I dare to say that being a marijuana activist is unlike any other profession. It is extremely difficult to understand what the activist goes through and the frustrations that comes along with such a profession. It amazes me when people think that being a marijuana activist is a cool job. These people may think that all the marijuana activist does is sit on the couch and smoke joints all day! This couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that it is a very difficult career choice that can take a severe emotional toll. Here are 5 things you might not know about being a marijuana activists:
1. There will Never be a Shortage of Sad Stories in the Marijuana Movement.
It’s the very reason why we do what we do, but it certainly takes a toll. The list of debilitating medical conditions that marijuana treats more effectively and safer than pharmaceuticals goes on and on. These patients with conditions like epilepsy, cancer, PTSD, leukemia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and much more are counting on you to do your job right. One thing that all these different patients have in common is that they all have suffered way more than they should. Constantly hearing sad stories, like these patients all have, can take a toll on you emotionally; however, it also acts as motivation to keep fighting. The marijuana activist cannot stop till these people find relief.
2. It can be Difficult to Differentiate the Greedy from the Compassionate at Times.
The marijuana movement has come a long way. Rising out of the nonconformist movement of the 60’s to what it is today, one thing is for sure, the marijuana industry is going to be the next big industry in America. People are lining up and down the block to cash in on “The Green Rush”. With all the hype it is important for activists to remain grounded and remember why the business exists in the first place. The welfare of the patients and the protection of the rights of all responsible users!
3. We Work Crazy Hours.
True marijuana activists show more passion than I have ever seen before. These people basically spend all their time scrambling to find new ways to spread awareness for their cause. Whether planning an event, talking to the media, influencing legislatures, or just talking to the guy behind them in line at the local coffee shop about marijuana. The activist is always working! I can guarantee you that there is little time spent on the couch playing Xbox and eating Cheetos like one might think! At the core the activist is trying to alleviate the patients suffering. Who has time to rest when you are alleviating suffering? I know that I am no stranger to working 60-80 hours a week. We do this with pride and passion!
4. Sooner or Later, Someone is Going to Mistake You for a Hippie.
It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter if you have three Bachelor’s degrees and a Master’s in Business Administration. It doesn’t matter that you shower and comb your hair every morning. It doesn’t matter your political views. If you love capitalism and could never live in a commune. Or if you don’t really listen to the Beatles or the Grateful Dead. Some ignorant people are going to look at you as a hippie and will only see you as a filthy stoner! This is very frustrating!
5. We are Constantly Frustrated.
Our life is constantly filled with frustration. Whether it’s the long hours, the ignorance of the opposition, dealing with difficulty of influencing legislation, or comforting suffering patients it sometimes seems to never stop. This is simply a byproduct of trying to be an influence for change. Change takes time and unfortunately this is time that many patients do not have the luxury to afford.
None the less, being a marijuana activist is an important job, and it can certainly be a rewarding one as well. I am not trying to complain about my profession, I couldn’t imagine spending my time doing anything else. However, it is important that people know the truth. Emotions run high in this movement and there always seems like you could be doing more for the cause! The marijuana movement is far from a collection of stoners and potheads. It’s filled with patients with debilitating conditions, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and medical professionals. All of which are working tirelessly for reform and relief for the patients!
By: Carlos Jose Angel Hermida, M.B.A.
Central Florida NORML, Deputy Director