I remember writing a paper in a sociology class about smoking pot.
It was 1969 and the hippie scene was happening big time all over LA and everywhere else too. I was going to Cal State LA and I had very long, bushy hair half way down my back and a big beard and I was taking a Deviant Behavior sociology class. I remember wearing a tee shirt with a giant green marijuana leaf stenciled on the back of it. The teacher liked a paper I wrote and asked me to read it to the class. I remember thinking about how much I hated to make “oral reports” in high school and how the teachers always made every one of us do one in grammar and high school.
But this was college after I got back from Vietnam and I got up in front of the class and I basically said: “Pot is good for creativity and relaxation and sleep and dancing and even making love. Pot is good. It should be legalized. Here’s a petition for you to sign that I got out of the LA Free Press.” I even rolled up a bunch of look-alike joints made of tobacco and passed them out to the class. That, in itself got people excited.
Most of the students thought it was a crazy idea and wouldn’t sign the petition. I was amazed that they didn’t want to see pot legalized. “How could they not?” I wondered.
So here it is now 40 some years later and it’s just about legalized. People say most of it is in the hands of drug cartels that are making billions of dollars dealing it. They say if it was legal altogether the government could tax it and the incentive for criminals to grow it would be lost.
I’m sure there are some good reasons for using pot like pain control and glaucoma and all you need today is a prescription that you can get just about anywhere for just about any reason; “Oh, you got headaches, here’s a script.” All you have to do is pay some clinic (and there are hundreds of them) a hundred bucks and you’re legal to smoke and grow up to six huge plants.
And then you get 10 other people with scripts to grow a bunch of plants and people are making a lot of money doing just that and there ain’t no way it’s all for legal (medicinal) purposes. I mean the stuff sells for $1800.00 a pound and it grows like a weed.
Each plant can grow several pounds of some very powerful pot. Multiply that by 10 or 100 or 1000 and we’re talking some big bucks. I hear it’s now the largest crop in California.
The large pot farmers get away with it on the guise of a bunch of people having scripts. A neighbor of mine knocked down his house with a bulldozer, put it in a pile and burned the house up completely. Then he cut down a bunch of beautiful old tall oak and tall pine trees, put up a tall fence with “No trespassing” signs all over it and he’s now legal to grow marijuana for himself and a bunch of other people with scripts.
That’s bad enough but now huge parcels of land in the hills of Butte County and much of Northern California are being stripped of trees and graded down to make terraces for thousands of plants and polluting the land and water with harsh chemicals used as fertilizer.
How do I feel about getting high today? Well, I’m thinking two things:
1) I had a good friend who lived across the street from me in Chico for several years who I used to go swimming with and running with all the time. We both had kids the same age who all went to school together. She was a terrific lady. She was on a run a couple of years ago when someone hit and killed her with his car while he was stoned on pot. She was in her late 40’s and was a teacher who all the kids loved.
What happened to the driver? I read in the paper that he had to go to court to deal with some legal issues but naturally he said he was he wasn’t stoned. He said something distracted him. I don’t remember if he was convicted of a crime or not but he’s probably free today and probably still getting stoned. Meanwhile my friend suffered a horrible death by someone driving a car while stoned on pot, her kids are motherless, a school lost a good teacher and I lost a good friend.
I know people say whether it’s legal or not, people are going to smoke pot and they are going to get high. Yes, they are, but I guess I’m afraid legalizing it only encourages it more and therefore more people will probably smoke it (or ingest it in other ways) and be on the road driving while stoned and more people, like my friend will be hurt or killed.
2) What’s up with so many people wanting to be intoxicated? I mean if it’s not alcohol, it’s drugs of some type or other, whether it’s legal prescription drugs or illegal drugs, including the so-called “harmless” drug of marijuana.
And back when I was smoking pot, it was basically “rag-weed” with lots of seeds and stems where you could smoke a whole joint and basically just get a buzz. But, let me tell you, the stuff being grown today is not like that. You take one hit and you are high. You take more hits and you are stoned and you can’t remember your name, not to mention how to safely drive a car or operate any other type of machinery.
I don’t care if people want to use drugs. I do care if and when it endangers other people on the road or other places like pilots flying airplanes or conductors driving trains or people driving boats while intoxicated – which they do all the time and it causes causalities every single day. 30,000 people are killed on the road every year in the US caused by alcohol related and other DUI so-called “accidents.”
So, for me, I don’t care if people want to get high. Fine, get high if you want to. I just don’t want them to hurt anybody else while doing it. Stay home if you’re getting stoned.
And I’d like us to deal with the reason why so many people seem to want to use drugs and get high so much.
I’ll write about why I think that is in another post.
Hillside degradation in Butte County caused by marijuana plantations.