Why This ‘No Smoking’ Sign Got 87,000 Upvotes on Reddit
A No Smoking Sign posted on Reddit garnered more than 87,000 up votes because it included a “no vaping” and a “no marijuana” symbol on it. There was a time when the idea of putting up a “no smoking weed sign” would have been laughed at or seen as a joke – however in this case, it’s a real sign in a real hotel.
Since cannabis has become more available all over the United States, some places are now including the once illegal drug in their no smoking signs, along with vaping.
While vaping doesn’t make too much sense, since the vapor doesn’t “stick to” fabrics the way that smoke does – it still indicates a major shift in paradigm. This sign would not have existed in the real world, save for the novelty signs you buy in Hot Topic.
In this article, we’re going to be taking a closer look at why the internet reacted in such a way and what it means for us as a society. What are the challenges we have overcome to be able to live in a world where these signs in fact do exist, and what might be some future signs we can expect to appear in hotel rooms?
As Times have Changed…
The reason why Reddit lost their collective shit over the appearance of this sign is simple – cannabis won the war on drugs! During the 1980s and 1990s, the idea of “legal cannabis” was so far fetched that it was considered a “pipe dream of stoners”.
I remember every stoner I knew talk about “marijuana being legal in the next five years” for decades now. We’re at a pivotal point where this may actually become true.
Since roughly the 2010s, we have seen a major shift in public perception of cannabis. This was right after states like Washington and Colorado legalized cannabis for adult use. These were the first two states to fully legalize recreational cannabis.
Before the two states legalized, most cannabis laws were medically based – meaning that “medical marijuana” was available to anyone who needed it. This pseudo-legalization prioritized those who were afflicted by disease or symptoms of disease – yet did not recognize the recreational aspect of consuming.
When WA and CO flipped the script; suddenly – the possibility of legal recreational cannabis became a reality. The Pipe Dream came true!
In 2010, more than half of Americans opposed cannabis legalization. Today, almost 70% say that it should be legal.
It is because of this paramount shift in paradigm that hotels feel the need to explicitly tell guests to “not smoke weed”, because it is now an accepted form of recreation.
The No Smoking Sign is a testament of this change.
Why the change in paradigm?
People can say that the activists did their job in educating Americans about the benefits of cannabis, or that Americans finally accepted the fact that people should have a right to choose what they put into their bodies – however, this is not entirely accurate.
It is true, the educational campaigns by activists did help convince many people about the validity of legal cannabis – however, in my opinion the biggest factor for the paradigm shift was generational.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the people who were “in power” had a strict anti-drug position. The “Drug Free America” bullshit was being peddled to everyone, at every age group. Nancy Raegan’s national indoctrination campaign was in full swing.
These people began retiring in the mid-2000s and early 2010s. The following generation that took power and are still somewhat in control are those born in the 1970s-1980s. This means that Gen X, took the reigns and if you know anything about Gen X – They are counter-culture to the max!
Gen X doesn’t have a problem with cannabis, or drug consumption. To them, the idea of freedom is a high priority and government overreach was an infringement on these rights.
Legalizing cannabis was a no brainer for Gen X and those that followed.
When the dinosaurs retired or died off, so did their ideas about drug use. The newer generations were far more tolerant of “other people’s behavior” which also gave a rise to acceptance to different expressions of sexuality and personal behavior.
Beating a System!
However, the generational shift is one thing – the US government built a system to sustain prohibition. There was a lot of money to be made and many industries that profited on the illegality of cannabis. Pharma funded a lot to keep marijuana illegal, and so did Police Unions, Prisons, etc.
Politicians frequently used drug use as a means to be “tough on crime” by arresting and imprisoning users while banks laundered money for the Cartels.
The victory of legal weed was like tossing a spanner into the machinery of prohibition. At first, it did nothing major – but ten years down the line we can see the entire machine coming to a screeching halt.
Activists had to use several different angles to pull this off, most notably the “medical argument” – however, social injustices and racial biases also helped shift the paradigm.
Eventually, supporting the War on Drugs became such a toxic concept that politicians began distancing themselves from the “tough on crime” argument.
Also, with legal cannabis came legal cannabis businesses and this sparked pro-cannabis lobbyists. Slowly, the system crumbled and now we’re seeing the final gasps of a dying era come to fruition.
The Sticky Bottom Line
Sure, most people’s comments on the Reddit post hinted towards humor, however – the deeper meaning behind this no smoking sign screams that the effects of people like Anslinger and Nixon are finally waning.
We only had to wait for an entire generation to die off for this to happen – but finally, we can marvel at a sign that includes things like vaping and marijuana.
Good job cannabis, you beat the system!