In my hometown, theres a deep, high banked creek that runs through my old neighborhood. Over a shaded swimming hole, a great twisting vine hung too closesly to the bank to not be tempted. We’d gather all the speed we could muster, launch at it to swing out over the creek and back to the bank. Eventually, petty rivalries, territoriality, and bickering ensued, leading to parents feeling the need to become involved. That’s when the hammer came down. Rules were dictated by the neighborhood parents, followed shortly by said rules being broken/abused/ignored, and finally to the removal of the vine. Rules are often only made once there’s a perceived need. If there were no complaints reaching parents’ ears, we would have enjoyed that vine for seasons more! Just as if no one sued over scaulding-hot spilled java, there wouldn’t be warning lables on every to-go cup. I think that society’s perception of, and openness to, rests squarely on the shoulders of the canna-community (Canna-munity?). I am a proud citizen. I act responsibly. I work hard. I help out where and when I can. I pay my taxes, vote, and I strive to be a guinuinely good neighbor. I certainly don’t see where my use of cannabis conflicts with those values! My roommate has a magnet on the refridgerator door that pictures a circa 1950’s homemaker with a caption that exclaims, “Marijuana – It’s not just for hippies anymore!” I think that thats as good a place to start as any. If the only exposure someone has to marijuana or cannabis culture is a negative stereotype, I can’t help but understand their negative stance. Conversely, I can only hope that if their most recent experience with a marijuana user has been a pleasant, even enlightning one, then who will there be to complain?! You and I know that marijuana isn’t the dope-menace that the more conservative out there think, so its up to us to educate them. It’s up to us. As a contracted IT professional, I don’t volunteer unsolicited information about my medication. That said, I never deny my use of the herb. I simply, quietly endeavor to be physically fit, metally awake, and morally straight. If we step out of our closets to show the world that reponsible, productive, contributing citizens of the planet can be cannabis users – not in spite of a “vice,” but because the plant is ultimately useful – we can finally de-stigmatize the cannabis plant and its use!