Is Marijuana the New Gay?
You’re hanging with some friends in Upstate New York. The area is so green and lush you just want to sit back and smell it. Literally. And why not? Who knows when you’ll be back this way? Fortunately, there’s another way to satiate your craving for green.
We head to the basement. “This is the smoke room,” announces your friend’s husband. Like a tour guide, he opens the door to a room filled with posters from some of the best movies ever made: Pulp Fiction, The Hangover, and Half Baked are just a few samples of what’s on display.
Yes, this would be the smoke room.
So the dutchie gets passed from the left hand side, and the first thing you notice as you’re holding it is how wonderfully green it smells. If the aroma from outside had a little stank on it, it would smell like this. You almost don’t need to inhale, it’s so fragrant; but as Barack Obama says, ‘That’s the point.’
After taking one puff, you find yourself California dreamin.’
“This is the shit,” you say. “It reminds me of LA.”
“It is from LA,” says DJ, the brother of your best friend, whom you’ve known since he was a kid.
“How did you get it?”
“I brought it in.”
Your head spins in a circle. You picture him at the airport surrounded by drooling dogs, police officers and secret service agents with handcuffs so tight they’re cutting off his circulation while he screams “Give me free!!!”
“Don’t worry,” he says. “I do it all the time. Everybody I know does it.”
“You do realize it’s illegal though?”
“Yeah, but I don’t carry a lot for them to be trippin’ like that. And if I’m carrying more, I just wrap it up in plastic and put it in my shampoo bottle.”
“But aren’t you scared? Remember when Whitney Houston got busted?”
“Yeah, but that was Whitney Houston. I’m just some random guy walking through the airport. To be honest with you, I expect them to know I’m high or carrying weed. Usually, I reek of it. If they were ever going to arrest me they would have done it by now.”
“Why don’t you think they have?”
“Cuz on the scale of what’s important it doesn’t rate that high. You got people carrying weapons and bombs and heroin. My boy was just telling me the other day that he goes through airport security with it right in his carry-on.”
Your mind flashes to an image of a young guy standing in front of a security officer with a bag full of Cali weed.
“Can’t they smell it?”
“I’m telling you they don’t care like that. It’s almost expected. You got States legalizing it, and if you have that card, you can even travel with it. You can’t really stop it.”
“It’s the new gay,” you say.
You got transgender actress Laverne Cox on the cover of Time and gay footballer Michael Sam reducing grown men to tears at this year’s ESPYs. Now marijuana is about to turn the corner and, frankly, you couldn’t be happier, becuz America needs to chill. People are fighting over everything: immigration, universal health care, minimum wage… What happened to the free-loving 60s, when everything was about peace, love and getting along?
But as you think about it, it’s not just America that’s trippin’; it’s the world. The whole planet could share a blunt right now. We got Russia with their hands on the nuclear trigger, the Gaza Strip is on fire, and North Korea can’t wait to blast South Korea. They make African rebels look like sweethearts. But you know whom you never hear about? That’s right – the Netherlands. With the exception of that plane getting shot down recently, which wasn’t their fault, when was the last time they got into a fight? Funny how the place where weed is legal is one of the most peaceful on earth. Are we so afraid of peace? It wouldn’t exactly boost our image as the world’s superpower if we looked like we wouldn’t hurt a fly. Besides, who would put out all those fires that we start?
The more weed smoke you puff, the more you think. This time it’s about your uncle and his stomach issues and how weed is the only thing that takes away the pain and makes him want to inhale a 10-course meal. But he can’t get a prescription from his doctor, nor can he buy it from his neighbor who sells it out of his apartment at the senior complex where he lives, for fear of going to jail or, even worse, losing his apartment. So he’d rather deal with the pain than get hooked on the real drugs that his doctor’s always trying to prescribe him. Stuff that tampers with his mood and leaves him unable to operate a motorized vehicle. Remember, it wasn’t long ago that a Kennedy crashed into a truck on a NYC highway while on the pill Ambien. I took them by accident, was her defense. You never hear of people accidentally smoking weed and going buck wild on the highway.
Your mind drifts to your friend Beaster, who talks of the unlimited access to ideas that he’s experienced first-hand and seen in others through smoking cannabis. He speaks of the CEO of a successful company he worked for in New York who smoked all the time, but could bust out diagrams of the most complex kind and build just about anything on the spot. When asked his secret, he’d say, “I don’t know; I just smoke weed.”
This idea of weed smokers as underachievers is so played, so yesterday. Steve Jobs smoked weed. Barack Obama smoked weed. I picture George Washington Carver lighting up a spliff while contemplating what to do with the peanut.
Shit, marijuana ain’t even the new gay. It’s been around forever. It’s simply beyond time to turn the corner.
“It’s time to turn that corner,” says DJ, echoing your thoughts.
“It is,” you say, savoring the last puff. “It’s time for the next new.”