The first time I tried marijuana, I was seventeen years old, in Wisconsin, in winter, sitting in a car in below zero weather, with four other pom pom girls, across the street from the high school, late the night of a football game. No one got high. No one felt anything. And so we concluded that marijuana is an over-rated drug and we went back to doing what was respectable – drinking Boone’s farm wine ‘til we couldn’t walk.
My starter husband was a total stoner. He was ex-Air Force, and smoked the herb daily. He needed that medicine; he was an asshole without it. That marriage lasted about as long as the Iran Hostage Crisis, and when I was finally divorced at the young age of 23, I still hadn’t tried any weed since that day in the car in the parking lot. I drank to forget my troubles, like all good mid-western Catholic girls. And because I held firmly to the belief that marijuana had no effect on me, I was never tempted to smoke my husband’s medicine. Ever.
Shortly after my starter marriage ended, General Electric’s Neutron Jack eliminated my job (and hundreds of others), but I was lucky, the Company transferred me to a position in Atlanta. There, more than four hundred miles away from my family (specifically, my three older brothers), I was free to experiment and there I was introduced to good weed and good cocaine. It was Atlanta in the 1980’s and I was making good money and running in corporate circles and cocaine was everywhere. I learned quickly, however, that weed helped me sleep, while cocaine blew up my sleep schedule. I realized quickly that weed didn’t deplete my body of calcium or any vital ingredients, while white powder definitely did. I learned that weed goes better with wine, that weed is calming, that weed left me with no side effects . . . I gave up the powder and partying, but kept the weed and the wine, in moderation, like medicine. That was thirty years ago, and I am happy to report that we (my drugs and I) have a marvelous relationship to this day.
For the decades following my starter marriage, someone brought me an ounce of weed every month and I paid anywhere from $300 to $400 for my home-delivered medicine. I was a very good analyst, project manager, and business development specialist, America had an economy, and I was healthy and took no other pills or medicines. I exercised every day, and even became vegan-ish in eating habits. Weed became my drug of choice.
Committed cannabis lovers, during that period of history, had to have healthy egos. Every family reunion, when my brother and I would walk away to have our medicine, we would be judged for our law-breaking mentalities. Judged harshly. Relatives would scold us for talking to the teenagers, “You didn’t tell them you smoke weed, did you?” (As if . . . hey, nieces, nephews, gather round and let me share my sins . . .)
Everyone in the family acted disgusted and annoyed that my brother and I had our cannabis with us, always, but they couldn’t argue with the fact that alcoholism was the big killer in our family. Killer of joy, killer of livers, killer of hearts, minds and bodies. So we let them snub us, we’d grin and bear it.
We just got used to breaking the law in this one instance, because prohibition was unfounded, ungrounded, and illogical. And as the years went by, we watched pharmaceuticals creep into people’s daily lives in a sinister way, like a cancer reaching out, spreading tentacles. “What do you mean, you have to take that anti-depressant every day for it to work? Don’t they have a pill you can take just on the days you are feeling bad? What if you’re not depressed every day? What if you are supposed to be depressed because someone just shit on you and it’s a normal reaction?” Legitimate questions from the stoner crowd.
Everything is now changing. The secret is out. The evidence is clear. THC prevents Alzheimer’s, CBD makes cancer cells commit suicide, and pharmaceuticals are killing people. The truth is out, so prohibition is no longer sustainable.
I have to admit that back in the seventies and eighties, I couldn’t see that the prohibition on cannabis would ever be lifted. I couldn’t see it changing in my lifetime. Even though I supported, off and on (as I could), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, I really didn’t think it was a winnable fight. Too much cultural resistance. In those days, I made sure I had connections to supply, I paid for the right, and I forgot the injustice to the plant. Back in those days, I couldn’t have foreseen raising my children in the world capital of cannabis (Amsterdam), nor did I foresee ending up sending them off to college in the first state to recognize medical marijuana as a thing (California). I certainly didn’t anticipate launching a weed business. But here I am.