Mmmmmmmarijuana. The state of Virginia is set to allow cultivation and possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal and recreational use. I’m a 70s sort of guy. I loved marijuana when you could buy a few ounces for a few dollars and be reasonably sure that no one had altered the product with angel dust, rat poison, PCP, meth, or any other nasty substance that could cause harm.
I used to grow it in my basement under Gro Lights, water it, feed it according to A Child’s Garden of Grass, the classic book by Jack Margolis and Richard Clorfene. I also grew it on the roof of my downtown townhouse until neighborhood thieves ripped off my entire garden.
When the plants were a few feet tall and bright green, I would pick off the top buds of the female and ruthlessly assassinate the male plants, thus causing the females to go nuts, flower, and produce (or so it was believed) a particularly potent plant that some called sinsemilla. The plants were dried in toaster ovens, packed in little baggies, and distributed free of charge to my needy friends, who would in turn gift me cookies, cakes, and bhang, an “edible mixture made from the buds, leaves, and flowers of the female cannabis, or marijuana, plant. In India, it’s been added to food and drinks for thousands of years and is a feature of Hindu religious practices, rituals, and festivals—including the popular spring festival of Holi.” I am quoting here from Healthline.com.
I met one of my best friends when the home-made trailer he was towing rolled through Adams Morgan, laden with a variety of cannabis sativa. I said, “Interesting crop you have there,” and he grinned sheepishly, and we’ve been BFFLs since then.
One time, I stuffed our Thanksgiving turkey with about half-an-ounce of powdered grass. My mother, who during the war in North Africa had had some experience with hashish, immediately knew something was awry. My father, an innocent, raved about the meal, pronouncing it the best he’d ever had. He destroyed a plate of unadulterated brownies and passed out in my living room easy chair. My mom and I did not speak of the incident, but I think her trust in my culinary skills took a nosedive. She never let me cook for her and my father again.
The legalization of recreational marijuana is for me somewhat problematic. Some thirty years ago, I gave up drugs and alcohol. I no longer miss them, because there’s no doubt in my mind that drug usage did not serve me well. Twenty-three years ago, I stopped smoking. I know that cannabis smoke is not good for you, though it has been declared less harmful than smoking tobacco. It also has some proven medicinal effects.
I have never believed that marijuana is truly harmful. I was an addiction counselor for a decade, and not once did an addict or alcoholic I was working with tell me marijuana was the cause of his or her ills. I don’t think marijuana is a gateway drug; I think alcohol and nicotine, both legal, are responsible for far more harm than any cannabis harvest. I actually will welcome taxation of marijuana products, as well as USDA regulations ensuring purity.
But I’m not sure what I will do when a Hmmariuana (the real name of a projected chain) store opens in the neighborhood. I may be tempted to see if I can still roll a joint with one hand. This was an acquired skill I would not want to lose, as was creating a bong from an empty Coke can and a piece of tin foil.
What to do… I’m willing to listen to reason and take advice from my peers.