I came of age in the 60s, when everyone smoked pot. Plenty of my friends arrived at high school high each day. So did several of my teachers. (I knew kids who smoked pot every day WITH their teachers.)
I was never a pothead, but if a joint was going around I wouldn't turn down a hit. I continued to toke through college and law school. But when I got married and got pregnant, I stopped. During the years I was raising my son, I didn't touch pot. Pot spaces me out; to take care of a toddler you need lightning-fast reflexes and a clear head.
The other moms in my circle seemed to agree. We never passed a joint around while watching our kids at the local playground, and nobody ever brought a bong to Sally's Music Circle. When my son reached high school, I didn't smoke pot because I didn't want to be a hypocrite. How could I tell my kid to avoid the stuff if I was getting high myself?
Now that my son is grown up, happily married and living in California, the only good reason not to smoke pot is that it isn't legal.
Sometimes I smoke it anyway.
The suburb I live in is full of criminals -- ordinary middle-class folks like me, with jobs and homes and kids, who pay their taxes and obey the laws. Except when it comes to smoking pot.
I'm still just a social smoker. I never buy pot and I never smoke alone. But at a gathering of Boomers, pot will often appear, and I'll happily take a hit. But if I wanted to buy something illegal to smoke, there are plenty of folks right in this neighborhood I could get it from. They aren't drug dealers. Just friends and neighbors who would share their stash. Accountants. Attorneys. Business owners.
Your basic upstanding, pot-smoking citizens.
My neighborhood isn't unusual. I'm guessing that there's at least one person who sells reefer on every block of this quiet, middle-class suburb. Pot is ubiquitous. It's no worse for you than beer. Why not legalize it?
When my son was a teenager, one of the biggest pot dealers in his high school happened to live nearby. Marcy was smart and popular. She made a lot of money and never got busted. She recently graduated from law school. Now she's working at a hedge fund. Smoking pot didn't ruin her life. SELLING pot didn't even ruin her life. Would I like to put entrepreneurial, go-getting kids like Marcy out of business by legalizing marijuana?
You bet I would.
Even Pat Robertson has called for the legalization of marijuana. Of course, Bill Maher has been advocating for legal pot for years, but when a stoner like Maher says let's legalize pot, it isn't news. When a right-winger like Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legal, that's a different story. It means, to quote Boomer Philosopher Bob Dylan, that the times, they are a changing.
They can't change fast enough for me. As a left-leaning, tree-hugging, gay-supporting, atheist liberal democrat, I never thought I'd say this, but I agree with Pat Robertson.
(First published on Newsworks.org.)
Roz Warren's latest book is Our Bodies Our Shelves, A Collection of Library Humor.
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