The drug policy reform movement is about ending a set of prohibition policies that cause corruption, destruction and death in just about every aspect of society. It’s not about people wanting to get high.
And yet, I’m sometimes annoyed by the amount of energy we end up expending just debunking junk science and defending cannabis as being not that dangerous, when we should be able to talk more about the positives of responsible use. Even in places where pot has been legalized in this country, they’ve been ridiculously strict about where and how it can be used, like it should be some kind of solitary, shameful activity.
And that’s wrong.
I want to get high and see great modern dance, so I can, for a moment, partially suppress my analytical mind and better immerse myself in the abstract stories being told in movement. I want to smoke a joint with friends on the sidelines of a soccer field, enjoying the beautiful sunny day and the constant joyful patterns of athletic movement.
I want to hang out in a comfortable lounge with intelligent stoned folks discussing philosophy and time travel. And I want to play Cards Against Humanity with them and forget whose turn it is.
I want to play music. I want to play the piano and jam with percussion, bass, and guitar — not for a paying audience (where I’d be paranoid about “performing”), but just for us and good friends. And I want to let cannabis slow down the time as it has for musicians throughout the ages and let us luxuriate in that space between the beats, which is where jazz truly lives.
I want to get high while hiking through nature, and experience the sights, the sounds, the smells. To sit in a gazebo while a spring rain falls. To stand on a pedestrian bridge at night while a train goes under me (OK, I might want shrooms for that).
I want to have a gourmet cannabis barista help me select just the right strain that will be perfect for a Sci-Fi film or a steak dinner, and also have that one batch that I keep in a drawer and only bring out to savor on a special ocassion, just like I might with an aged Gouda, or a scotch from Islay.
I don’t want to get stoned every day. I don’t want to be baked. I don’t want to be sitting on my couch slack-jawed covered with Cheetos stains while the final heartbeat in Dark Side of the Moon pulses in the surround sound…. OK, yes, I do want to do that last bit, but just once in a while.
But I’m not doing any of those things. I’m writing about corruption in the criminal justice system, the financial self-interest of those on both sides of the drug war, the propaganda paid for by our tax dollars, the people dying from unregulated drugs, the wasted lives in prison, the destruction of rights, the failures of international policy, and the feckless cowardice of elected officials.
I will continue to fight to end the scourge of prohibition. But we can’t stop with just putting fewer people in jail. It’s not enough to convince people that these drugs aren’t the satan-spawn depicted in prohibition’s lurid propaganda porn. No, we need to realize that responsible use of drugs can, in itself, be a very wonderful thing.