I’ve never smoked marijuana. Yes, I’ve seen others use it and have been pressured to try it. But the desire to experience its mood-altering effects just never appealed to me. The only stimulant I indulge in is coffee, a consumable that’s just as addictive and, if Starbucks is your “dealer”, could be just as expensive. But having a dose of caffeine-fuelled bliss is so important to me that my meticulous and efficient approach to packing a percolator is probably on par with the care and skill that most “high men” put into rolling a joint. That being said, my avoidance of the substance means I am also ignorant to all the minutia that surrounds it. I don’t know how much it costs, how it is parcelled out, how to prepare it, the protocols for sharing, and so on and so forth. However, my personal choice doesn’t equate to an opinion that “I don’t use it, so you shouldn’t either”. And I think it’s high time we settle this burning issue by facing the blunt truth.
One of the things I remember from my time as a university student in England was an official police notice posted in the dormitory. It read, “Regardless of your personal beliefs, please remember that possession and use of Cannabis is against the law!” I used to chuckle every time I saw it, thinking that it was counterproductive to smoke weed while trying to study. But in hindsight – why or what exactly makes marijuana illegal? I know it sounds like a nonsensical question, but there must be more than the circular explanation that “it’s illegal because it’s a drug”. If it’s a matter of health risks and its addictive nature then let’s put things into perspective. On average, smoking kills around 5 million people worldwide every year, and alcohol-related deaths amount to almost 2 million. Yet both cigarettes and alcohol remain legal despite the dangers they potentially pose.
Marijuana has a long history of human use. In fact – at the risk of sounding blasphemous – it makes you wonder if Moses’ encounter with the “burning bush” really meant something else. On a more serious note, there’s no disputing that its effects can be varied; with excessive use (and abuse) resulting in serious mental and physical ailments. In moderation, marijuana is probably no more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. And if so, should be treated in the same way that those “legal drugs” are… regulated by the state and left up to the individual’s responsibility. In light of the stresses incurred by the pandemic and the economic downturn, that day may be coming. But just remember that it’s still against the law. Besides… I’ve been told that smoking weed doesn’t make time pass any faster.