5 Reasons We Should Just Legalize Weed Already

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! On this holy day – the twentieth of April – we honor the sacred act of getting blazed. And while 4/20 is meant for smoking/dabbing/blazing/etc, we should also take the time to think about marijuana in a political sense. Sorry boo, it’s 2019 and everything is political now. That’s just the world we live in! As of now, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana and 10 states plus D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. Clearly, we are inching towards legalization, and in our humble opinion, we should start sprinting towards it and just like, make this sh*t happen. All the cool kids are doing it! But in all seriousness, legalizing weed has many benefits, and I’ve taken the time to lay out several for you here. You’re welcome and blaze on!

1. It Could Help End Mass Incarceration

Idk if you’ve heard, but we incarcerate sh*t ton of people in America and it’s f*cked up. And a lot of people are locked up because of marijuana charges, aka possession. Police arrest millions of people for simply having weed on them every year.  And would you be shocked if I were to tell you that many of these arrests are racially biased? If so, wake up sweetie, we have a race problem to deal with. Despite the fact that usage rates are equal between the two demographics, black people are almost four times mores likely to be arrested for marijuana related “crimes.” The United States imprisons more people than any other nation, and a vast majority of people in prison are there because of (most often non-violent) drug arrests. In 2016, 1.5 million drug arrests were made in America, and 80% of those arrests were for possession alone. And the majority of those arrested were Black and Latinx. And guess who’s paying for all of this? You and your tax dollars, babe. It’s not only unjust, it’s a waste of your money. All to stop people from *checks notes*  getting baked and watching Netflix documentaries?

2. Weed Has Multiple Health Benefits

Despite what your D.A.R.E. teacher told you, weed can be good for you. It’s used to treat certain ailments, such as cancer, chronic pain, and anxiety, just to name a few. It’s all about knowing how to use it, and seeing if it’s something that works for you. Like, you can’t just take a bunch of hits off your bong and assume that will cure you of your anxiety. That will most likely have the opposite effect. But legalizing weed would allow health professionals more access to knowledge about medical marijuana and would give them the liberty to relay this information to their parents. It would also simply open up the conversation about the benefits of marijuana, so we could all stop pretending smoking weed will kill you, and start getting the real facts about how to use marijuana in a beneficial way.

3. Weed is Good for the Economy

As it turns out, weed is good for biz. A report from cannabis analytics company suggested that if weed was legalized federally, it could generate  $131.8 billion in federal tax revenue by 2025. It’s a booming business, as you have probably learned from your cousin who lives in Colorado and survives off of his dank weed pie business. However, an important thing to note here is how legalization as we know it is still racially biased. In order to get into the marijuana business, you need certain permits. The catch? You can’t obtain these permits if you have been convicted of a crime. So, let’s say a person is arrested for having weed on them (something most of us have been “guilty” of at least once), they serve their time, and now they are out of prison and living in a world where the thing they were arrested for is no longer illegal. Even if they wanted to, they could not get into the business of selling marijuana legally. And as we have covered, most people arrested for weed related crimes are Black and Latino men. So now we have a business where white men, yet again, are profiting, and minorities aren’t able to access as easily. So when we say “legalize weed,” what we really mean is “legalize weed in a way that also allows people with weed convictions to enter the business legally.” But that’s kind of hard to fit on a poster.

4. Everyone Smokes Weed Anyway

Not to keep bringing up your D.A.R.E. teacher, but as hard as they try, they aren’t going to get kids to stop smoking weed. Smoking weed is fun and people enjoy it and are going to do it. Polls actually show that a majority of Americans have tried marijuana in their lifetime (and about half those stop in their late 20s because it starts making them anxious for no reason). Clearly, marijuana prohibition has been about as effective as alcohol prohibition back in the day. Legalizing marijuana would mean there would be a legal, regulated market, which would be a safer market than the illegal one we have now. Regulations means your weed can’t be cut with anything without you knowing about it, and it also means drug kingpins go out of business. That could drastically decrease the violence that takes place in the drug world. Sounds pretty chill, no?

5. Weed is Famously Tight

At the end of the day, you gotta give the people what they want. And the people want legal weed. It’s as simple as that.

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We Spoke With An Expert On How To Reduce Overdose Deaths

Drugs, ever heard of them? If you’re on this website, chances are you have. And chances are you think of drugs in certain categories. Weed is famously tight, cocaine is that b*tch that you knew in college, and drugs like heroin, meth, or crack are “scary” ones that you only talk about as a joke or read about in the news. But what if it’s not the drugs that are bad, but rather our entire mindset around them? What if the way that we speak, think, and legislate around drug use is actually exacerbating the problem? 

A recent CNN article reported that Americans are now more likely to die from a drug overdose than a car accident. In 2017, there were over 70,000 drug overdose deaths in America, most of which were due to opioids—in particular fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine (that’s really f*cking strong, bruh). Fentanyl originated as a legal, prescribed pharmaceutical (classic) that was used for pain management. Nowadays fentanyl can often be found mixed in with drugs like heroin or cocaine, cut together by distributors who want to save money, and sold to unknowing buyers. Because fentanyl is so powerful, it can easily lead to an overdose, especially if the user doesn’t have a high tolerance for opioids. It’s definitely dangerous, and when you don’t even know you are about to encounter it, there’s no way you can be prepared for the outcome. So the question is…how do we avoid or prevent these kinds of overdoses from happening?

Many people’s first reaction is to take on the attitude of your middle school D.A.R.E teacher and tell everyone to just say no to drugs. But now let’s think about how well D.A.R.E worked. *jump-cut to a flashback of me and literally every teen I’ve ever met smoking weed out of Coca-Cola can*  At the risk of sounding like your cousin from Denver, you can tell people not to do drugs all you want, but the reality is that they are going to do them. With this in mind, we should probably find ways for people to use drugs more safely. It’s kind of like safe sex education. Since we know teens aren’t going to stop boning in the high school parking lot, we gotta teach them how to put a condom on a banana.

Approaching drug use in this way is called harm reduction. I spoke to Garrett Reuscher, a harm reduction counselor at Recharge who works in substance use with his clients at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC). He told me, “Harm reduction is all about—get this—reducing harm. It’s about accepting that drugs and their use are a part of our world. We’ve seen time and time again the demonization and criminalization of drugs through an abstinence only framework does not stop people from using. When we accept this reality we can begin to shift our view of thinking and focus more on how to keep people safe, rather than use an outdated morality model created to stigmatize and shame. We need compassionate pragmatism.”

Reuscher pointed out that drugs serve a purpose, such as relieving pain or amplifying experiences, but we refuse to view the benefits of drugs, and this leads to a mindset that embraces abstinence and rejects harm reduction. He said, “The funny thing is we, as a society and as individuals, apply the harm reduction modality to our everyday lives. A perfect example of this is how we choose to wear seat belts when driving a car. Cars can cause harm but we don’t ban them. We add seat belts and airbags and put people through an education course before they hit the road. We have this tendency to holds drugs to a different standard. As if they’re naturally ‘bad’ and learning to to use them in a safer way is somehow condoning ‘poor behavior.’ It’s not. Harm reduction isn’t about condoning, nor is it about shaming. It’s about providing the tools to save and/or improve lives.”

Let’s take the issue of fentanyl as an example. You can actually buy fentanyl testing strips or a drug testing kit that you can use to test your drugs before you take them. This way, you know exactly what you’re taking before you take it. A lot of people don’t like encouraging drug users to test their drugs because they think it encourages them to keep using drugs, but as I’ve said, most people are going to use drugs regardless. People know the risks and are still willing to take drugs. So may as well help them do so safely. It’s all about education and providing people with a safe plan.

An additional, and more controversial, solution is safe injection sites. These are facilities where people can go and use drugs that are dangerous to use alone (like heroin) with trained staff on hand  to intervene in case of an overdose. They also provide sterile needles for people who need them, which prevents the spread of disease. Staff members at these sites have breathing masks and naloxone aka NARCAN on hand, which is an overdose antidote.

(Sidenote: administering NARCAN will stop an overdose from happening, and you can actually become certified to carry and inject this lifesaving treatment. It’s called being a hero Karen, look it up.)

And because Canada and Europe will forever be our much cooler cousins, they’ve already tested safe injection sites and found positive results. Researchers found that a particular safe injection site in Vancouver supervised more than 3.6 million injections and responded to more than 6,000 overdoses. No one has ever died there, and they saw no evidence of increased drug use. On the contrary, the research showed that along with a decrease in deaths, the injection site also led to users seeking out detoxing programs, like taking methadone, which can help wean someone off of heroin.  

And then of course there is the proposal of legalization. This one really gets people popping off. Many think legalizing hard drugs is totally f*cking absurd, but hear me out. Legalization doesn’t mean every man, man, woman and child gets to do as much heroin as they want wherever they want starting tomorrow. Like weed or alcohol, there would be rules, licenses, and other boring paperwork involved designed to keep the drugs safe and regulated. You couldn’t just go buy heroin at the kid across the street’s heroin stand. That is not the vibe I’m going for. 

summoning circle, hope this works:

? ?
? ?

? Legalize ?
? ?
? ?

— Garrett Reuscher (@GarrettReuscher) March 16, 2019

Lastly, we have to address the way we talk about drugs and drug use. As I mentioned in my intro, we tend to assign certain stereotypes to different drugs. Weed is generally accepted as a fine drug these days. Cocaine is generally frowned upon, but it’s not stigmatized to the point where people who use it are ostracized from society. This is largely because it’s a drug associated with higher class people, typically rich white people. Crack is literally just cocaine in a different form, but it’s associated with poorer communities of color so it has a worse rep. Drugs like crack, meth, and heroin have been assigned stigmatizing, dehumanizing words to describe those who use them. I’m talking about words like “crack head,” “meth head,” and “junkie.” Language matters, and when we use these words to label people, we automatically cast them aside and leave them behind. Reuscher told me he sees this mentality affect his clients a lot. “We’ve weaponized terms like ‘junkie’ or ‘addict’ to such a degree that people are actually dying in order to avoid the shame that comes with those labels. People should never use drugs alone because it’s unsafe, yet do so because they don’t believe that they will be met with love, compassion, and acceptance.”

So many overdoses happen because someone was using drugs alone, in shame, and there was no one there to save them. If we talked about drug use more openly and a less stigmatizing way, it could literally save lives. I guess what I’m saying is maybe we should retire the word “crackhead” from the list of things we call coworkers who are a little too perky in the morning. 

Look, maybe you don’t agree with me on some or all of this. And maybe the solutions I have provided here won’t work. But guess what? What we’re doing right now isn’t working. People are dying. At an alarming rate. And the ways in which we are trying to deal with it prove time and time again to be ineffective. So why not try something new? Riddle me that, my queens.

You can learn more about harm reduction via The Harm Reduction Coalition here.

You can be certified to administer NARCAN by Garrett Reuscher by attending a training session. Narcan trainings are during GMHC regular business hours located at 307 West 38th street, New York, NY 10018. You can contact Garrett Reuscher at (212) 367-1221 or [email protected]

You can buy drug testing materials and educate yourself on the effects and potential dangers of specific drugs by visiting the Dance Safe website here.

Images: Giphy (5), Twitter @GarrettReuscher (1)

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!

The Whole Sad Saga Of Meek Mill, Explained

In a total turn of events, I am here today to report some *good* news. Truly wild, I know. Rapper Meek Mill has been released from prison on bail as ruled by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. You know you’re living in dark times when actual justice happens and you’re like, “oh, wow, did not see that coming!”

Meek Mill was sentenced to two to four years in prison  for violating his probation. He has been on probation for almost 10 years after being convicted on drug and firearm charges back in 2007. The rapper has been released because the credibility of the officer that is one of the key witnesses in the case has come in to question, but let’s also just talk about how it’s bullshit that he could be put back in jail in the first place.

An arrest like Meek Mill’s points to some of the many flaws in our broken criminal justice system. Having a person on probation for nearly a decade is essentially setting them up for failure. It’s part of a larger system that disproportionately condemns men of color and keeps them oppressed and literally locked up behind bars. Probation often requires showing up for meetings with your probation officers and submitting drug tests. Show of hands who here has ever missed a meeting or been unable to pass a drug test at any given point.

Exactly. Now imagine having to adhere to those strict rules for 10 years. All because you fucked up when you were nineteen years old. Show of hands who here was an idiot and made dumb mistakes when they were nineteen that they hope would not be seriously haunting them now.

Cool. Now is a good time to point out that I was caught by the police for underage drinking and smoking marijuana when I was eighteen. You know what I got? A warning. One of the cops even laughed at my joke and told me to get home safe. You know why? Because I’m white. Tbh I’m sure it was a solid joke though, just for the record.

Anyway, Meek Mill has been caught in violation of his probation a few times. One time just for leaving Philadelphia county, others for having marijuana in his system. It’s kind of hard to not leave the county when you’re a touring rapper, and let’s be honest, it’s pretty hard to not have marijuana in your system when you’re a human who lives in the world. These are not horrible offenses. They should not be able to put a man back in jail and rip him apart from his family and the life he has made for himself. Probation violations lead to more probation/restrictions, house arrest, and restricted traveling, which is what happened to Meek Mill. It’s a snowball effect, leading to more and more opportunity to violate your probation. It’s a lot easier to get caught doing something when you have so many restrictions, and you are a black man in America. Mill’s latest violations included a failed drug test, violation of court-ordered travel restrictions, and two misdemeanor arrests: for reckless driving involving a motorcycle in Manhattan and for an alleged altercation at the St. Louis airport. These ultimately led to his sentencing of two to four years, which, as stated earlier, he has now been released on bail for. He’s not entirely a free man yet, but it is a victory.

The point is that our criminal justice system is clearly broken and meant to keep a certain demographic from being free citizens. I’m now realizing I started this article by saying I had good news and then proceeded to bring you all down by telling you about how fucked up our country is. Whatever, life is a nightmare. #FreeMeekMill.

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!

Images: Giphy (3)


6 Good Things That Have Happened Since The 2016 Election

Not to be a bitch, but some good things have happened since Trump was elected. Am I saying everything happens for a reason and maybe this was meant to be? Ew, no, never. Never forget that this is not normal and a true nightmare. But it is important to take some time and focus on the positive. At least that’s what my therapist says and she’s like, really smart.

We put together a list of good things that have happened since a spray-tanned prune entered the Oval Office to help you cope with the existential dread that has become ever-present in your life. Mmmya, you’re welcome.

More Women Running For Office

Well, it looks like America has gotten itself in a pickle and it’s up to women to fix it, as per fucking usual. There’s clearly a glitch in the system, and that glitch is rich, white men. Donald Trump is essentially the cherry on top of a shit-sundae that has been our male-dominated government. Enough is enough, and that’s why over 500 women are running for office in 2018. Is this the part where we all move to an exotic island built by the gods and spend our days toning our biceps and training for war with Robin Wright? God, I hope so.

The #MeToo Movement

While we’re on the topic of women being sick of everyone’s shit, let’s take a moment to appreciate the fact that holding men accountable for their actions went viral this past year. I mean, it’s long overdue, but so is everything I’ve ever received from a man. Like an orgasm, for example. Anyway, powerful men are having their careers negatively affected when they are outted as sexual abusers, which is something I honestly wasn’t sure I would live to witness. Here’s to hoping this continues as more than just a trend, and all industries take it upon themselves to make real change when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace. Also, fuck Harvey Weinstein.

More Marijuana Legalization

This one is tentative for now, so we have to keep fighting. As I write this, Jeff Sessions is probably putting the finishing touches on his fan fiction about arresting every black man in the country who has ever looked at marijuana. California just legalized weed, which was supes chill. But then Narc Master 3000 (Jeff Sessions) rescinded guidances from  Obama’s administration that allowed states to legalize marijuana with minimal federal interference, which was supes not chill. He actually received some backlash from Republicans on this one, because as we all know, Repubs are v horny for state rights. Interesting how conservative politicians are all about state rights until it comes to things like weed and abortion. Veeeery interesting. Anyway, weed is on the rise and we hope it keeps rising…higher.

Cardi B’s Rise To Fame

Speaking of things rising (wow, I am killing it with these transitions), let’s talk about the incredible gift that is Cardi B. “Bodak Yellow” dropped this summer and we are forever changed. It’s the perfect anthem for anyone who holds a petty grudge against all the haters and losers of their past. So, all of us. Not only is this song a banger, Cardi B herself is literal perfection. She’s hilarious af and her Instagram is proof that she is a goddess that walks among us. We are not worthy.

Jake Tapper’s Rise To My Fantasies

Jake Tapper is the hero that none of us knew we needed. Before the Trump presidency most of us didn’t know or care who some CNN news anchor was, but now we’ve been forced to watch the news and welcome Jake Tapper into our lives/fantasies. Jake is v smart and v good at making dumbasses look like dumbasses on live television. What else could you ever need? Also, one time he publicly humiliated Stephen-Most-Likely-To-Be-A-Virgin-Miller and it was everything.

The Sup

The Sup became more of a thing this past year, and tbh it is taking the nation by storm. We know you read The Sup, because you literally are right now, but don’t forget to spread the word. Tell your friends, tell your wife, tell your kids. We will take down this administration, one betchy comment at a time.

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!