Stoners of the world, rejoice!
Actually, that should be: Stoners of the world, you suck! However, while you really, really do suck, there may also be something over which to rejoice:
I love messing with stoners, although it often tiptoes right up next to picking on the handicapped. The last time I mentioned stoners, I got all kinds of e-mails from people who suggested that they would never trust a baby boomer who had never tried marijuana. I responded by telling them that they don't trust anybody, because that crap makes them paranoid.
However, I am a baby boomer, and I've never tried it. In fact, I grew up in Southern California, in the ghetto, in the late 1960s, and I've never even been remotely tempted. I don't need help relaxing. And I hear and enjoy music just fine.
That claim about marijuana always killed me: You can hear music better. Better than what?
It's like this idiot I know who once told me this really disgusting story about beads. He said that he used them to enhance the sensation of sexual climax. Since when does that need to be enhanced? Outside of playing rugby, it's already the greatest physical sensation in the world. Enhancing it somehow would make it, what, the greatest-est? What the hell's wrong with people?
Drugs are not for me, but I'm not going to say that drugs and alcohol are stupid. Well, actually, I will: Drugs and alcohol are stupid. But, last I checked, it's generally not against the law to be stupid. If stupidity were a crime, half the state Legislature would be wearing orange jumpsuits.
Besides the claims that I heard growing up about marijuana enhancing things, there were also the claims that it was safer than alcohol (it almost certainly is), and that it wasn't a gateway drug. How about a moment of honesty here: Think of all the people you know who have smoked marijuana or are currently doing so. Can you think of even one who has only smoked marijuana and not tried any other drugs? I didn't think so.
Actor/comedian Denis Leary, on his No Cure for Cancer CD, talked about why he soured on the experience. He said that all of his stoner friends were always talking about making bigger and better bongs. Leary said, "Marijuana doesn't lead to other drugs; it leads to freakin' carpentry! That's why I stopped; not because I didn't like it, but because I didn't want to build anything."
I remember standing on the UA football field during practice way back in 1977, about a month after the big Fleetwood Mac concert in Arizona Stadium, and underfoot were little marijuana plants mixed in with the usually perfectly manicured field. I thought to myself then that they would never legalize marijuana for sale under strict governmental guidelines—like alcohol—because it would be too easy to just grow one's own, whereas people aren't going to grow vodka in the backyard. Not on purpose, anyway. But they could damn sure grow their own marijuana. And 14-year-olds could grow it just as easily as 24-year-olds, rendering useless the argument that government control of it would stop underage pot-smoking (just like government control has stopped underage drinking).
Anyway, according to a big article in USA Today, attitudes and laws concerning marijuana are changing.Prosecutors and judges who have thrown countless people in jail and/or prison for marijuana-related crimes now favor a treatment approach. Legislators see dollar signs, and pot- smokers who have been fighting for decades to at least decriminalize—if not completely legalize—the stuff see a ray of hope. (They also see really pretty colors, even when the Grateful Dead are performing. The colors actually get prettier when the Dead stop playing.)
It's already been completely decriminalized in Maine and Alaska. In the latter case, the bill that did so was called Maybe This Will Make Being an Alaskan Less of a Living Hell Act. (Nonetheless, the clown who has won the Iditarod dog-sled race in each of the past few years complained that he wasn't able to smoke marijuana during this year's event, because organizers enacted drug-testing. Yeah, there's a sport.)
If marijuana is legalized in the United States, I don't think there will be a spike in its usage. There will always be that subgroup of people consisting of hedonists, addicts, experimenters, bad musicians and the I-Can't-Cope-So-I-Smoke-Dope crowd, no matter what. The baby boomers who started smoking marijuana and never really quit will probably feel vindicated that their decades-long cacophony of, "Oh wow, man," finally wore society down.
But I think that the baby boomers could have a dampening effect as well. When that 14-year-old kid arrives at his own personal crossroads as to whether to try drugs or not, it might go like this:
Kid 1: Hey, man, you wanna try some of this? It'll help you forget about the math quiz.
Kid 2: Naw, dude. How lame is that? My grandfather smokes that stuff!