The #StonerCleanupInitiative is a recent movement from r/trees that’s gaining speed – basically, once you’ve gotten to your smoke spot, be respectful, and leave the place cleaner than when you arrived. The goal is to help change the stigma of Cannabis users from lazy and inconsiderate to proactive and caring. This is just one example of how the r/trees community on Reddit is a force of change in Cannabis culture.
By linking Cannabis to the proactive cleaning of public spaces, the #StonerCleanupInitiative hopes to de-stigmatize public use. The rapid adoption of the initiative shows that the Cannabis community is ready to mobilize and take concrete actions towards changing Cannabis stigmatization.
As a group of over a million users, r/trees is one of the largest (if not the largest) Cannabis social media community. It is also one of the most accepting communities that maintains strong standards for mutual respect of its users, a long-held pillar of Cannabis culture.
These communities, both online and out in the world, have a profound impact on the experience of individual Cannabis users, providing content as well as support. We as a population are used to being isolated. As an isolated Cannabis user, societal norms grind you into submission and force you to fear for your opinions. But through community engagement we become educated, we become empowered, and we become the drivers of change.
The time has come for the #StonerCleanupInitiative and, hopefully, many others like it to push the Cannabis community – as it truly is – into the limelight. For too long have we remained in the shadows, afraid of being the villain, afraid of being the “stoner.” And in that time, the image of “stoners” has become synonymous to that of a villain to much of mainstream society. Or at least a lazy, non-contributing, barely-functional, inconsiderate, dirty excuse for a human being. This is so absurdly false and it’s time to change that.
From my experience, so called “stoners” aren’t the worst people, but the best. Typically kind, calm, earth-loving people. Of course all stereotypes are just that, and there are tons of exceptions. But my stereotype for stoners is based upon years of kind and compassionate people, deep-thinkers who like to wax philosophical and get creative just as much as they like to bake and chill out.
It’s time for the silent majority to come out of their shells. Only together can we all shed the stigma of marijuana and put forth a more lifelike image. I hope to see many more #StonerInitiatives in the future!
Endnote: The r/trees subreddit was the first Cannabis community I ever found and, for a while, it was my only resource for Cannabis news and information. Way back in 2010 – information and resources I found on r/trees were the main reason I pursued an MMJ card over more prescription medications. I’m alive today because of it. It inspired me to pursue my PhD. And it remains one of the most important Cannabis communities and resources for me today.