It's a new year in California, and while big changes are ahead it doesn't really seem much is changing at all. Residents of the state are still standing polar opposite from each other about the recreational use of marijuana. Medically speaking, many have come around to recognizing its proven benefits and have adopted a 'live and let live' attitude. Not so much outside of that.
Yet alcohol is very much a socially acceptable norm.
I'm going to attempt to break this down, as much for myself as anyone else because frankly, I lean more toward the old school way of thought too. I'm also first to admit that the basis of any ignorance is almost always the fear of the unknown. I've never been high a day in my life. My perceptions stem from this and from the experiences I've lived through with those around me. I can count myself solo among everyone I've ever known as not having tried the happy weed. What I've seen has been pretty disastrous and it's hard to separate their realities with what is scientifically true.
Let's start with the "gateway": Is it really the beginner's drug? I would argue that it is, but not for any physically addictive properties. Some vices are based on the body's cravings and trying to break free is a nightmare. Many of our monkeys derive from our mental state, and a need to escape or alter our realities. Whatever our beginning, or "gateway" to that may be, eventually our needs escalate. Thus begins a journey that invites a dependence on more. Most people on this path are susceptible to addiction it just happens that marijuana has taken the rap for being easily accessible, somewhat affordable and rather low-key. If we really want to point an accurate finger, it should be at the bottle and not the ground.
Moving on; I've never been a big fan of the recreational use of any mind-altering substance. Especially since I figured out I wasn't so invincible against alcohol after all. I was somewhat fortunate that I was able to recognize my issues and walk away from it. This isn't to say that every person who imbibes in alcohol or a weed that grows organically is only doing so for escape. Cocktails are often for the taste. But if you were to take a good poll of everyone around you, the most common answer is likely to be "it helps me relax." Relaxation is a good thing, but I have to question why so many are unable to do this without aid? I have no concept of the word myself, but am such a control freak that I can't just give in to something outside of my own head. I have my own vices still, namely a therapist to feed my narcissism.
So let's come around to my own real issues with this new law. To be quite honest, activists who go overboard with anything really annoy me. So, there's that. I find it laughable that stoners think they can't be detected by their obvious behavior. As much as the smell of any kind of smoke nauseates me (I'm allergic), this particular odor is worse. While Californians really haven't bothered to hide their smoking for some time now, I worry that it will now be much more present in my daily surroundings. I find it amusing and somewhat astounding that people are offended at "rules" - no lighting up in a car, whether driver or passenger. It's a contagion, so what the hell? Where is the common sense?
We're also at the crossroads of "be careful what you wish for." In legalizing, we are also inviting capitalism to rear its ugly head and make it so unaffordable for those who genuinely use for medical benefit. There will always be a black market, but wasn't the rally for this law to be weed for all? Without federal backing, it's really not as giant a leap as we may think.
The reality is, I don't care what people do in their own time, in their own dwellings, but I don't want to be affected by it. Only time is going to tell if people become more reckless by getting behind the wheel of a car or if we see a sudden spike in child neglect or perhaps an uptick in snack purchases. Jack In The Box already caters to this crowd, and I think it's one of the more brilliant marketing moves I've ever seen. All of the stereotypes could prove to be more real than we ever imagined, or it could just be that we've been fed a bunch of hyped up bullshit.
I was reflecting back the other night to the new millennium panic and how we all fell for it. I think we are on that cliff again. Never mind that other states have beaten us to the punch. As Californians, we should be somewhat embarrassed about that. As with anything, time will always provide answers. People have long come to the conclusion that we've had the answer all along, right there in an insignificant little plant. It's way past time to end the reefer madness, but that doesn't mean we can't recognize it too for what it is.
It's funny to me, where we choose to place our outrage. Nothing in this world is harmless if we sift enough through the reactions. The best we can do is open ourselves to knowledge - what we don't know, someone can always teach us.