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Is Marijuana Shaming A Real Thing?


raskal og marijuana strainWith the social justice movement gaining more and more momentum, the word “shaming” continuously gets thrown around a lot. There is fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, slut-shaming, virgin-shaming, tattoo-shaming, shame-shaming. Shame-shaming-shaming, and everything else under the sun. While shaming people for their ways of life or their appearance is certainly something that is completely unnecessary and immature, is marijuana-shaming really a thing?

A high school student from Ohio, Hank Sigel, accused the administration of marijuana-shaming when his friend, Hayden Long, commit suicide after being caught with marijuana by the school. According to Sigel, the school was negligent in their dealings with Hayden, and said that the threats by the school were overboard.

However, is this really shaming? I mean, isn’t shaming downplaying what is going on here? To shame someone means to demean or embarrass someone for a choice or appearance, but that isn’t what is going on here. The student was threatened with suspension, criminal charges, a driver’s license suspension, and sports suspension. Furthermore, most public universities won’t accept him, and he is immediately disqualified from most student loans.

This isn’t shaming. This isn’t just embarrassing or demeaning a person (which, yes, is still certainly wrong). This is physically and actively destroying their lives. This is treating a high school student as a gang member. This is treating a kid as an adult. This an active injustice on the part of our legal system, not some kind of social injustice done with unkind words or gestures.


About Author

John Knetemann currently attends South Dakota School of Mines and Technology where he is a chapter leader for Students for Sensible Drug Policy. John has had a passion for drug policy reform since he was a senior in high school, and hasn’t looked back since. Along with his work in SSDP, he is a part of the North American Executive Board for Students For Liberty. You can find John on Twitter.


  1. cannabis shaming? Yes! here’s what the meme says: “When the government and News thinks it helps us, they call it Cannabis. When the Government Hates us using it, they call it Pot. What do we call it? MEDICINE.” Governmental agencies, School administrations, and federal agencies, treat cannabis in general as if we’re 15 year olds, giggling over using something ‘taboo’. THIS is the problem. School yard bullying calling kids names like “potheads” etc, comes down from what they here adults say and do. Can it ruin a person’s life? You bet. Ask Shona Bando, who lost custody of her child to adult protective services, all because he ‘brought cannabis awareness’ to the classroom, and is fighting the fight for her life with a fragile health condition on top of being arrested for medical cannabis use in Kansas. It’s not funny, it’s not a minor problem, it’s very severe, and certainly needs to be addressed. Did Hayden take his life because he saw his future with no possibility or hope? You bet. There’s nothing to snicker at, lives are at stake.

  2. Fuck yes,after over 40 years smoking i still feel guilty half the time. But it’ll nevrr stpp me.

  3. I missed something. I empathize totally, but when I had similar issues a nuber of years ago (1970) my consequences were far short of being “threatened with suspension, criminal charges, a driver’s license
    suspension, and sports suspension. Furthermore, most public universities
    won’t accept him, and he is immediately disqualified from most student
    loans.” I got kicked out of school and had to start over. Is there more to the story? Once again, I AM NOT DEFENDING HIS TREATMENT, it was such an extreme response if all that happened was an accusation.

  4. Dude … and you are surprised? We have CHILDREN that are in U.S prisons right now, and nobody even cares. I wonder what’s on TV tonight?

  5. The War on Drugs thrives on identifying who the socially acceptable targets to hate are. Hayden Long wasn’t a victim of shaming, he was the victim of an institutionalized hate-crime.

  6. This is just typical of the ass clowns who are now running our schools. It’s a WEED for God’s sake. This is just the latest death this Cannabis madness has brought. Common sense is not very common in the Cannabis question. Tax it, regulate it, sell it to adults: Is that so very hard?

  7. stellarvoyager on

    “And he is immediately disqualified from most student loans.” Thank you, Joe Biden, for being the chief architect of the legislation that is responsible for this. We will not forget your track record in this area should you run for president.

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