It seems like whenever I come home for the holidays, or return from some epic hippie event like Burning Man or another traveling adventure, my parents try to elicit a confession from me of an illicit nature. Since they were both trouble-makers in their day, I can only assume they want to hear something on par with their hippie 70s years, something Ken Kesey worthy, like dropping acid and partying with the Hell’s Angels or stumbling upon an orgy in the desert or participating in some strange, tribal ceremony that I pledged on pain of death never to discuss (all of which may or may not have happened). I always counter them with an equal dare that if I tell them something I’d rather they never know, they have to tell me something they never imagined telling their children one day. And surprise, surprise, it never works. So since we seem to be at an impasse, I’ve decided to gift to them and to all my diligent readers what you might call a freebie, or what some people refer to as a death bed confession (I’m not dying, for goodness sake, I’m just saying, this is one of those things you might only confess to your loved ones on your death bed, so don’t freak out). So Momma and Daddy, friends, God, the Universe, etc., etc., here it is.
I, Jacquelyn Elise Dent, used to………….
Whew! There it is. Out in the open for everyone to see and judge. I know, I know, you could never imagine how such a lovely angel as myself could EVER get mixed up in something so evil and vile and corruptive as pot. But I did and somehow I turned out okay, imagine that.
But this isn’t really about me and my silly confessions. This post, however, IS inspired by that innocent little green plant that has caused so much argument and strife in our own country.
Parents, if you’ve ever wondered where all that pot comes from that your impertinent kids smoke or that you smoked at their age, it’s Northern California. I came out here feeling generally ambiguous towards pot. I didn’t smoke it (anymore), I didn’t know much about it besides how it made me feel (stupid, sleepy, numb, happy, hungry), and I certainly didn’t care whether it was legalized or not. Now that I live in a place where nearly everyone smokes and advocates for its legalization, I’ve started forming my own ideas on the subject, whatever they may be worth. I used to smoke in high school because 1.) the town I lived in was mind-numbingly BORING and I felt like I needed something equally mind-numbing to negate the numbness, 2.) everyone I knew was doing it and I was a new kid in a new school and wanted to be cool too, 3.) I had this troublesome habit of wanting to do things my parents explicitly told me not to do. So I smoked and ate and did silly things with my friends and then fell asleep, like ya do. In college, I continued to smoke every once in awhile and fancied myself grown up and somewhat evolved because I could sit in the grass with my friends and have esoteric conversations about the state of the world and energies and the healing properties of this lovely little herb. And then I’d fall asleep, like ya do. So it took several years of smoking and not being particularly productive while stoned for me to figure out that…I was not particularly productive while stoned. And I love occasionally laying around and being lazy like the next guy, but I eventually realized that no matter what strain of pot I smoked, I always got that fuzzy head stupid feeling that made me want to close my eyes and feel simultaneously hot and cold, heavy and light, while stars and swirl patterns danced across my closed eyelids. In short, smoking makes me worthless.
Thankfully, not everyone is like that. It wasn’t until I moved here that I realized there are actually people who can smoke all day long and go to work and build things and hold normal conversations without sounding and acting like Steve Spicoli. Most of these people hold medical marijuana prescriptions for a myriad of ailments (including, ironically, a chronic cough) and smoke on a regular basis to heal their pain.
Now, before I continue, I don’t mean to sound like I’m supporting America’s misguided War on Drugs. Because I’m not certainly NOT. I find it completely ludicrous that our government would rather support alcohol, which is responsible for more car crash fatalities, more domestic abuse cases, more infant mutilations and deaths, hell! more fatalities in general, than does marijuana. Alcohol is literally poison, there is no argument, whereas marijuana is a naturally occurring plant that numbs pain and makes you hungry, sleepy and makes Robot Chicken seem funny. If we had any sense, we could tax it and pour that money into our awful, failing school system, but we don’t, so instead we waste money trying to catch and jail growers and dealers of, arguably, the most innocuous drug that exists! I’ll never understand it.
However, living here has definitely caused me to reevaluate my relationship with pot. Another confession: I smoked once while here and to my complete and utter lack of surprise, my head got fuzzy, I polished off a massive bowl of popcorn, and promptly fell asleep. I think the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different outcome. Turns out I’m certifiable. So I came to the conclusion that smoking is just not for me because, lo and behold, I like not to eat the contents of my fridge in one sitting and I like to have conversations with people that involve more input from me than “uh huh” and “yeah” and “I’m sleepy.” Consequently, I’ve been able to observe more the people I’m surrounded by. You know, the ones who can smoke all day and still function like normal. I listen to them all argue for the legalization of pot and I hear them bitch about the police and the dangers of growing and selling and how it shouldn’t be so hard for them to buy medicine. But these are people who are medicating hip pain and headaches and a COUGH for crying out loud! I thought such medicine was supposed to be for people dying of cancer, people who suffer from fibromyalgia and other diseases that cause unimaginable pain, pain that can’t be ameliorated any other way.
So I listen to these people, to my friends, talk about the beauty and the gift of this plant that heals, and while I agree that it really is a gorgeous plant, that, like all other plants gives us oxygen and helps sustain life, I can’t help but see their arguments as cheap and counter-productive to the pro-legalization movement. It seems to me that such people smoke to cover up reality. They’re not smoking to numb unbearable physical pain, so what’s the use? To numb psychic pain? I thought the whole point of the legalization movement was to make it easier for those who desperately need it to grow or buy their own medicine, not for the world to find temporary happiness through an intoxicant.
Which brings me to another issue. Why do humans so badly need an outside source to provide them with happiness and the eyes to see the fascinating world around us? I know it’s really all just personal preference, but I can appreciate nature’s incredible beauty and the light within people without outside help. I know that we can’t all do that and things just feel better and look better when we’re intoxicated, but I wish the world didn’t need substances to be happy. Why can’t we get high off knowledge and love and each other and nature?
And now I’m just a rambling hippie, so I’ll leave you with those thoughts. I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on this!