Let’s make this very clear from the start: I am as white as white gets and I acknowledge all of the privilege that comes with that. Yes, I’m female and that’s a place where privilege tends to fall flat, but — I’m white, in my 30s, self-employed, middle class with some upper class trappings, married to a corporate white dude, a son and a daughter, all citizens long descended from settlers. I mean, I am writing a blog about my foray into recreational and medicinal cannabis use — I’m fucking privileged.
I have never faced consequences for my use of cannabis even before it was legal. I ran from campus security (or the cops? I don’t know) once — and they basically scattered us and carried on, because we were a crowd of white girls in a university town. I’ve run no risk of losing my kids, netting criminal charges, or even really facing stigma.
Legalization is something that, in theory, is very exciting because yay, we are all equal in the eyes of the law. But there’s more to it than that. Historically, BIPOC (Black/Indigenous People of Colour) have faced much higher rates of punishment, incarceration, and life-ruining over drugs — even drugs like cannabis, even in small amounts.
As with much of everything else in this world I am not an expert, but I believe in intersectionality and I can’t be all too excited about cannabis for women when women of colour have faced repercussions for the same cannabis use that’s a joke, an identity, or a hobby for white people like me.
I’m encouraged to hear that the government is likely offering amnesty for simple possession, but I think that that is only the start of what can be done to even the playing field, so to speak.
There is more information about cannabis legalization and amnesty, and its racism-related roots in this article. I encourage all who are excited about legalization to consider whatever privilege they may have, whether it’s the privilege to have used cannabis illegally without jail time, the privilege to have the funds and credit card to buy legal recreational cannabis, the privilege to have an address to which that cannabis can be sent, or the privilege to shrug off any stigma that sticks around. I’m working to acknowledge that privilege and see what I can do to use that privilege to better cannabis access and usage for everyone.