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A brief look into today’s marijuana culture and legalization


But Then I Got High

By Meghan Tibbits, Staff Writer

“I was gonna clean my room — until I got high/ I was gonna get up and find the broom — but then I got high/My room is still messed up and I know why (Yeah, hey!)/ Because I got high, because I got high, because I got high.”

Those lyrics may seem silly at first, but the American rapper Afroman’s hit single, Because I Got High, actually offers some thoughtful social commentary. In the modern world, it isn’t only modern pop-culture that’s filled with marijuana references; even politicians have decided to partake in the conversation.

But exactly how educated is the average Canadian about marijuana culture?  The media seems to present us with a variety of stereotypes, leaving little room for more nuanced individual opinions. Afroman is just one example of this.

In light of these generalizations, Arbitrage Magazine decided to sit down with two self-proclaimed “stoners” in order to find out exactly what they want the public to know about marijuana culture. For understandable reasons, these two Ottawa students agreed to do the interview on the condition of anonymity.

ME, A “STONER”??

Their residence features a Bob Marley lava lamp and posters of the ska punk band Sublime. A large bong sits on the coffee table. The bookshelves are home to a multitude of university textbooks, spanning from political science to Greek to philosophy and everything in between.

That is a detail that our interviewees made sure to clarify. They are not stoners first and foremost; they are also students, brothers, employees, and much more. “When somebody asks me who I am, I don’t say I’m a stoner. If I said I wasn’t I would be lying, but it’s definitely not one of the first things I would describe myself as.”

[pullquote]“When somebody asks me who I am, I don’t say I’m a stoner. If I said I wasn’t I would be lying, but it’s definitely not one of the first things I would describe myself as.” [/pullquote]

The students describe a stoner as a person who buys and smokes marijuana habitually as opposed to casually or just for fun. They refer to it as a “lifestyle choice.” 

In a survey conducted by Arbitrage on 100 students, one out of ten smokes every day. About two out of 10 consider themselves casual smokers — they only use marijuana at parties or when it is available. And three out of 10 have never tried it. The rest — about 40 percent — either smoke a few times per year or used to smoke and have since decided to stop.

When asked whether or not they thought marijuana can be beneficial or harmful to society, nearly four out of 10 students said it can be beneficial and about two out of 10 said it can be harmful. The rest, roughly 45 percent, believed that the social effects of marijuana are a combination of the two.

Our interviewees fall into the third category. Although they do smoke habitually, they are not completely ignorant of the harmful effects of recreational marijuana usage, stating that “marijuana definitely does affect your motivation; there are no two ways about it.”

“That’s a negative thing about it. Like any leisure activity, like drinking alcohol, or smoking a cigar, there are better times to do it and there are times when it shouldn’t be done. You still have to be responsible for yourself. Like, smoking weed and reading a history textbook are definitely not conducive to one another.”

They are likewise very well-read on the theoretical benefits of marijuana decriminalization.

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