Reader: Smoking Is Normal, and You Guys Are Trying to Make a Story Out of Nothing
Maria Levitov

Reader: Smoking Is Normal, and You Guys Are Trying to Make a Story Out of Nothing

Just in time for April 20, we introduced a new series, "Trail Blazers," a series of portraits of marijuana consumers by photographer Maria Levitov. She spotlights cannabis users from all walks of life in both her photos (in which smoke plays a major role) and their words.

Some readers have appreciated both the photographs and the sentiments. But others?

Says Fitz: 

Look, if you said this thirty years ago, maybe I would have cared. Maybe. But now? I smoke and, thanks to Colorado laws, feel very normal. I felt normal about this twenty years ago. And I am positive most who use marijuana feel normal. This is not the '60s. You guys are trying to make a story out of nothing. Have you all gone stupid? This is akin to honkies marching around demanding civil rights!

Adds Shawn: 

If your pictures were trying to normalize using, they couldn’t have appeared more abnormal.

 Counters Justin: 

This is a series I would love to be a part of!  I am so glad you guys are proving the fact that not everyone who uses cannabis is the stereotypical "Lazy Stoner" and that there are MANY intellectuals who utilize it. ... Thank you, Westword.

Then there's this from Bret:

 I’m all for personal use, be it marijuana or alcohol, but it drives me crazy when people apply the double standard and think it’s completely appropriate to smoke before work, think they drive better high, or use it as a coping mechanism YET if you applied the same argument to alcohol, people would absolutely rip into your ass.

I absolutely believe it’s got a lot of medical benefits, but if you are self-diagnosing and prescribing, you have a problem and it’s not any different than someone who drinks, snorts, shoots up in order to get through the day.

And finally, Greg asks: 

How is this a story...someone who moved here enjoys smoking weed?

Keep reading for more on "Trail Blazers."

Reader: Smoking Is Normal, and You Guys Are Trying to Make a Story Out of Nothing (2)EXPAND
Maria Levitov

"Trail Blazers: Breaking the Stigma Around People Using Weed"

Reader: Smoking Is Normal, and You Guys Are Trying to Make a Story Out of Nothing (3)
Maria Levitov


"Trail Blazers: Portraits of Ten Cannabis Consumers"

Reader: Smoking Is Normal, and You Guys Are Trying to Make a Story Out of Nothing (4)
Maria Levitov

"Cannabis Helps Artist Transition into New Home After Immigrating From Mexico"

The most recent subject in the series: Freelance artist Claudia Campero, who moved here from Juárez, Mexico, and is still finding her groove in the Mile High as she searches for connections to her culture and heritage. Cannabis helps her feel comfortable.

“The world can feel isolating and discouraging, so now more than ever, it’s important to show the things that connect us, not separate us,” says Levitov, who finds the subjects for her photos in a variety of places. “I think cannabis is distinctive in that it mixes medicine with recreation in a way that feels inherently inclusive. By combining fine-art photography with the act of smoking, I think these portraits offer a different insight and perception. Plus, smoke is beautiful and ever-changing; it’s as unique as the participants in this project.”

What do you think of Levitov's portraits? Post a comment or email your thoughts to marijuana@westword.com.

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