Out of The Green Closet: My Journey from Corporate to Cannabis

January 10, 2024


Welcome to 421Blvd - a space where cannabis curiosity meets knowledge. Imagine, upon reading about marijuana, you feel a spontaneous urge to raise your hand, a throwback to school days or a sudden need. Yet, if that impulse didn't strike you, ponder over the hesitation. The act of acknowledging cannabis use is often a dance of context, influenced by who's asking, where it's asked, and the audience involved.

Picture a boardroom with corporate executives; hands rarely go up in such a setting, not indicating an absence of cannabis enjoyment but a culture of discretion. This observation leads to a pressing question: In a world gradually embracing cannabis, why the continued secrecy, and when will it be timely to candidly step out of the green closet?

Legalization efforts

As of 2024, the landscape of marijuana legalization in the United States has evolved significantly from the scenario in 2016. Currently, 24 states along with the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. This marks a notable increase from the seven states and DC that had legalized recreational marijuana as of 2016. Moreover, the number of states legalizing marijuana for medical purposes has also risen, with 38 states and DC now recognizing the medicinal benefits of cannabis.


The trend towards legalization reflects a shift in societal attitudes towards cannabis. Many states have revised their laws to increase possession limits of marijuana and introduce employment-related protections for cannabis consumers, acknowledging the growing acceptance of its use. Additionally, states have implemented new packaging regulations to promote safety and informed consumption.

In an innovative approach to ensuring compliance with state laws and regulations, some states have deployed "secret shoppers" to dispensaries. These measures are part of a broader movement towards greater acceptance and regulation of cannabis, integrating it into various societal aspects, including healthcare and employment.

Looking at potential future developments, there are states like Hawai'i, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota that are making strides towards either introducing or expanding their marijuana legalization efforts.

This ongoing evolution in marijuana laws across the United States reflects a growing recognition of the substance's potential benefits and a shift in public opinion towards its decriminalization and legalization. As this landscape continues to change, it becomes increasingly important to stay informed about the legal status and regulations in individual states. 

From a business robot to a professional hippie 

Navigating the complexities of cannabis culture in today's world can be paradoxical, especially when compared to the widespread acceptance of alcohol. The irony isn't lost on those in the cannabis community who often feel they must conceal their preferences despite living in a society where oversharing alcohol-fueled antics is common. This contrast is stark for many professionals, like those in Chicago's corporate circles, where a suit and tie represent a lifestyle often at odds with cannabis advocacy.

The journey out of the "Green Closet" is laden with uncertainties. Abandoning a lucrative career to venture into the uncertain waters of the cannabis industry is daunting. It's a path filled with dilemmas, from confronting familial expectations to navigating conservative professional networks, all under the shadow of strict drug policies. The fear of losing hard-earned status while pursuing a passion in a field still finding its legal and social footing is a real concern.

Yet, it's this very silence around marijuana consumption that perpetuates its stigma. Initiatives worldwide, like Cannabis Aangenaam in the Netherlands and campaigns such as Coming out Green and We are the Marijuana Majority in the U.S., aim to challenge these perceptions. Their goal is to reshape the cannabis landscape, not just in the U.S. and Uruguay, but globally, as more countries explore legalization.

Look at That. I Guess I Just Came out of the Green Closet. Now It’s Your Turn!

Embracing the cannabis lifestyle in 2024, you're part of a growing community that's increasingly out in the open. The landscape of marijuana legalization in the U.S. has evolved, with nearly half of all states, including Ohio, having legalized adult-use marijuana as of early 2024. This marks a significant shift, as 38 states have also legalized medical marijuana. The public perception and laws are increasingly supportive of cannabis, a trend that's likely to continue.

In states like California, there have been notable strides in employment rights for cannabis consumers. As of January 1, 2024, most employers in California cannot penalize employees based on marijuana use detected in hair or urine tests, acknowledging the changing views on cannabis consumption. This policy, however, has exceptions for certain job sectors and federal employees. Similarly, Nevada has significantly increased possession limits for both flower and concentrate.

Other states like Florida, Hawai'i, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota are making progress towards either introducing or expanding their marijuana legalization efforts. These changes reflect a broader societal shift towards recognizing and integrating cannabis into various aspects of life, including healthcare and employment.


Finally: How to Come Out of the Marijuana Closet

  1. Determine the Appropriate Time and Place: Choose a comfortable, private setting where you can talk without interruptions. Timing is key, so select a moment when everyone is relaxed and open to conversation.

  2. Be Prepared for Unexpected Reactions: People may react differently, ranging from support to confusion or concern. Stay calm and patient, ready to handle a spectrum of emotions from those you're speaking with.

  3. Explain the Impact Cannabis Has Had on You Personally: Share your personal experiences, emphasizing how cannabis has positively influenced your life. This could include health benefits, stress reduction, or even personal growth.

  4. Be Educated About Its Health Risks and Benefits: Arm yourself with credible information about cannabis. Discuss both its potential benefits and risks to present a balanced view. Knowledge is power when addressing common misconceptions.

  5. Comply with Cannabis Laws and Regulations: Emphasize your adherence to local laws and regulations regarding cannabis use. This demonstrates responsibility and respect for legal boundaries.

  6. Be Understanding of Your Family’s Feelings and Comprehensiveness: Acknowledge their concerns and be ready to answer questions. Show empathy and understanding, recognizing that this might be new territory for them.

These steps, grounded in respect and understanding, can help navigate the complexities of discussing cannabis use with those close to you.

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