How do you destroy the stigma around cannabis? You educate people. As Edmund Burke said, “knowledge conquers fear.”
People only fear the consequences of medicinal and recreational cannabis when they don’t understand it. But as soon as people start learning the truth, they begin to open up their minds, and the truth is this:
- According to data collected by the National Incident-Based Reporting System, violent crime in Washington is at a 40-year historic low since the passage of recreational cannabis.
- The legalization of marijuana has not led to increased rates of marijuana use for youth based on the Washington State Healthy Youth survey.
- And, in 2013, traffic fatalities in the 19 states that had passed medical marijuana laws by 2010 had decreased by eight to 11 percent according to a study in The Journal of Law & Economics.
Those simple facts, and hundreds more, are why educating the public about cannabis is so necessary, and that’s exactly what Green Flower is aiming to do. Their mission is to “help you learn everything about cannabis today whether you’re interested in using cannabis as a medicine, starting your own cannabis business, being a better activist or growing your own cannabis at home.”
“I truly believe that the only way to help the world get more value out of cannabis is to #End420Shame and that starts and ends with knowledge…” explains Max Simon.
“I’ve been a cannabis user my whole life. To a certain degree, I think I wouldn’t have made it through school without cannabis since I suffer from OCD, but I had this guilt about using it,” says Max Simon, CEO and Founder of Green Flower. “It wasn’t until I really started looking into cannabis as a medicine, and delving into the research, that I realized my guilt was misplaced. Then, as I became educated, I felt really angry that I wasn’t given the correct information my whole life.”
Simon built Green Flower on the premise that the more educated you are about cannabis, the more acceptable it becomes and the greater respect you gain for the plant—all of which are vital to the industry’s success. That’s why, every single week, Green Flower broadcasts free cannabis classes from over 165 industry experts on almost any topic imaginable from cannabis health to industry news, personal development, DIY and activism, to name a few.
“People want to use cannabis to improve the quality of their lives,” says Simon. “In fact, 98 percent of our audience are people who are interested in using cannabis as a legitimate substance—they’re using it to cope, solve, heal, etc. That’s why we’ve been purposeful about expanding cannabis knowledge. We pride ourselves on answering the questions that people have today.”
And Green Flower’s eventual goal is to reach and educate ten million people. “I believe that there are tens of millions of people who could immediately benefit from our knowledge,” explains Simon. “But as a starting place, I’d like to see ten million people sign up for our classes.”
It’s a fantastic goal considering that, according to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly. But if so many people already use it, why do we need education? We need education because more than 693,000 individuals are still arrested each year for marijuana—more than the total number of arrests for all violent crimes, claims NORML.
But educating the public isn’t just about changing how the government, police, and naysayers view marijuana; it’s also about giving people what they want. “We’ve found that there are four areas of cannabis that people really have a craving to learn more about,” says Simon. “People want to learn how to use cannabis in the most effective way medicinally. Underneath the DIY vertical, they want to know how to grow their own plants, cook with it, and make their own tinctures. Finally, they want to discover how to get into the industry and the science behind cannabis.”
And it’s only through this education that the truth about cannabis, and all of its various pieces, comes out. Think about it: maybe the DEA would have rescheduled cannabis to a Schedule II drug if they’d had more education about the medicinal benefits of the plant. It’s hard to argue with knowledge, so Green Flower is trying to provide as much knowledge as possible.
And there’s another benefit to knowledge; it ensures that cannabis is used correctly. “I believe that some people are overusing cannabis and that it might actually be harming their life,” explains Simon. “But when cannabis is used responsibly and respectfully, and we acknowledge the power of it, it can be used in such a way that it provides extreme benefits.”
“People are suffering in so many ways in their lives. They could be suffering because they’re not sleeping, because they’re anxious or they’re in pain, or even because they’re blocked creatively,” Simon continues. “But when cannabis is used with the right guidance and in the correct context, it can be used to heal your life. I truly believe that the only way to help the world get more value out of cannabis is to #End420Shame, and that starts and ends with knowledge.”
If you’d like to share your End 4/20 Shame story with us email firstname.lastname@example.org or share your story on social media using the hashtag #End420Shame.