Things have changed since the ’70s. As a child I learned the wonders of botany by watering my own hidden marijuana plant out backyard, and have memories of our living room – blinds drawn – being a massive hotbox on Saturday nights. If I was a kid today, I might wait in the car with Mom while Dad popped into the cannabis dispensary to get his prescribed medication. I might not even know what my Dad’s medicine was, save for the slight smell of edibles or seeing a small nugget placed in a vaporizer. It might still be on the down low, but in Seattle there is a legitimacy for general citizens and parents alike that need access to the healing qualities of this plant.
In my childhood, my Dad was frank with me about marijuana. It was a plant that he smoked. I never questioned why he did it; it was as normal as the bottle of ale that sat on the dinner table. He didn’t smoke all the time, and he didn’t intentionally smoke in front of me. There were, however, conversations had over the private nature of this plant. I didn’t know whose parents smoked other than mine. I was tickled to be given the duty of watering our small plant. It was tucked between our stand-alone garage and our storage shed. My Dad took more care in instructing me how to raise this plant than he ever did in our failed food gardens, and now I know why. It never grew more than a couple feet tall.
Things changed when I became a teenager. This boiled down to one incident where my older brother walked up to my Dad and handed him a baggie of “Texada Timewarp”. My Dad, in turn, turned to me and thanked my brother for the oregano. Parents can be so clueless to their teenager’s knowledge of things. Wouldn’t I have noticed other families asking for more Timewarp for their spaghetti sauces if this was the case?
Flash forward a couple years, and my brother had come to visit his straight-edged nine years junior little sister. Our parents were out of the house and he brought over a doobie. I had been watching Jaws on tv and wasn’t thrilled to try it. He told me he’d rather see me try it at home and not with some yahoo around town. So I did and boy howdy, was Jaws ever a funny movie!
Marijuana has never been a problem for me. I might not have always used it in the most constructive ways in my young adulthood, but now I believe that ideally one should sit down, ask him/herself why the marijuana is being consumed at that time, take a deep breath, and enjoy…much like giving thanks before dinner. That intention brings some focus and ritual to the experience.
Have I seen others abuse marijuana? Certainly. A co-worker’s friend was pregnant and smoking every day. I’ve witnessed people with depression spiral down after thinking that it might be the cure for their cyclical blues. Haven’t we all seen someone who smokes so much that the senses seem dulled or mellowed out to the point of inefficacy? On the flip-side, I have seen a friend with spinal tumors get out bed and play music in front of others defying his doctors’ projections for longevity. I have seen it tame anxieties. I have seen it unite Rastas and common folk alike in deep philosophical reasonings.
As a parent, I am much more guarded about the use of marijuana around my children. I put the kibosh on smoking inside the house when I became pregnant, and my husband and I do not expose the kids to any smoke. What is the marijuana culture going to look like for them as they grow up? I’m sure teenagers will still steal away to secret places with a joint, but I would hope there would be a more open discourse between parents and children about why people use it and how to use it responsibly. Like sex.