Here is what I have learned about pot since Washington, the state literally 20 minutes north of my front door, has now legalized small amounts. My friends that live in states where it’s still illegal are starting to ask the questions that other states have already answered. I’m not talking about people that were potheads to begin with. If you want street drugs, you’ll find where to get them. I’m talking about people that you’d never expect would ask you those questions in a million years.
I’m still in the stage where it’s embarrassing to talk about pot, even though I live in a place where it’s generally considered no big deal. I was raised in the South, and I have very strict definitions of what I’d consider polite conversation. Of course, when I check in with myself and realize that what people are saying is, “why is pot a big deal? Should I try it?” Before, I thought of those people asking questions as invading my privacy. Now pot is on the Today show, the nightly news, etc. I just have to get my shit together and adjust… society is already doing it for me.
In Oregon, we have what is called Medical Marijuana. I didn’t really understand the concept. To me, no doctor in the world should ever have to write a prescription for Train Wreck. There hasn’t been a whole lot to change my mind, because there are so few ailments that to me, really qualify pot as treatment. Most of the time, I think it is prescribed as “treatment.”
What started to change my mind about using pot as treatment came from this web site. I’d never thought of using cannabis balm or cream for spot treatment of injuries or relief from arthritis. I realized that I was quite uneducated and I began to read. Interestingly enough, the reason I was reading was because of an arthritis patient in her 60s who saw it on television, and just wondered if it worked.
Which brings me to my next cultural point about the Pacific Northwest. When I came here, it shocked the hell out of me that some of the grandmas and grandpas were bigger potheads than their grandchildren. Texas, where I was raised, never taught me that old people could use street drugs. But now it’s not a street drug. It’s a medicine.
My wild hair attitude and my Southern upbringing are fighting this one out. Part of me says that I canNOT talk about this. It’s just too weird, especially when the questioner is old enough to check into a retirement home. It reminds me of a story from when I was a teenager. My sister was watching TV in her room, and my dad stopped by to check in. He asked if he could sit down with her, and she said, “You don’t watch MTV WITH YOUR DA-aaaad.” Just as a teenager does not want their parents in the room while they’re watching Undressed (my particular favorite on MTV when I was a teen), I do not want to answer questions from old people about marijuana. It gives me that same feeling that every child gets when their parent says something to the effect of “now we’re going to talk about sex.”
When I get back into my body, though, what I hear is that “you are not a Texan anymore. You live in a different cultural mindset, and you don’t have to apologize for it.” My work on the subject of pot is to stop being afraid of talking about it- in the same way that I had to learn that in Portland, holding a woman’s hand on the street wasn’t going to get me served a huge helping of verbal and (frighteningly) physical abuse. Living in the South had me so trained to watch my back that I still treat Dana more as my friend than my wife when we’re out.
I have to consciously put myself out there to take her hand, and I do it. Just like I will learn not to react like a deer in headlights when an elderly person thinks that pot is the new Oil of Olay.