Cannabis has been a part of my life since 1968, when I turned 20. Although we have had long periods of not seeing one another, Ms. Mary Jane Cannabis Pot has been a good friend in my social and cultural scene for more than 40 years.
MJ and I grew up in a generation that deemed this herb as a vital staple of our daily diet and a means of enlivening connections with our fellow-man or woman.
Despite warnings that marijuana is a gateway drug, I never found cannabis to be a gateway to anything other than enhancing social situations such as concerts or parties, or increasing pleasure in sexuality. And giving you a major case of the munchies.
I did, however, have conflicted feelings about my love of altered states. Knowing that any enhanced state could be achieved through the stimulation of different parts of the cerebral cortex, there was always the thought that I could go to my happy place through a more “pure means” such as meditation, yoga, diet, or through a guru’s grace– if I weren’t so lazy.
Also, ingesting pot is a small, radical act. You are breaking a law. It is an illegal substance. However, once you get past that idea, and you are a different person.. You no longer are in the group of people who thinks “drugs are bad”, because you use them. And because you use them, you don’t fear feeling enhanced. You might even begin to wonder why is there so much fear around these substances? What other “laws” are there that we go along with by rote without examining what they are for?
Flashback to the 1980’s. The social and political “correctness” or acceptance of marijuana changed in the post-hippie apathy. We heard years of “Just say no!” from anorexic-looking Nancy Reagan. Pot became more underground. You didn’t always know whom of your newer friends were using or not, and whether they would like you for choosing to do so.
In my life, there were times I took breaks from smoking pot. I stopped smoking marijuana when my husband and I decided to become parents.
When I did return to having a relationship with Mary Jane, pot was different. Now it was not a lid (an ounce) that got you through the night, but one small toke of some super bud was plenty to change your state. There were strains and that had names and different psychological and physical effects. People began to investigate how marijuana could enhance someone’s life while undergoing acute medical treatment for cancer, AIDS, chronic pain. In other words, there were more uses for marijuana than recreational.
Today, medical marijuana has slipped through the cracks and become established business. Currently, there are more green dispensaries than McDonald’s in Los Angeles. Now that is really something. Marijuana is normal, not seen as “the evil weed”, leading to reefer madness.
Coming from my history and the times that I grew up in and the medical marijuana movement, it is easy to see how I could forget that the rest of the country doesn’t necessarily feel the same way about pot as I do.
Imagine my surprise after crossing the Texas border near El Paso with my husband and dog this winter, that the US Border Patrol pulled us over to search our camper. At first, I was disbelieving. How can this happen? We pay our taxes. We vote in elections. We are contributing members to society. How is it possible that 4 patrol-ers are searching our camper with a trained sniffer canine while two more members of the cadre have moved us and our standard poodle away from the vehicle and are questioning us?
Bottom line: they confiscated our cache. we got back in the camper and left . The fed dog got a treat for finding the stash.
Everyone says we are lucky that we weren’t arrested.
I feel that way too. I know that pot is still illegal, with or without a medical permission slip from the doctor.
But it strikes me funny that 4 patrollers and a German Shepherd are searching our vehicle for less than a 1/8 ounce of pot.
We are not concealing weapons, terrorists, aliens of any sort, or even trafficking anything. I am willingly and knowingly enhancing my life with marijuana. I am not sharing it with young children, old children, or anyone else.I am not asking anyone else to agree with me.
I understand that a law is a law, and I also understand the benign nature of pot. Marijuana is not a substance that mounts revolutions. It is lovely addition to a life filled with sensual, state-altering pleasurable choices: a good wine, chocolate, espresso. And my friend Mary Jane.