I stopped smoking pot years ago because it was raising my blood pressure, making me paranoid and holding me back.
This is not meant to criticize my peers who still enjoy getting high; or those who use “medicinal” marijuana.
In fact, I have some very positive associations to my years as a pot head, particularly when its use had a counter-cultural dimension and helped shape my identity as a “dissident.”
I will spare the “Hunter Thomsomesque” anecdotes here except to confide that getting stoned in high school and college stimulated my imagination, curiosity, adventurousness and sense of possibility. Then there was that whole generational solidarity thing. That was cool.
But this piece is not to reminiscence about those days but to confess my ambivalence over what’s become an irreversible trend toward marijuana legalization.
Not that I don’t think pot should be de-criminalized; I’m just not sure making it more commercially available is a good idea.
Now, I do enjoy the carnival atmosphere of medical marijuana sales on Beach Front Walk in Venice, California where cute young men and women lure customers into the shop for their prescription and medication; advising all that "the doctor is in.” Our version of Amsterdam.
With the passage of Measure D in Los Angeles, however, the dispensary system will be subject to tighter control. Likewise, Colorado will figure out its method of distribution (no need for a doctor’s note there).
I have two worries:
First, that state governments will get hooked on pot as a revenue source. Money from state-run lotteries and tax receipts from privately operated casino gambling already has the government as bookie, feeding the public’s addiction.
States will next figure out how to get their take in the marijuana business. Why tax the rich when you can get your cut in arranging pot deals?
Second, I'm concerned about kids and pot. When mine were teenagers, they were vaporizing as well as smoking. I turned down all requests to join them. I wasn’t an overbearing parent (they’re now in their twenties) but didn’t want either of them to pick up the habit.
Then again, what could I say? At their age, I was sitting with a joint on my porch in Dummerston, Vermont looking for shooting stars and thinking about whatever.