and I wish you great success in your future endeavors!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How close was your testing and firing to Charlo Greene’s dramatic quitting of her job up in Alaska? Any chance they were afraid of something like that? It’d suck if one cannabis activist ended up accidentally screwing over another. In any event, good for you for taking such a public stance. And as talented as you are, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

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  11. I can’t believe they fired you. That’s horrible! I really enjoyed watching you on the news. The hypocrisy with demonizing cannabis and not alcohol is outrageous. Look at all the beer commercials on TV. They make it all look like fun, but they fail to show the violence, car accidents, deaths, bodily damage, etc…

    Everyone just seems to ignore how bad alcohol is in comparison because alcohol’s been legal for some time (so people just accept it as okay) and because of all the government propaganda. Reagan called it “The most dangerous drug in the world.” Really???

    Bet your bosses over there at KEZI have no problem drinking beer or wine. Again, hypocrites.

    Good luck, Cyd

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  12. I also understand the frustrations of being fired for some silly reason other than your competencies. I was fired from Tyco after an accident although I was on their fast track program for career advancement and never showed up to work under any influence.

    Congratulations on your efforts and following your passion. I am an engineer and also face the same struggles. I finally started my own business and I’ve been able to continue my work under my own testing guidelines lol…

    I wrote a book called “Chronic” by a pseudonym Peder Valentine, available on Amazon. It chronicles our exact struggle. If I can help in any way, please let me know.

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  13. Do what Americans do best, band together! The Cannabis Users Union is a new startup movement in Colorado gathering courageous heartened and open minded Cannabis users everywhere. We are setting out to replace outdated and discriminatory Cannabis drug screening with a better way to determine if an employee is impaired on the job. We show employers interested in making good financial decisions regarding employee safety and drug screening policies how easy it is to replace their ineffective outdated Cannabis drug screening practices with more accurate and sensible nondiscriminatory on-site impairment testing. This frees up nonessential positive Cannabis screening results (false flag positives) and creates an environment for adults 21 & over to use Cannabis (should they choose) on their time off. Meanwhile employers maintain the ranks of their skilled work force. It’s a win-win for employers and employees alike! cannabisusersunion.com. Join Us Today!

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  14. Cyd, let’s talk. Max Simon here, the founder of GreenFlowerMedia.com. We can help you tell your story on a much bigger scale. Look for an email from someone on my team. Thanks for stepping forward. Much love, Max

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    1. Hi Stephanie! I called you today. I’ve looked into Green Flower Media and I’m definitely interested in hearing more. I hope to hear back from you soon.

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  15. Cyd,
    I write occasionally for Freedom Leaf magazine, and they’ve asked me to do an interview with you for our next issue. I’d also like for you to be a guest on a radio show I host, Century Of Lies. Please email me at dougmcvay@gmail.com if you’re interested.
    Cheers,
    Doug

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  16. Hi Cyd,

    I just read a blog interview on you. Great interview and again you actually have millions who support you if they could really come out. I wanted to get this out to you. Check out this article at safeandsmartpolicy.org. Maybe you already know about it and I am sure you are overwhelmed with many things right now. This article really has so much to do with you and what you are standing up for. The article is “The Uneasy Case for Marijuana as Chemical Impairment Under a Science-Based Jurisprudence of Dangerousness.” It is a fact based study that really brings out the false perceptions that many people are assuming about cannabis users and driving and even relates exactly to employment laws. It promotes science-based studies which go against the prohibitionists thoughts. Hope it helps you and many others. Quite a read, but it makes a point that Corporate America and the politicians do not want people to know. God Bless.

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  17. Hello Cyd, thank you so much for fighting for change!
    I was just left go from a state job, because I tested positive for marijuana, I told my employers that I will be clean if they ever tested me again, but due to policy, there was nothing I could do. So I am asking you, How can I help! It is total discrimination to deny someone a job for doing something completely legal. Based on an test that detects can range from 7-100 days after use. I feel terrible, and no one else deserves to be treated like this! Is there any advocacy groups or could you point me in the right direction?

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    1. Hi Nathan! I’m so sorry to hear that happened to you. I would say one of the best things you can do is keep talking about your situation, and why you shouldn’t have lost your job. Knowledge is power, and sadly, so many are lacking the truth about cannabis. Many still hold a very negative stigma against those who consume cannabis, so it’s up to us to change their minds through education and exposure. That’s the only way we’re going to get the unfair laws and policies to change. I wish you the best of luck! Thanks so much for reaching out🙂

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  18. Hello Cyd and everybody, great subject, I am 62 yrs old have medial card I enjoy the weed choices, hard to believe tobacco products are still legal, and ok to get a job! my lady friend just quit smoking cigs after 38 yrs ! at 54 it is killing her! and drinks daily , ok to keep job, yet have a weed puff get caught $ 70,000 a year job gone, our system is ill , I may not see feds change law in my life time but it will! proud of you for speaking up at 25 years old, I was busted for weed 2 times 40 yrs ago, I have been waiting my lifetime for weed to be legal yeh!!

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  19. Good morning Cyd…
    I just read about your story this morning, and for one I’m sorry that happened to you! Obviously you demonstrated during your college and professional career that being a user of marijuana did not affect you abilities as a student and as a full-time employee. I have used marijuana in the past, and would prefer to use it again vs alcohol, but I also don’t want to lose my job if i were tested. I have chronic osteoarthritis pain in my knees from overuse during high school sports, and I also have glaucoma; both of which would benefit from me using marijuana. I work at a stressful job, and marijuana would help me relax after a long day, without the dangerous side effects of alcohol. I work in a facility as a nurse where I take care of elderly patients, but I also take care of patients my age and younger who have had their lives destroyed by alcohol use; including but not limited to severe liver cirrhosis, kidney problems and brain damage where they can’t function without 24-hour care. I hope someday there will be someone or some people with big enough balls and also the brains to realize that marijuana laws are inept, and that marijuana use offers far fewer problems than alcohol. Count me as one of your supporters! My state of Minnesota has finally legalized medicinal marijuana, but it sounds as if a person needs to be near deaths door to obtain use. Drew

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  20. Hi, and I read,,,not sure the actual title but there has been talk in legal circles of exactly what happened to you cannot be prosecuted for a test showing positive results for “cannabanoids” as the effects did not in certain cases cause the accident as the metabolites or…forget the chemical term are still in the body but did not cause the accident but because of policy of where you worked, was company vehicle and the test showed that — but legally cannot prosecute/punish you for that…but I bet you already went into all the legal aspects of that action…interesting article. Glad to hear someone of your accomplishments, degree, work etc and voice and striving for change, education and empowerment of getting the real legal and scientific news out there of truths and not stigmas.

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  21. A little hypocrisy: My husband did 2 tours in Iraq, & has severe ptsd. He now works with the VA (veterans affairs) hes a therapist for other vets on their own ptsd. 4 out of 5 days he comes homes stressed if not from his own ptsd, then from his clients own ptsd. In the past, on these stressful days, I have offered him a smoke when he got home, to help him sleep. He said it worked & he felt better. But out of fear of drug tests & loosing his job he has stopped all together. So now my husband comes home, is up all night (bc of nightmares), only to go back to a vicious cycle of stressed at work, stressed at home and exhausted at work the next day. This is the biggest load of hypocrisy that I have ever witnessed. My husband helps other vets with their issues and he’s not allowed to have cannabis to help himself. No instead all that he’s allowed to have is anti-depressants (bc that’s not a drug right!?!) Anyways Cyd, please keep doing what your doing, a lot of people need this stigma & hypocrisy to be over already! Thanks for all your work!

THE FIRST TIME I BOUGHT LEGAL MARIJUANA IN OREGON

purchase momentOn October 1st, along with thousands of others around the state, I purchased legal marijuana in Oregon for the first time ever! If you’re not sure how to react to this, let me just say… YOU SHOULD BE CELEBRATING! Even if you don’t consume cannabis, there are many reasons you should be happy there is now a legal system in place for those who do.

Why? Because marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol. Because marijuana prohibition has failed, and has wasted millions of dollars with zero success. Because now Oregon will actually benefit from sales that have long been diverted to the black market. Because now Oregon law enforcement agencies will have more time to focus on keeping communities safe, by stopping real, dangerous crimes. Because too many people have had their lives ruined for simply possessing a plant. These are people who could have had futures, could have contributed to society, could have added to the economy, but have instead ended up in the cycle of the system, and have in turn become more of a burden than they were before.

Right now, buying legal cannabis is a news story – but I canThe Greener Sidenot tell you how much I am looking forward to the day that saying, “I bought a gram of Multnomah Coma from The Greener Side in Eugene,” is treated the same as saying, “I just bought a fifth of tequila from a liquor store in Eugene.” Even though both of these things are now legal, they are not at all treated equally. (Trust me, I know.)

The reality is, cannabis is safer than alcohol, and it’s less of a burden on society. So, if you’re comfortable with liquor stores, with beer gardens, and with vineyard wine tastings, you should be welcoming legal marijuana sales with open arms.

Thagot it!nk you to everyone who worked so hard to get Measure 91 on the ballot and passed! I am so thankful for all of your tireless effort! There are still things to work on when it comes to full equality, but today was historic and a major step in the right direction. Now that more people have the
ability to buy legal cannabis, more people will be exposed and educated to the realistic effects of the plant. The social acceptance of cannabis use is inevitable, and days like today just reinforce my belief in that statement.

OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR CHANGE

I just wanted to take a quick minute to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has reached out to me.

I have been so overwhelmed! I think the outpouring of support just shows how important it was for me to share my story – because obviously it struck a chord with a lot of people.

I’d like to reiterate that none of my former coworkers are the issue here, it’s the policy.

As I said in my first video, those who worked with me every day trusted me and supported me. The decision to fire me was out of their hands – and came from a corporate attorney who had never even met me.

And that is precisely the problem. Companies should not have to live in fear of being held liable for an employee caught with small amounts of inactive THC in their system.

I was completely sober every day that I reported to work, and that’s what should matter.

I’m simply pointing out that if employees are allowed drink in their free time, it’s only logical that they have the option to use marijuana in their free time – because it’s a safer alternative.

That’s my message, and that’s why I’m speaking out – to draw attention to the unfair double standard.

WHY COMING OUT OF THE CANNABIS CLOSET WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT

About two weeks ago I explained to the world “How I Went from being a Local News Anchor to a Marijuana Activist.” After years of hiding, I came out of the cannabis closet, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

Before telling my story, my mind was filled with every possible hypothetical. I spent hours wondering and worrying about what would happen after clicking “post” – but the incredible reaction I received was beyond what I could have ever imagined.I’m not saying it’s been easy, but it’s already been very freeing and extremely rewarding.

I believe more driven, ambitious, and responsible cannabis users should draw attention to themselves, if at all possible. It’s the only way to shift social views away from the senseless stereotypes currently associated with recreational cannabis use. If you’re considering it, here are:

3 Things I’ve Learned from Coming Out of the Cannabis Closet:

1) The Response is Overwhelmingly Positive…

I have been truly amazed by how many people have contacted me and thanked me for coming out of the cannabis closet. Thanked me. Thousands have seen my video, thousands have visited my website, and hundreds have written to me personally. Of those personal, private messages – almost all have been positive. Some of the notes have moved me to tears and every single one has just reinforced my mission to end the stigma surrounding cannabis use. There is no reason why millions of responsible adults should feel like second-class citizens for enjoying cannabis, a plant safer than alcohol, tobacco, and most pharmaceuticals.

The positive response shows that many people support cannabis use, yet it remains illegal in most of the country, and even where it’s legal, there is still a negative stigma. Every message I read just encourages me more to continue this fight for acceptance.

2) …but Haters Gonna Hate

Of course, as with anything that is seen by thousands of people, some will find reasons to be negative. Personal messages have been almost entirely supportive, but comments on various websites have certainly been mixed. I wanted to start a conversation, so I’m up for a reasonable debate on why cannabis use should be socially acceptable, but I try not to waste my time on people who aren’t willing to listen to facts and research. I did not appreciate the blatant sexism and personal attacks I received on my character, but when people resorted to cruelty, I tried not to take it to heart. It’s not easy to grin and bear it, but it helps that the haters have been outnumbered by a ratio of about 15 to 1.

If you’re nervous about people judging you, just realize that every time a responsible adult comes out of the cannabis closet, it gets a little easier for the next person who wants to take the leap. Don’t let the haters hold you back!

3) It was Totally Worth it

Comments that clearly misinterpret my message have been disheartening, but they have also resulted in something incredible: a dialogue. That’s exactly what I wanted to happen and I’ve been so impressed by countless strangers who have kept the conversation going. I’ve appreciated all the compassion, willingness to stand up for me, and well-developed arguments, complete with citations and research. My story is getting people to talk about the facts, and I know the facts are in my favor.

Because of the facts, the social acceptance of cannabis use is inevitable, but it is only possible if people take a stand. The more we educate and expose people to the truth about cannabis, the faster social change will come. If you can talk about your cannabis use, think about the difference you can make. Education and exposure are key. So far, coming out of the cannabis closet has been totally worth it.

You can follow my journey out of the cannabis closet here, atwww.AskMeAboutMarijuana.com, and stayed tuned for future articles on Marijuana Politics.

WHY CANNABARS & WEDDINGS GO TOGETHER LIKE LOVE & MARRIAGE

wedding pictureAs I wrote in a recent blog for Marijuana Politics, with the legalization of marijuana in several state, engaged couples have one more option to consider in the mix of wedding planning: “Should we have a Cannabar?”

You may have seen recent headlines circulating about a wedding in West Linn, Oregon offering an open Weed Bar(!) to guests. Because legalization just took effect in Oregon on July 1, the idea of providing marijuana to wedding guests is still very new, but I believe cannabis-friendly weddings will inevitably become the new norm for modern nuptials. I believe this for a lot of reasons, but the main reason is simply because many people enjoy using marijuana in social settings. We will only see cannabis bars at more and more weddings and other social events as marijuana becomes more mainstream in Oregon and across the country.

Portland’s KGW Channel 8 News interviewed the couple in West Linn and wrote an articledetailing the positive experience they had with their open weed bar, reporting:

The legalization of pot in Oregon has couples considering weed bars at their weddings.

“We were shocked by how much people loved it,” said groom John Elledge of his recent reception. “I’m still getting a couple of texts a day from guests who enjoyed the weed tent.”

If you look at the facts, the reaction the couple received should be no surprise. Based on a National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2013 there were 19.8 million current marijuana users. Clearly, people are using marijuana, and many people enjoy it. If legal cannabis is offered to adult wedding guests, odds are many will enjoy the opportunity to consume it. KGW went on to write:

Elledge, who describes himself as a professional marijuana grower, seems pleased to be a pioneer.

“Even an 81-year-old woman who hadn’t smoked weed since the ’60s came into the tent at our wedding,” he said. “Though skeptical at first she ended up loving it.”

And right there is a perfect example of the power of exposure. The main reason I felt the need to come out of the cannabis closet was to expose people to the truth about cannabis and its positive effects. I was a local news anchor who was fired for using marijuana in my personal time, and my story really shook some people’s perception of me. Rather than changing their positive opinion of me, I thought sharing my story could help change people’s negative opinion of cannabis consumers. So far, I’ve been right.

The growing trend of “Cannabars” at wedding will expose more people to responsible adult cannabis use. This trend will hasten the acceptance of marijuana use.

Imagine showing up at your cousin Brenda’s wedding and lighting up a joint for the first time with Aunt Sally! Aunt Sally could change her mind about marijuana and then go back to her friends in rural Oregon and tell them about her positive experience with cannabis. Maybe those friends each tell a couple people, and soon Aunt Sally’s small town is a little more open-minded to legal marijuana.

Another major positive to having weed at weddings? Consuming cannabis is safer than consuming alcohol. Whether it’s a full-on open bar with hard liquor or just champagne for one toast – it’s almost expected to provide your wedding guests with some form of alcoholic beverage.

Knowing the dangers of alcohol, why not provide a safer alternative? They are your loved ones after all. Wouldn’t you rather them consume cannabis, something that causes less harm, is less addictive, and can’t kill them?

With the facts the way they are, I don’t think it will take very long for more people to see the benefits of providing guests with marijuana. If you’re within the law, consider having a weed tent at your next big event! You might be surprised who enjoys it, and more importantly, those who enjoy it might even surprise themselves.

SEPTEMBER 2ND TALK ON EMPLOYEE DRUG TESTING IN BELLINGHAM, WA

Tomorrow evening, September 2nd, I’ll be giving a talk on employee drug testing in Bellingham, Washington. I’ll be discussing my story, my journey as a cannabis activist so far, and why current drug testing policies need to change.

If you’d like to hear me speak and learn more about this hot-button issue, I’d love to see you there. Here’s the link to the Facebook event, sponsored by 2020 Solutions, with more details!

“The television reporter whose firing after a drug test sparked outrage throughout the country will tell her story and discuss how unfair such tests are for many. Admission is free! Cyd Maurer is formerly the morning weekend anchor at KEZI in Eugene, Ore.”

Hope to see you there!

SEATTLE HEMPFEST: MY FIRST EVENT AS NEWS ANCHOR TURNED CANNABIS ACTIVIST

Less than a month after coming out of the cannabis closet, I found myself a part of the world’s largest annual gathering centered around cannabis: Seattle Hempfest. After several years of working as a local news reporter and anchor and hiding my cannabis use at all costs, I was suddenly speaking to hundreds of people about exactly that.

Calling my Hempfest experience surreal would be an understatement. Being my first-ever cannabis-related event, it was pretty great being thrust into the mix.

Starting with the VIP Party Friday night, I quickly realized I was surrounded by history-makers in the legal marijuana movement. I saw and met a number of noteworthy people, including fellow Eugene resident, Elvy Musikka.

Believe it or not, Elvy receives legal marijuana from the Federal Government, and has since 1988. (And she’s not alone, three other people are also still a part of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program.) Elvy is living with glaucoma and fought for the right to use medical cannabis. In the end, she won, and has been smoking government-rolled marijuana cigarettes ever since.

I had never heard Elvy’s story before, and it was humbling. Being around her and all the other activists made me feel very grateful. It was the 24th Annual Seattle Hempfest, and I am 25 years old. To think that many of the people I met and talked with have been fighting for cannabis for my entire life, or longer, just encouraged me to continue to push for the changes that they’ve made possible.

When I spoke on the main stage, the message of my speech was if you can talk about cannabis… you should talk about cannabis, because exposing people to the truth about the plant is the only way to bring about social and political change.

That has been my message from the beginning, but I’ve only been able to share it because of what people before me have accomplished. People like Keith Stroup, the founder of NORML, were instrumental in getting us this far, and at Hempfest, suddenly he was shaking my hand. He walked up to me after I spoke, introduced himself and complimented me on my message. What an incredible moment.

Without the sacrifices of many people like Elvy and organizations like NORML, I would not have been able to speak out. Being around them reinforced my drive to fight for the acceptance of cannabis use and I was honored to be on a panel with other advocates, speaking out against the unfair discrimination that the cannabis community faces today. I hope that I will be part of the generation of activists that puts an end to marijuana prohibition on a global level. Seattle Hempfest was my first cannabis-related event, but it certainly won’t be my last.

HEMPOSIUM PANEL AT SEATTLE HEMPFEST: CANNABIGOTRY & WHY WE’RE STILL FIGHTING

Seattle Hempfest was my first-ever cannabis related event after getting fired as a local news anchor for using marijuana. I was the victim of cannabigotry and after coming out with my story, I was invited to speak about my experience on a panel among some pretty impressive people. The panel took place on the Ric Smith Hemposium Stage and was titled: Cannabigotry: We Legalized, Why Are We Still Fighting?

Each speaker was asked to define cannabigotry as they understood it. I define cannabigotry as treating someone differently simply because they use cannabis. In my experience, I lost my job as a local news anchor for using marijuana in my free time, even though I would have kept my job had I chosen to use alcohol and pharmaceuticals. To me, that is a perfect example of cannabigotry: I was punished for using a safer substance than the socially accepted vices.

In the picture below you can see the rest of the panel included Charlo Greene, a fellow former news anchor whose story went viral when she quit live on the air to focus on legalizing marijuana in Alaska; Stephanie Viskovich, a medical marijuana activist in Washington State; Allison Holcomb, the leader of Washington State’s I-502 marijuana legalization campaign; and Leland Berger, a longtime Oregon cannabis advocate andattorney. Needless to say, I was very honored to be at the same table as these experienced activists.

I really enjoyed the discussion because we all brought very different ideas into the conversation. Mine and Charlo’s stories have a lot of parallels, but one of the examples she brought up about cannabigotry had nothing to do with employee rights. Her example had to do with cities within Alaska trying to block marijuana legalization less than a week after the majority of Alaskans voted Measure 2 into law.

Oregon is experiencing the same thing right now, and it is very disheartening. I really appreciated that Charlo made this point because it is yet another example of why social change needs to come first. The only way laws and policies are going to continue to change for the better is if people are exposed to the truth about cannabis.

Stephanie Viskovich was clearly passionate about the rights of medical marijuana patients in the state of Washington. She spoke about the cannabigotry they’ve experienced before and after recreational legalization in Washington. Allison Holcomb spoke about the racial history of cannabigotry, saying that the system has been set in place to fundamentally hold back minorities. And Leland Berger was able to give a very experienced look at the matter from his work as a trial attorney. He’s seen cannabigotry play out in real life time and time again, and his opinion was powerful.

Everyone brought examples of cannabigotry to the table. While this made for great discussion, it also really shows that the initial question that the panel proposed, We Legalized, Why Are We Still Fighting? is still a necessary and continuing discussion. While marijuana is legal in Oregon and a handful of other states, it seems like the battle to true freedom is still being fought.

Throughout the panel, I continued to voice my opinion that the most important thing for change is to keep talking about it. Keep talking about marijuana, its effects, and its many uses. Every time I made this point, it seemed as though everyone on the panel agreed. Regardless of our different viewpoints, it is glaringly clear that the conversation must continue.

At the end of the panel, Leland Berger said: “I want to end on a very positive note. If you’re 35 or younger, 80% of you get it on social issues. If you’re a young person, you’re going to be okay.” Leland is right. The vast majority of young people, and many others, agree that responsible adults should be able to live their lives the way they want to. It’s time to stop being the silent majority. Once again, if you can speak up, you should.