I recently read an article written by a psychologist about how he talked to his children about marijuana. What I found most entertaining in the article was its dependence on stereotypes. He writes, "And you already know I wrote a book with 'marijuana' in the title, so you're aware that I've inhaled."
"There are three kinds of marijuana smokers. Visitors, Regulars and Stoners."
All my friends know the low rider
The low rider is a little higher
Low rider drives a little slower
Low rider is a real goer
I never wrote a book with marijuana in the title, but I could have. For more than twenty-five years of my life I smoked marijuana. In that time I never had an auto accident or a ticket. I never missed a house payment or lost a job. In fact I was promoted again and again. I bought and remodeled two houses and restored classic cars. What I grew tired of was the high prices and operating on someone else's schedule. So I began to cultivate and removed myself from the market.
One day, during one of our neighborly chats, Hugh told me his wife Martha had been diagnosed with cancer and had to begin chemotherapy. As time progressed I could see the worry and anxiety grow across his face. The chemotherapy was killing his wife. He complained that he couldn't get her to eat and that she was wasting away. My conscience began to hurt me; I had something in the house that might help that woman to ease her suffering. It would cost me no more than a birthday cake from Kroger to give it to her.
I didn't dare do it though, because if I did and it were perceived wrong or discovered by the authorities, I could lose everything. My job, my house, my freedom and my future. To this day I feel that what I did was wrong, but that my government forced me to live in a secret society. I was criminalized like a Nazi or a Communist because I smoked the wrong brand of cigarettes.
It is said that the prohibition of marijuana came about due to the demands of the paper, pharmaceutical and chemical industry to make it illegal. Those economic theories don't take into account the social aspect that the illegalization was rather a result of racism directed towards American immigrants of Mexican and African descent. It was also a direct response to the prohibition of alcohol. After Bible-thumping prohibitionists in their righteous and religious zeal managed to outlaw America's most popular recreational drug, they took a very dim view of any other recreational drug that rose to the fore to replace it. They wanted it banned, shouting, "Not on my watch, buddy! The book's agin' it!"
Since the beginning of recorded history there is a history of recreational drug use. From the Pharaohs to the Caesars, drug use and sales were common. Rome grew rich from the sales of wine. In the nineteenth century the patent medicine business grew into a mass industry based on refined drug products which caused health and emotional problems and addictions. Yet you must ask yourself, were most of these problems caused by the drugs themselves or by ignorance about the drugs?
Opium and cocaine were common ingredients, but the products weren't called Vicks Cough Syrup, Now With Opium! Or Red Bull, Now With Extra Cocaine! They were called Dr. Pendrake's Mystery Elixir. People became addicted to these products because they didn't know any better, and what's more the products worked. Old Abe Lincoln's favorite remedy for his headaches was a steaming bowl of water with opium powder poured in. The President would breathe in the vapors with a towel over his head.
Today if Barack Obama were to try using the same treatment he would be out of the White House faster than you can say "Bill Clinton's Intern." On top of the legal stigma of recreational drug use is also a moral stigma that is new and was created right here in the good old USA. Recreational drug users are described and depicted in the media as defective people. In over two decades as a business manager I have dealt with employees with drug problems. Oh yes, I fully accept that people can get into trouble with recreational drugs. Some had a problem with their drug use, others just had problems and were medicating themselves with drugs. Eliminating the drug use in this group didn't solve the problem; in some cases it made it worse.
Drugs can cause problems, but so can alcohol, cigarettes and even food. Imagine dragging people out of their houses in handcuffs. "That lousy fat slob was feeding ice cream to children! I hope they throw the book at him." Obesity and childhood obesity is a major problem in America today, yet employers aren't encouraged to hold random body fat screenings. There are no T-shirts or programs in schools like "Just say no to Dairy Queen." One of the founders of the Dairy Queen empire died from a heart attack at an early age. Go figure.
As for the visitors, regulars and stoners, I have known them all. The visitors might take a toke or two at a party. The regulars might smoke the whole joint. The stoners who the doctor described as folks "whose lives have slowed, and then stopped. For them, smoking weed results in gravity turning up -- it takes enormous effort for them to do anything, so they don't. Ambition even once fierce ambition -- evaporates and a creeping sadness replaces it."
I have known them, as well, sitting on the couch all day eating Cheetos and watching TV or playing video games. Do you know what they were doing before they were smoking marijuana? They were sitting on the couch all day eating Cheetos and watching TV or playing video games. I have never known an ambitious person slowed by marijuana or a lazy person that developed new energy after smoking marijuana. It is more a symptom of the personality than a symptom of the drug.