Where I live, it is legal to buy and consume marijuana. The law passed in November 2012; after much study and structuring, we have commercial growers, inspectors, stores, and state taxes. There are three pot shops in my local area. ID’s are checked at the door. Cash only. The product is extensively labeled as to the chemical content. For somewhere between fifty and seventy dollars, including taxes, I can buy a couple grams, enough green stuff to not quite fill, but to rattle around loose in, an old film canister. Those are all facts.
A joke: Now that Washington and Colorado have both legalized recreational marijuana use, this gives a new meaning to the phrase “the lower 48,” when talking about American states. Well, except that Alaska has had permissive laws about pot since 1975. I learned this by googling “legalization,” to see if people are writing personal blogs about this cultural tsunami. What I found, in my admittedly brief google search, is that most writings about pot are still political, legal, impersonal. The knee-jerk joke would be that weed consumers are too stoned to be able to write about our new reality. Or still paranoid.
The common belief, forever, has been that smoking marijuana makes people paranoid. I’ve always thought that it was the illegality, more than the drug, that created the fears associated with smoking herb. Illegality also made for creative vocabulary. Weed, pot, herb, smoke, cannabis. In my twenties, I invented special hand-written flying bird punctuations to use in journal entries, to indicate which entries were written while high. I wanted to be studying myself honestly, to track what was happening to me even though it was illegal. Basically, I’m the Girl Scout type, law-abiding, honest, always prepared. One must be careful. Even now, many people are afraid the laws could turn on us. People will judge us. We’re still being careful, private, quiet. Old habits die hard.
When the marijuana shops opened, I certainly wasn’t thinking Wow, now I can try this new thing. I thought This will be convenient. I smoked my first joint in 1975. In 1978, I grew my own; I became a gardener because of that summer. I didn’t smoke for twenty-five years, mid-life. In my hippie life, I’ve smoked plenty of pot, but, until this recent state-taxed legalization, I never paid for it. Parallel to my experiences with sex, actually. Part of the gift economy. Sacred, fun, private, loaded with responsibilities. Subject to abuse. Be careful.
Since losing Will, I’ve rediscovered cannabis; it helps me to relax, sleep better. Nice dreams. Before it was legal, I wrote my nervous truth, using codes, in my diaries. “good thc,” or “thc all gone,” I would scribble. This summer, I came home with my first legal purchase and wrote “Went to town and bought marijuana! Wow.” That “wow” wasn’t about the thc high. That was my writer self, finally free to write those honest words. That’s a thrilling freedom, worth fighting to keep. Use it or lose it.