The Universality of Coming Out

Recently, a colleague approached me with some feedback regarding a popular social media campaign within the cannabis community.

He’s not turned on by the fact that the #comingoutgreen campaign “borrows” on the LGBTQA+ theme of coming out of the closet—a metaphorical nod to the act of a person of alternative gender identity or sexual orientation no longer hiding their true lifestyle.

The Act of Coming Out

When fully exercised, coming out involves either no longer hiding or even directly informing friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors of one’s position in terms of how they identify and what they want.

Coming out may have become a recognized life event for some because of the LGBTQA+ community, but it is an equally powerful experience of courage, rebirth, and honesty for millions of cannabis consumers throughout North America.


Macro shot of a fuzzy backyard bee in Cleveland, Ohio.

Coming out is a grand catharsis; a significant life event involving a brave defiance interwoven with self-confidence. It’s something with which most straight, middle class “conforming” Americans cannot relate.

Catharsis & Truth

Coming out is the act of recognizing one’s true nature and declaring it for all others to see—with pride and determination.

It involves embracing catharsis and honesty. We could argue over whether these elements are necessary for the happiness and contentment of the human spirit until the cows come home. My point isn’t to debate philosophy, but rather to proclaim the healing powers of honesty to oneself and those around them.

If the benefits of catharsis and truth are so great for one set of people, why not for another? Ok, so we have catharsis and truth behind the power of coming out. But there is an even more important theme: Inclusivity.


A backyard cannabis plant (Toronto; 2007).

The entire concept of coming out, optimistically speaking, is that the majority will accept the minority member who is doing the coming out. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t always true.

For some, coming out has had very negative repercussions. I certainly don’t want to trivialize these challenging and sometimes even horrific experiences, especially for teens in homes with little or no sensitivity to their situation.


Just as society at large must accept and, preferably, embrace alternative viewpoints and preferences, such as homosexuals and cannabis users, as they emerge from the shadows, the leaders of the cannabis movement/industry/culture must also focus on inclusivity if they wish to accomplish their goals. This includes all users of cannabis, be they straight, gay, black, white, rich, poor—and regardless of how or if they pray.

Whether your goal is to see national legalization, help those in the cannabis and patient communities, or just to make a boatload of money with a business based in a legal state, the topic of inclusivity won’t go away. Groups like Women Grow and others are sincerely battling with this issue every day.


Folk blues virtuoso guitarist Joe Rollin Porter (Cleveland; 2015).

Coming out requires boatloads of bravery and is not always without punishment of the innocent. Optimistically, however, it can result in a soul-liberating catharsis and integration of truth into one’s life.

But without inclusion, coming out doesn’t work. This fact is as important for the cannabis community as it is for LGBTQA+ people revealing their true selves to society.

Gooey Rabinski

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2018 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.