What Grinds Our Gears: Respect the people around you when you light up, even on 4/20

Photo by Luther Bottrill via Unsplash

By: Ruth Leavitt, SFU Student

On 4/20, a group of teenagers lit up their weed on a SkyTrain car. It was late at night, so the car was full but not crowded. I had to flee to the next car to escape the smoke, and I wasn’t alone.

I don’t object to weed. I know people who use it medicinally. But I also experience anxiety symptoms when exposed to it.

Lighting up on SkyTrains is an extreme form of people failing to think about others when they smoke. On a good day, I’m already dodging cigarette smoke at transit exchanges so I don’t spend the next hour with my chest tight and my throat sore. The incident on April 20 was unfortunately another example of this inconsiderate behaviour. It left me with symptoms similar to anger or the start of a panic attack — I couldn’t tell which.

4/20 should not be the St. Patrick’s Day of weed. You don’t get to go out, get high, and get it all over the seat next to you because it’s “just a little fun.” It’s not. Just like alcohol and cigarettes, weed can have unpredictable results for different people, and people have the right to control their exposure. Taking away that right by taking your pot out in spaces that people cannot escape is not just rude but dangerous.

Enjoy your holiday. Take it to the park or your own private space. But don’t bring it out in a place where the person next to you cannot choose to leave. 4/20 should be about the right to choose to use weed or not. Respect that, and keep both options open for others too.