Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Smoked Marijuana Once (a.k.a. Lock Her Up, She's A Drug Addict!)

Well, I did it. Last weekend, I told my parents that I, Little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes, have indeed smoked the ganja. It wasn't planned at all; this wasn't a "Let's sit down and discuss what chemicals I have been putting in my body.". Somehow we were talking about something related to it in the car driving back from the movies. My younger brother then made a claim along the lines of "Yeah, people who smoke it do other stuff, too." and I was so agitated I had to spontaneously (surprised myself, in fact) retort: "Oh come on, marijuana is not a gateway drug.". I think the vehemence of my response got everyone's attention, and then came the sly, joking "How would you know?" from my parents. And there was a long, drawn-out moment where I debated the simple get-out-of-jail-free card of denying it and going along with the unchallenged belief that marijuana is the devil's weed firmly in place in my family, or . . . not. And so I said it, plainly and simply: "Yeah, I've tried it."

Cue: the chaos.

Well, not really. I mean, I wasn't lashed to the stern and whipped or anything, but there were some shrieks from my mother and a good-natured "You could have gotten your passport revoked." from my dad (who, for the record, smoked some himself in his youth). It was all greatly mitigated by my repeated "I didn't care for it." . . . God help me if I had actually enjoyed the stuff.

For it's the truth. I don't know if I'd been expecting a more dreamy and psychadelic state, but I at least wanted it to be a more giggly experience than it was: I felt disassociated from my body and too fuzzy, like I couldn't focus on what was going on, where instead I wanted it to be vibrant and intense. I simply wasn't impressed by marijuana. It stinks and quite frankly, the inhaling the hot smoke into my lungs was a horrid feeling that I'd rather never repeat. Nothing about the experience made me say "Yes, give it to me again!". And so when I had the opportunity recently to do it here in the U.S., I politely declined. Simple as that- I was introduced to it, did it, decided it wasn't my thang.

And I'll admit it. I used to be a weed snob. Definition of my newly
minted-term 'weed snob': someone [most often the subject of propaganda and/or
misinformation] who is overtly proud of the fact that they have not smoked
marijuana and hence feels they are morally superior to those who have. That
didn't mean that I wasn't curious about it, but that curiosity tended to make
the abstinence feel even better: hey, look at me, I'm keeping away from this
vile drug that grabs innocent young teenagers in their prime! You won't get me
this time, evil plant! Ha ha!

Except that it did, apparently, "get
me". I've had my tryst with Mary Jane and she was just so-so in bed.

And for that I'm supposed to be tainted, irrevocably scarred, and somehow
deprived of my innocence? If anything, smoking marijuana was an eye opener for
me- and not because of THC. I instead got to thinking about what exactly formed
my previous concepts of the drug, and what continues to create this smug
ideological gap between aforementioned weed snobs and habitual smokers- with
occasoinal users and those who have tried it caught somewhere in between. Never
in my life was I told about marijuana in an informed way. If anything, the
resounding message that family, schools, commercials, and government policy told
me sounds a lot like this: Hey
kids, drugs are bad, you shouldn't do drugs, mkay, if you do them, you are bad,
because drugs are bad, mkay, it's a bad thing to do drugs, so don't be bad, by
doing drugs, mkay, that would be bad, because drugs are bad, mkay . . .

Actually, I've never had people treat me quite as much like a logical human
being as the people in Japan who smoked marijuana and let me try it. The guy who
smoked quite often- from whom I expected nothing more than persuasive egging-on
to try it- from him I instead got a very sincere discussion about the effects,
his reasoning for using it, and just a general no-pressure, non-judgemental
approach. Another guy advised me to do research and look it up- again, no
pressure whatsoever. These guys were knowledgeable and responsible (well, at
least, in this capacity . . . can't speak for some other aspects, sorry, boys)
and surprisingly, bluntly honest about something that beforehand I had never had
discussed in a non-controversial, non-judgemental way. These were people who
courteously blew their smoke out of the window so I wouldn't get a contact high
when I wanted to watch the process, and, after I had declared that no, thanks,
it wasn't for me, encouraged me to take a gander and a whiff so that I'd know if
it was being used somewhere when I didn't want to take part in it.

know that I'm far too progressive in my ideas: God help you if you think people
are basically intelligent and reasonable and that they don't need to be blindly
led around like sheep by all-knowing authority figures. God help you if you
actually are able to express a rationale behind your morality and your choices
instead of pointing to the elders, to a bill of laws, or a tablet with ten
commandments. Take your pick, because they're all the same if you're not backing
them up with some sort of other reasoning. So is it too much to have adults and
the government give it straight to their children and constituents,
respectively? Laying out the bare bone facts with a gentle suggestion and their
reasons for that suggestion, and waiting to see what happens? I'm not saying
that everyone has to tolerate weed-smoking if it doesn't follow their morals; if
you think it's a wrong decision and want to ban it under your roof, go for it.
But treat me like an adult when you do it.

My parents gave me my
first sip of wine at maybe 14 and from then on, I had a high school career full
of perfectly parentally-sanctioned underage drinking at home. Considering that
my liver will probably be much more damaged than any part of me ever would be by
marijuana, I have to say that I find a great deal of irony in the blind
condemnation of weed. But then again, that's the truth of the rest of society-
for whatever reason, we've got a major comprehension problem with drugs, but not
with alcohol. I suppose the war on drugs is working on at least one front, then:
everyone who doesn't do/hasn't done drugs can march on safely assured they've
made the right choice and meanwhile the rest of the people are doing it and the
real problems with drugs continue on unabated.

But I seriously didn't
mean for this blog to become a political manifesto. Rather, I want to bring it
back to the personal: I did it. No big deal. I'm not going to become a pothead.
And I have a new attitude towards those who are- it isn't respect, it isn't
condemnation, it's just- okay. Now let me evaluate you and figure out what kind
of person you are based on everything else.

That's all for

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