We often deal with phenomena in Armenia, which, though, under legal or moral prohibitions, are widely spread. One of such phenomena is the active circulation of marijuana especially among young people.
“You begin to look at things more easily after smoking marijuana. People can eat, drink, dance, the same way they can smoke, create an enjoyable comfort for themselves and pass their leisure time. Besides, it helps to unload the everyday stress, to calm down the thoughts and to accept the reality.”
“Smoking is my weakness, which I accept. I smoke in closed spaces, connected with the fact that my parents don’t know, and I don’t want them to know. I don’t, because I understood that I want to quit or at least to decrease using it.”
The use of marijuana in personal purposes is decriminalized in RA and brings forward only administrative responsibility from two hundred to four hundred fold of the minimum wage, while in the case of making, cultivating, obtaining, shipping marijuana in selling purposes is a criminal act.
“After using marijuana I begin to dig deep into myself, and it always saddens me, because those questions, which I look for during that time, I can’t find. I don’t like my behaviour after smoking, I begin to gabble and I loathe myself.”
“A certain section of the society, as always, doesn’t want to look deeper and understand that people will not feel very bad because of clean marijuana, such cases happen only in the case of chemicals (chemical drugs). I think, mostly the smokers are to blame, because they can’t share their experience with those who are less familiar with it.”
“In the case of many illnesses medical mariujana is one of the cures – different mental illnesses, pains, insomnia.”
The participants of the photo story explain it differently as what their smoking is conditioned by, but, on the whole, their first argument is the comforting of the nerves, regulating their thoughts and sleep more than entertainment. In reality marijuana users vary and do not match with the cliches of the society.
“It’s normal, when people use it for years in everyday regime and they undergo memory loss, they begin to lack energy, etc. Whatever you do frequently, you will have to speak about consequences. But if you smoke marijuana, it doesn’t mean that you have become a drug addict. Reasonable use is very decisive.”
The decriminalization of marijuana is considered socially acceptable in different levels. Many are for legalization of the obtaining of medical marijuana, the others are for decriminalization wholly.
“The aim of our team is the decriminalization of marijuana and its use as medicine. We are struggling for the people not to be jailed just for keeping several grams of it, as well as for the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and for it to be affordable.”
The illegality of marijuana is not an obstacle for it to spread widely, but in the Armenian society it is condemned morally. Many use it secretly not to overshadow their professional, personal relations. But marijuana continues to remain one of the most popular means of entertainment.
The photo story presents mostly those young people, who reason their use of marijuana by their art involvement. Their self-reflective thoughts about the matter bring forward different, sometimes contradicting conclusions. It’s important, though, to stress their demand of turing to the subject and talking about it freely.
The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the 4Plus.