Since I have no aspirations for public office, I don’t mind telling you: I got high in college. And, well, for a few years after college. I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations on that has expired, but if not, could someone come bail me out? Or is it just a misdemeanor? I honestly don’t know what the law says anymore, because I actually haven’t had any pot in a long time.
And I don’t miss it. It wasn’t my thing. I come from a family of addicts, but our drugs of choice are alcohol, food and controversy. I think we can all guess, with some degree of accuracy, where I get my fix. But, being a college student, I did my duty, and yeah, it was OK. I mean, for me, it was never anything great. If it was there, woo-hoo. If it wasn’t, well, I didn’t really notice. I had friends who would drop acid, which, honestly, terrified me, so I just kind of hung out in my dorm room or with my theatre friends, drank Michelob Dry, and occasionally would take a toke off a joint. That’s about as far as it went for me and, really, as far as it went for most of us. We weren’t users. Cocaine? Pfft, what was this, 1986? Opium? What were we, Romantic poets? Heroin? What was I, stupid? No, pot as far as that train went. I never even considered anything other than weed.
That’s the thing about getting high: It does NOT make you want to go out get more drugs. It does not make you want to go out and party. It makes you want to call a friend and ask them to bring you Hot Pockets. Clearly, I’m not speaking for everyone who’s tried it, but I think I’m speaking for a lot of us. And even if you are one of those folks who does get high and get geared up, odds are smoking a joint has never tempted you to snort a line of coke.
Which is why I don’t see a problem with voting yes on Amendment Two, which would decriminalize medical marijuana. If it can help a cancer patient, or someone with glaucoma, or an AIDS patient, why are we making it a crime to do so?
We need to legalize weed as quickly as we can, but not just for medicinal reasons. Compared to many other drugs, pot is the healthy choice. Seriously. It’s a plant. For someone who still makes sure her tuna fish doesn’t kill dolphins, eats grass-fed beef whenever she can, and will not tolerate milk from cows treated with the bovine growth hormone, it shouldn’t shock you that I found marijuana the safest option with which to experiment in college. It was practically a vegetable, after all. But by keeping it illegal, we’re forcing people away from a plant and into synthetics. Many legal and legal-ish marijuana alternatives out there scare me, and because people who don’t know better think these synthetics are safe, we are seeing medical issues arise that we never saw when kids smoked grass. Spice, which is a name that covers a multitude of fake types of pot, has “designer” ingredients that, one by one, lawmakers make illegal to save us from ourselves, but as they do, the companies making the stuff just change the ingredients to something else so that the newest version remains mostly legal.
Spice can stop blood from flowing to your heart, cause hallucinations, and the occasional heart attack. That’s because the synthetics Spice makers use to mimic cannabis bind to the same receptors in your cells as real pot does, only with unpredictable reactions.
Look, Amendment Two is clearly the first step. It’s only for medicinal purposes and doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a step nonetheless. Our society will always find ways to recreate with mind-altering substances, and this would be a huge source of revenue for government. It would also offer a safe alternative to all the quasi-legal Spicy alternatives. Less death and more money for government? Don’t mind if I do. And if you disagree? Don’t buy the stuff. Using marijuana is a victimless crime. Let us keep your taxes low by taxing those who wish to indulge.
Plus – and this is just me, perhaps – in a world simultaneously seeking vices and safe food, doesn’t organic pot just make sense? I mean, come on, it hits all the high notes: It’s gluten free, it does not contain nuts, and if the government regulates it, the USDA can certify some of it 100% organic, which means a dime bag will cost… well, quite a bit more.
And, most assuredly, it will be dolphin-safe.
Hard Candy is an opinion column written by veteran reporter Cathy Salustri. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Gabber publishers, staff or advertisers. Contact Cathy Salustri at CathySalustri@theGabber.com.