Stigma-Foisters part 1: Mark Haden

CANNABIS CULTURE – Stigma: noun, plural stigmata 

  1. a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.

Foist: verb (used with object)

  1. to force upon or impose fraudulently or unjustifiably (usually followed by on or upon):

to foist inferior merchandise on a customer.

  1. to bring, put, or introduce surreptitiously or fraudulently (usually followed by in or into):

to foist political views into a news story.

This is first in a series of articles about people who at one time were cannabis activists but have repeatedly shown their true colors. Basically, if you treat cannabis like a hard drug, you can justify exclusivity and cartels and monopolies. Some of these people see themselves operating within these new pot economies, and know that if they parrot the party line, they will be rewarded sooner or later with a position within the cartel. All these people know better – or should know better – that cannabis is a soft drug and the economy belongs to everyone.

Part 1: Mark Haden

Mark Haden is a professor at the University of British Columbia who specializes in drug policy and who has published in the “Harm Reduction Journal” and is familiar with the concept of harm reduction in relation to cannabis. He’s also the Executive Director of MAPS Canada – the lead organization of Canadian psychonauts. He has his own website and is quite active in drug-peace circles.

He’s a very nice fellow in person, and I like him a lot, but he keeps making statements to the media that make me cringe. His latest came from CTV news.

In this interview, Haden was quoted as saying;

“We don’t want to criminalize it. We don’t want to promote it. We want to make it boring,” he said. “We do not make it boring with advent calendars.”

Haden also expressed concern over the risk of appealing to kids.

“It’s reasonable to assume that advent calendars will be opened by children,” he added. “That is not a good idea.”

Firstly, Haden should know that young children can’t even get high – not until they’ve developed their CB1 receptors, which begins to happen between the ages of 10 and 14 years old.

See also the article on pediatrics in the photo gallery. Secondly, it isn’t a problem for teens to get access to cannabis. Teens aren’t suffering any harm from cannabis. They’re certainly not becoming more crazy or more stupid from using it.

The major problems teens face are suicide, drunk driving, and drug and alcohol overdoses – cannabis is part of the solution to the major problems teens are dying from.

The problem that Mark Haden has before him is that there’s a massive campaign to make cannabis into a hard drug that’s inherently harmful to young users … and then there’s the truth. Mark has chosen to ignore the truth and foist stigma, because stigma foisters usually possess status and prestige and are counting on nobody calling them on their BS.

Teens need cannabis to manage their very typical stress and depression that results from just being a teen – cannabis is the best medicine for those who experience chronic teen-agedness, having been proven the best medicine for stress and depression throughout history.

Cannabis is safer than all the synthetic anti-depressants, ADHD meds and alcohol

We pot activists who are fighting for the truth – and the inclusive market that would result if the truth were admitted – know that cannabis is a soft drug – softer than coffee beans – and that regulations should reflect that.

I think everyone needs to take part in calling out these stigma foisters. Please participate in my social media campaign and circulate this far and wide. The rest of you – and you know who you are – you’re all on notice. The moment you go for the money – sell out – and lie about cannabis being a hard drug worthy of tight regulations, me and the true pot activist community will call you on it. This is only part one of a series of articles.

Friendship and solidarity is important, but not as much as ending truly harmful behavior.

Lying about cannabis destroys the lives of those who cannot afford to jump through all the hard-drug hoops the stigma is used to justify. Lying about cannabis threatens millions of teens all over the world with continued punishment, and poor farmers and gardeners all over the world with continued persecution. Stigma increases the likelihood of the genocide of the medically autonomous. The victims of stigma continue to pile up in Canadian jails and prisons, and even worse things that jail in countries like the Philippines, China and Saudi Arabia. Stigma allows industrial hemp to continue to be over-regulated, threatening all human life with climate destabilization. Stigma is real, it’s serious, and it must stop.

David Malmo-Levine