Smoking out the Stigma

Welcome to Conscious Perspective.

Why are we here?
Within the next year Canadians will witness an interesting phenomenon. Something that has been demonized and illegal for decades will become legal, and with it, an industry worth billions of dollars. Conscious Perspective aims to raise awareness about this emerging industry and to help break down the negative stigma and misinformation that has been systematically affiliated with Cannabis during prohibition. Conscious Perspective will provide information and insight into medical and recreational cannabis and the somewhat new industry that will follow the end of prohibition.



Despite having been consumed widely by societies for thousands of years, cannabis has been illegal since the early 1920s in Canada.  During prohibition propaganda and false information was systematically linked with this plant that has engrained negative stigma towards those who indulge in cannabis to this day.  One of the most influential pieces of propaganda that demonized cannabis use was Reefer Madness.  This piece of propaganda falsely presented cannabis and its effects.  I believe that it was irresponsible to blatantly mislead the public and demonize something as harmless as cannabis in such a way.  Cannabis  won’t lead you to sin, degradation, vice, and insanity, as Reefer Madness taught.  It might however lead to increase relaxation, increased appetite, pain relief, and a whole other variety of positive benefits. Oh yeah, and music might sound…a lot more interesting!

Example of the anti-cannabis propaganda presented in 1936 by Reefer Madness

There is no question that legalization will bring about a variety of social and economic changes.  What does it mean when something that we have been told is bad or wrong magically overnight becomes allowed by society?  As a society we need to ask ourselves questions such as, what will the new norms be for cannabis now that it is legal?  These are the types of questions Conscious Perspective will explore and help answer in the coming weeks.

After decades of prohibition two major take aways can be observed:

  1. The “war on drugs” which still includes cannabis, has ultimately cost society far more than it has gained.  It’s time to make smart policy rooted in empiricism rather than with ideology and regulate cannabis.
  2. The perceived dangers with cannabis are greatly unfounded.  There are legitimate concerns to be addressed, such as cannabis and the developing mind, but one cannot overdose or die from cannabis consumption, unlike with alcohol.

Going into a post prohibition era this is still a very controversial issue and there are currently many dispensaries in Toronto that have begun operating without a federally regulated infrastructure yet in place.  One can’t help but stand in wonder and observe a wide spectrum of people calmly going in and out of dispensaries in a stark contrast to the decades of ruined lives and wasted resources during prohibition.  All that fuss over something that just comes down to people purchasing and consuming dried flowers for relaxation or for medicinal needs.  It truly is surreal.

Marijuana March For Freedom Is Held on Parliament Hill

Image: Huffington Post

Cannabis isn’t the devil plant that society has been led to believe it is.  It is a substance that deserves regulation, no different than alcohol or tobacco and it should not stigmatize and treat those who consume it as criminals.  There are both legitimate recreational and medicinal benefits associated with cannabis and we need to accept them and integrate them into society and end the lingering negative stigma.  Ending prohibition on cannabis also means that proper research can begin to be undertaken.  As we continue to learn more about cannabinoids, the chemical compounds found in cannabis, we continue to develop effective ways to treat a variety of ailments.  One of the most successful cases of cannabinoids has been in a young girl named Charlotte.  Check out the TED talk below to hear her story and how a plant bred for a specific cannabinoid changed her life and drastically alleviated her epilepsy.

Stay tuned next week when we take a deep look into the budding dispensary industry in Toronto.






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