So without revealing my age, I’ll avoid the “back in my day” banter when it comes to how the cannabis culture used to be. But rest assured, when I started using marijuana, it was illegal EVERYWHERE and wasn’t recognized in any form as medicine.
But up until that point, I was 100% ANTI-marijuana. I was a poster child for the D.A.R.E. program, straight up.
I recall being staunch in my stance that weed was a drug, as terrible as cocaine or heroine, and made people dumber. Even though I had plenty of friends who were already dabbling in drugs and alcohol, I was steadfast. I was going to go to college, be drug free, and save the world from all drugs everywhere. Yup, that was me.
I experienced deep, long periods of depression while in junior high and high school. Finally, my curiosity gave in. I didn’t really want to get into drinking, because I hate vomit lol. I was going to counseling, but it wasn’t filling that empty void. So, one day I picked up my 20 lb blue Nokia brick cell phone and texted my friend:
Me: You got some dro? I’m tryna smoke.
Him: Stop playin.
Me: I’m serious, I got money.
Him: WOW, ok. You sure you want DRO?
ME: Yea, that’s what you smoke, right? Dro? Yea, get me that.
Him: Ok, see you in 20.
Just like that. Now please understand I knew NOTHING about smoking marijuana, or the fact that dro (short for hydro, which describes any type of weed grown hydroponically instead of in soil. Isn’t that funny? People thought that the WAY cannabis was grown described the actual TYPE of cannabis it was. Carrying on…) was a much stronger type of marijuana than that known as “Reggie”, or regular marijuana and “Mid-Grade,” which was one step above but still not knock you down, stoner strong.
Loooooong story short, he picks me up, we smoke, I feel NOTHING. We decide to drive to the park. I still feel no effect.
For like 45 minutes.
Then, I look out the window, and the car was flying above the expressway, which was no longer an expressway, but a checkerboard and the cars were being played like an actual game of checkers. Put that in your pipe and smoke it lol. I was TRIPPING. I look over at my friend and I tell him, “Yo, I’m feeling it.” He replies, “Good.” From that point on, I was a stoner, but would take another decade for me to truly have pride in that. Yes, pride.
I jumped head first into the culture. Lol I had a guilty conscious, if you will. I knocked marijuana for so long, and here I am enjoying it! Wanting to learn more about it! And boy, did I. From arrests to actual dealing, protesting and experimentation I became more than just a “pothead.” Cannabis became my mission, I just had no freaking clue what that mission was yet.
Marijuana made me happy, hungry, sometimes sleepy, and really, REALLY creative. It took me on adventures I couldn’t even describe. Or maybe I just can’t remember lol. Had some great recipes develop during those times, mmm…foooood…..sorry. Back to the story.
Then, in 2014, I visited Denver, CO. I visited California before and knew it was the American mecca of cannabis. But I was able to see Denver in the early stages. I met dispensary owners, I attended events, tasted edibles, and basked in the excitement of a newly legalized state. It was then I knew Illinois had a long way to go, and the need for legalization was necessary far beyond people wanting to get high. People were using cannabis ointments for skin and muscle pain, oils and tinctures for seizures or insomnia, tablets for the side effects of chemotherapy; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The state of Colorado saw shooting increases in cannabis tax revenue, job opportunities, and more healthcare resources.
Once all the haze from my joint cleared, I saw my idea light bulb illuminate. Illinois not only has to legalize marijuana recreationally and medically, but they have to educate their residents on this plant. People have a right to know about all opportunities afforded to them as citizens, and cannabis is a grand one.
You don’t have to light up to be up on this, people. And I’m here to help. Until then, it’s 4:20 somewhere, and I don’t want to be late 😉
Have an elevated Sunday, folks.
“It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics… dope and all that crap. It’s a thousand times better than whiskey – it’s an assistant – a friend.”―Louis Armstrong