Outing Myself (from the Cannabis Closet)

In my latest column for The Week, I argue that the drug war is stupid, deadly, and unjust and try to do my small part to normalize marijuana use. My favorite reaction so far comes from Jossip:

Holy shit Wilkinson, you're really putting yourself on the line buddy! A upper-class, white Libertarian admits to smoking pot. (But does he listen to NPR? Even better: He's on it!) Since this might actually (god we hope) take off as the next P.C. activist trend (that would be hysterical), here are the next media figures to emerge from the cannabis closet.

And then there's a list of Hollywood types I am embarrassed to be flattered to be listed among. It's true I don't have a lot to lose. My employer's response to a column titled “I smoke pot, and I like it,” is to send it out to a list of thousands as a “Cato Daily Commentary.” But you've got to expect people in a safe place to make the not-especially-brave early moves in the de-stigmatization game. Neverthless, I think the demonstration effect is important. I'm no “stoner” (not that there's anything wrong with that). I'm an overeducated, relatively successful professional with a closet full of suits. How freaking square do I look in my byline picture at The Week? The stigma can't last long when that's the picture of a typical marijuana user. If this would “take off as the next P.C. activist trend” that would be terrific as well as hysterical. But I know for a fact that tons of P.C.-bashing Republican types smoke weed too, and it would be even better if they would stand and be counted.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center