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Ganjapreneuring or weeding out the capitalists?

recently, standing in line to pay at a health food store, i noticed a magazine with headlines  “up in smoke: female ‘ganjaprenuers’ are taking Colorado’s newly legal weed biz by storm”.

first, ‘preneurs’ is misspelt, and i’ve even seen [in the nytimes i believe] that some are spelling the new word like this gangapreneurs, which is equally incorrect, since ‘ganga’ is the river ganges, considered to wash away sins and bring on moksha or liberation from the cyle of life and death. then again, some might say it does “free” you from life and death, if only for a moment. that way, they experience several mokshas on earth. but, that aside, it is borderline absurd to read that the women behind the weed biz are ‘young ambitious female’ and calling that a new brand of feminism. how would that change or benefit women’s lives across the board?

cannabrand – the advertisement agency which is promoting marijuana headed by these young college educated females – wishes to show the world that normal, professional, successful people consume cannabis. no more rastafari doping up or jamaican students selling weed to pay their living expenses at university or riffraffs at street corners getting high instead of going to school or those men who get busted by plainclothes police officers for selling weed? instead, nothing like zee “french” to infuse sophistication into something previously seen as mundane, like tango performed in brothels in argentina, which became high art once it hit parisian feet. the women behind the weed biz are calling themselves “cannabis sommeliers” and have hooked on to the green rush to de-stigmatize pot of its stoner stigma. they’re saying ‘cannabis’ instead of ‘pot’. ‘consume’ instead of ‘smoke’. ‘product’ instead of ‘marijuana’. but, no matter how you disguise weed or try to infuse it with sophistication a la french, a weed is a weed is a weed, the same way that a rose, by any other name, is a rose. the euphemisms are merely an effort to make ganja more appealing, like they’ve done with e cigarette; the e weed , like the e-cig, slides into a purse or wallet. cannabrand has even rolled out a yoga class called vape and vinyasa, and is currently working on an app so “consumers” could order online and skip lines. amazon and opentable for weed.

the aim of these female self proclaimed connoisseurs is to bring smoking weed from behind closed doors. besides misrepresenting feminism for ‘all’ women, they’ve also neglected a huge sector of american society, who likes to try new things or are under pressure to try new things by friends. how will this sector- teens and kids – play out in this new freedom to smoke weed and get doped in the long run? these faux feminists have not asked themselves, nor each other, whether making weed less stigmatized will remove the harmful result, especially for teens.

is this society is one for adults only? the majority of ‘adult’ americans support legalization efforts in alaska, oregon, dc, colorado and are in the process of exercising ballot measures. these adults who crave “coming out” from behind closed doors must rethink the effects that legalization and ‘prettifying’ weed will have on teens and kids. when alcohol is banned for the under 17 group, why wouldn’t pot? if alcohol and cigarettes are legal for adults, why are they illegal for the under 17 crowd? when i studied psych 101 for education majors at nyu, i remember my professor talking about the habit forming effects of caffeine, pot and nicotine in the long run on students’ brain. many who’ve smoked pot know that it zombifies some with heavy use, and that it can change personalities from just a few years use. we adults who push legalization ought to entertain the notion that mass marketing of weed will breed chickens which will come home to roost in the future, as we’ve seen with guns and alcohol in the hands, mouths, blood and brain of kids and teens. “legal” CAN and DOES cause harm.

while older adults generally demonstrate higher levels of new knowledge than younger americans, we know that things that aren’t instgrammable or tweetable etc will not catch our kids’ and teens’ attention. this ‘read-and-see-only-generation’ with attention spans as short as allowable tweets, doesn’t read anything thoroughly; only headlines. our kids are not hearing about the new developments as they arise, because they don’t read that sort of news. when new developments do arise, they’re filtered down through the vine each time, especially by those who don’t see weed as a future danger and who tend to say any new news in a different way to make it more acceptable or palatable, whether consciously or unconsciously. imagine putting new developments about weed on twitter and Facebook or any medium. who’s going to read anything longer than two sentences? as adults, we’ve learnt to go to the source, but teens and kids won’t, and don’t do that in this social mediated world. and kids in the US, for whom peer pressure is everything, particularly so.

another problem with this legalization of pot is in the numbers: if you consider the fact that ganjapreneurs are selling weed twice or thrice as much means they’re only looking for big profits. this modern day capitalism once again neglects the danger to teens as well as to those who don’t believe in legalizing or making this substance acceptable. and yes, it is a plant and can be medicinal, but so is coca leaves which kills and is highly illegal.

but, by far the most blaring misconception about this new feminism and ganjapreneuring is its racist and discriminatory agenda: when young black men sell weed they are dealers and do jail time. when young white women do the same, they are entrepreneurs [or ganjapreneurs] and we read in articles how ‘clever’ they are. but, clever in this sense needs a qualifier, like ‘clever in capitalism’ or ‘clever in business’.

the legalization rush doesn’t seem to be in society’s best interest as one observer (Michael magnotta in nytimes) notes: do we really need to pair marijuana use with going to the symphony, studying painting or doing yoga? and if that occurs, we may soon have students majoring in ganja-induced painting or music and walking around with green mats on the streets and subways on their way to do ‘high’ yoga or yoga when high.


2 Comments

  1. evwoods says:

    Dearest Chandra, my longtime friend, I really appreciate your article, but I have to say, I disagree with you on most of your arguments on this issue. Alcohol and marijuana are not the same, nor are the long term effects (you might want to back up your statements with more science); also drug arrests for marijuana disproportionately target young men of color who are locked up for years because of possessing a minute amount of marijuana and this has created an underclass of incarcerated people in this country. changing drug laws, especially re marijuna gives us a chance at tackling this profound structural racism. you should also look at how profits from the sale of marijuana in some states has gone to public education. finally, i would much rather a youth smoke a joint once in a while than get drunk, pass out, and have something horrible happen to her/him… I wish I could write more but have to get back to work. I think of you often. gros bisous. Eva

    • thanks chere eva for the comment. I appreciate feedback, and yours is especially appreciated. I don’t mean to suggest that marijuana and alcohol are the same, but those who say it’s benign are all speaking as adults or as adults looking back at when they smoked pot in high school. interesting that weed proceeds fund education; i’m thinking of a friend who worked for Phillip Morris all her life, and who had to suddenly find a job because PM turned around when lung cancer studies and research erupted and they started to make clothes I think, and I wonder if, like pm, this funding de emphasizes its role in making weed marketable for teens. treating a deficiency but feeding it, too. and I think it is fine for a adult to make his/her own decision to smoke but for a child’s undeveloped or developing brain that can prove to be harmful. while it’s touted as being much safer than tobacco im not sure it’s completely harmless. again, I stress for kids as we have kids and know of their habits to put things off. I did a quick search [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2794698/] and found that contemporary adult culture accepts the notion that marijuana is a ‘safe, recreational’ drug. as marijuana became more freely available to adults, its use by adolescents soon began to increase. this trend has been monitored over the past three decades, generating numerous scientific papers from many different cultures, and each reporting very similar results. there are a few short term studies which have indicated that marijuana ingestion may impair certain cognitive functions and aspects of physical activities such as driving a vehicle, lack of motivation, declining academic performance, chronic absenteeism and leaving school early are well-recognized clinical presentations, which I recall that prof saying during my class. but other side effects among chronic users of marijuana could also include depression, multiple substance abuse, dietary dysfunction and family conflict. the same article suggest that marijuana, along with alcohol and tobacco, has become a gateway drug and its use can be associated with sexually transmitted diseases, unsafe sex practices and other risky behaviors in adolescents. my blog seeks to challenge the notion that marijuana is a benign product or that it offers a ‘safe, recreational’ activity, ESPeCIALLY for teens. as a mother and hearing what other mothers are saying to me, or not saying, or avoiding to say, i’m concerned about the physical and psychological dependency-promoting characteristics and the addictive potential that chronic marijuana use could cause among our adolescents if it becomes legal. its easy access or overuse could become the next trend which we see in the film “men, women and children”.
      and i, too, would prefer a youth drink and pass out, but what if s/he doesn’t pass out and drives or does something stupid as alcohol disinhibits, or being high makeshim/her feel invulnerable or oblivious to danger?

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