Yesterday was 4/20. THE day for marijuana, for reasons I just learned. A Facebook friend in Colorado was lamenting people openly celebrating by illegally smoking in public and hoping 4/21 would suddenly become random drug test day. I could not disagree more and not because I am any type of pot head. Yes, I smoked AND inhaled. It was nothing to write home about, save that one time when I got so high that I hallucinated, and, much to my concern and dismay, awoke to find my brain still buzzing some sixteen hours later. There are people who envy this, but for me, it felt more like a burden. I was not myself, and I kind of like who I am. I am silly and crazy and goofy and fun. I do alright without outside help. And before you think to mention my great love for whiskey, being intoxicated by it isn’t my desire. The hubster laughs at me when I ask not for a drink, but to share a glass, just so I can savor a drop on my tongue and, best of all, smell it in between his sips, because that heady woody sweetness is truly divine.
As for our disagreement, I don’t believe smoking marijuana in public is any different than smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol. All are destructive to the body in one fashion or another. All can be pretty vile. All can lead to people behaving badly.
So why not in public? Who are we protecting? Children? That doesn’t really fly. Kids can see people smoking cigarettes on just about every street corner in America, and especially in Pittsburgh. Yowza, this city has not gotten the Surgeon General’s memo. I am constantly baffled by the sheer number of smokers here. So what’s the difference if the smoke is from weed rather than tobacco? Neither is great for the lungs or air quality. And much to my surprise, neither can really give the passer-by a contact high.
Children can see people drinking just about anywhere, too. Sidewalk cafés, restaurants, concerts, sporting events, in their own homes. All of it is perfectly legal. So why the stigma? Growing up, I saw legal drinking and drunkenness on a scale that frightened me. Adults smashing beer bottles and brawling. Adults crawling because they were too drunk to stand on their own two feet. Adults vomiting on the neighbor’s lawn after a wild night of partying. And the absolute worst, adults driving children in their protection, wild, fast, and furious, hoping not to get stopped by the cops, while I watched in terror as the center line drifted to the left and the right.
But marijuana, it’s real trouble and should be kept hidden from the public eye. Sure. Tell yourself whatever you like.