I was raised by strict, conservative parents. We were all first generation immigrants to the U.S. They wanted me to excel and demanded that I do my best with the things I was interested in, as well as things I wasn’t interested in. I was required to practice the violin every day for at least an hour from the age of 6 through the age of 17. I hated almost every minute of it. Am I glad that I have the skill? Yes. Do I currently use it? No. Am I grateful for discipline I gained? Yes. I was also given the gift of a good ear, but at the cost of many hours of acute discomfort, which is maybe the trade off for being good at anything. Practice is hard. You have to practice to be good at anything. On top of this, my mother was my teacher growing up. No escape.
So. When I got to high school, I started behaving like a normal teenager, except I was given a LOT less freedom. I didn’t drive until I was 18. That’s two years of friends having to give me rides, and resenting me for it. Sophomore year of high school I was essentially grounded me for a full year for every 10 minutes I was late to school. My mom drove me there every morning. I hated her.
The first time I smoked pot was with new friends just before freshman year of high school. I remember nothing much happened. Then, throughout high school some of my closest friends were people who read, made music, and smoked a lot of weed. Since I was thoroughly inspected every time I came home, I was never able to enjoy it. Ever. And I judged other kids for it because I thought it dulled their senses, which it did. I know fewer of these people now, as some of them never evolved. One girl I knew, I’ll call her Marie, was my absolute best friend. I met her in middle school, we became fast friends, and stayed that way. Her father happened to grow weed in their backyard. (This was in the early 2000’s, and marijuana was still an illicit substance in the state where I grew up.) My parents didn’t like this, but they knew that Marie was like a sister to me. We’d see each other at school and then get on the phone when we got home. And we’d both leave those conversations in good moods. (I miss that friendship.) Things changed when we both got suspended – she was expelled, actually – for consuming hash brownies on the campus of our high school. Then our friendship changed. She had to go to a different school, and made a new best friend. She came back senior year, but it was never the same. Then she went off to college and we grew further and further apart. I visited her in California some time in 2007, and was so infuriated with the type of people she was choosing to surround herself with at that time. By then, she was making a lot of money in the weed industry, but we never spoke again. In hindsight, I realize that she was just more mature than I was at the time. I felt like she’d abandoned the interests that had drew me to her to begin with; she was an excellent photographer. She had a visionary sense of style…things she’d wear would pop up as trends 10 years later. When I visited her, all she and the people she was with spoke about was compost. It drove me nuts at the time. And yet, here I am, writing for a weed site and consuming it myself on a pretty frequent basis.
I still feel like I have to justify using cannabis to myself. I tell myself that A) It’s legal where I live, B) that it’s much less damaging than alcohol and C) It’s good for my mental health. It is… as I’ve mentioned before, it increases my sensitivity to nuance and allows me to process information differently, for which I’m very grateful.
I smoked and went out for a walk last month. I couldn’t enjoy it that much… I was paranoid, someone I was hanging out with at the time made fun of me, saying I was still worried someone was gonna call my mom. He wasn’t wrong.
Marijuana has associated with undesirability for decades.The reality is that it’s been used medicinally and recreationally for a long time and was only made illegal in the United States in the late 30’s. After almost 90 years, the industry is on the rise again. ( Everything swings back and forth.) Rebranding has been helping to change perception, as has increased transparency. It’s definitely not worthy of a schedule 1 substance rank. It calms people down, increases pleasure, enhances perception in some, etc.
I’d like to go so far as to say all drugs should be legal. In fact, countries in which this is the case have the lowest rates of addiction. Restraint creates tension, and tension creates desire. This is why the minute anything is restricted, the more desirable it becomes. (This is just a fact of human nature, it’s how we see things.)
In this spirit, I plan to incrementally care less and just enjoy the benefits I get from this amazing plant.
Thanks for reading.