So apparently last week’s marijuana blurb (read full article here) created a bit of a stir and caused a few knotted panties and twisted knickers amongst my readers. Why, I never!
If you missed my previous article entitled By-Laws and Mary Jane, you basically missed me saying it’s okay to get high. And I quote:
“We all need a way to decompress at the end of the day. Some people meditate, others have sex. Some garden or walk the dog or drink a pint or glass of wine, and yes, some (ok, many) get high. Big whoop. As John Lennon said, ‘If it gets you through the night, it’s alright.’ Sure it’s an escape from reality, but so is television. Am I promoting drug use? No. But I support it and don’t judge those who toke.”
In response, I received a screenful of emails from well-meaning readers who felt it was their duty to set me straight. I must say that it really warms my heart to know that people are actually reading my column. My boss isn’t complaining either. But now it seems I have a few things to address, which will no doubt piss some people off even more.
If you don’t get or appreciate my tongue in cheek humour, you’re gonna hate this because now I’m ready to really say something. Did my own research. Still got my own mind. So bring it on. I ain’t scurred.
What’s funny is that it’s me of all people touching on the subject of marijuana because the truth of the matter is that I’m pretty straight-laced and I have no vested interest in this topic whatsoever. But I love generating a good discussion so I have picked some of my favourite responses to last week’s article and am offering my response to each, Mandyland Style.
I know these reader responses echo a great majority out there and despite my sarcasm and mockery, my intention with this article is to bring these issues to light. Please note that I have dramaticized this dialogue to provide some level of entertainment for my readers. Enjoy, and hate me if you will.
Q: Mandy, you’re so dumb. Don’t you know you’re supporting something illegal and totally controversial?
A: Illegal only if you get caught. Besides, is it my fault that our society is so far behind on this matter? Medical marijuana use dates back over 4,500 years and continued to be used for medicinal purposes until 1937 when the United States decided to ban it. Yet cannabis is one of the 50 "fundamental" herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Yes, the use of marijuana is a controversial issue, just like alcohol was during the time of Prohibition, but people drank it, distributed it and broke the law anyways. And people will continue to smoke pot, sell it, and break the law until weed is legalized. This drug is not the enemy. Ignorance is. Censorship is. Political control is. And that’s coming from a lady who prefers to get high on life. Though you’ve made it the target, my humourous two-paragraph blurb on pot is not the issue, and censorship is most definitely not the solution.
Q: How dare you voice your naïve opinion when you don’t know anything about this topic?! You don’t even read the newspaper! You even said so yourself!
A: I know! How do I even sleep at night after publicly stating what I think without having anything more than my personal experience and convictions to go by? The nerve of me! I really should just learn to shut up before I push someone else’s buttons simply by being myself. Wouldn’t want to start getting any weird ideas like it’s actually okay to have an opinion and voice it no matter how educated I am. Better to be mute and let others (the smart ones) tell me what, when and how to think. And better to make everyone else happy and keep people comfortable instead of honouring my sense of what’s right and expressing my truth. After all, that’s what being an empowered individual is all about, right?
Q: What are you? A dummy? How could you promote something that everyone knows is unhealthy? Ain’t nothing good about weed! Medical research proves it’s bad for you!
A: Medical research also proves that serial coffee drinkers are more likely to feel “the presence of dead people”, and that the hotter a common laser printer gets, the more likely it is to spew out potentially hazardous “ultrafine particles” (Weird and Wacky Medical Findings of 2009), but I think me and the rest of the world have bigger fish to fry than whether or not our printer is hotter than (insert famous celebrity name such as Mandy, here). We’re basically screwed no matter what we do, based on at least one scientific study, so let’s leave it to the professionals to dissect the effects that everything above and under the sun has on us, and let people drink their coffee and smoke their weed so they can get through the day like every one else. And FYI: while cannibis may not seem to be as good for you as orange juice, it has been proven to heal a great number of ailments such as appetite loss caused by anorexia, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, spasticity for multiple sclerosis, pain, and weight loss. There is also evidence to support its use for arthritis, dystonia, insomnia, seizures, and Tourette's syndrome. But whatever. It’s all bad, like you said.
Q: How can you be so nonchalant about this? It’s a very, very serious issue you know. Why can’t you be uptight like me?
A: Because I support the underdogs. Because my perspective on life is pretty expansive. Because I’m open-minded. Because of all the things someone could get bent out of shape over, smoking a joint seems like a pretty insignificant one to me. Because my mother died of brain cancer, used pot to deal with the effects of chemotherapy, and therefore I will not deny the healing qualities that this natural substance offers.
Q: What kind of dangerous message are you sending to our youth? Don’t you know they aren’t able to think for themselves and they believe everything they read, especially when it’s written in Echo?
A: Honey, if I had the power to destroy our youth with my dangerous messages (and trust me, I have plenty of them), I would have succeeded already with my own child who has been exposed to me day in and day out for her entire life. That’s 15 years of corruption under my belt yet I’ve got nothing to show for it. Instead, I’ve got a well-balanced daughter who thinks critically and feels free to express what’s on her mind, which often involves disagreeing with me. I am quite liberal in most areas, to say the least. She is quite conservative, to put it mildly, and we both hold steady to our beliefs, which rarely mesh, and I think that’s wonderful.
As for someone else’s kid, if a non-using young adult reads my two paragraphs and thinks, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go get high’, or heaven forbid reads ‘Savage Love’ and starts acting like a homosexual even though he’s straight, well the kid is a twit and his issues started long before I came onto the scene. It’s an article. The end of one to be precise. If I had that much power to influence our youth, I sure as hell wouldn’t waste my lines on shit I don’t care about.
Besides, why is it dangerous for me to say something these kids would find out on their own if they chose to smoke up anyway? That’s like pretending that sex doesn’t feel good just so no one gets any crazy ideas like trying it out for themselves. Sex feels great. So does getting high. That’s why people do it. Sure we can warn our youth about pregnancy and diseases, and encourage hugs, not drugs, but they have free will just like you did at their age. And they will exercise it whether you like it or not, agree with their choices or not, whether you ever become aware of it or not. All the more reason to keep the dialogue open, and to raise them to think for themselves so that they are not one of the many who follow the pack just to fit in, or who use sex as a way to get love, or who get high as a way to say ‘fuck you’ to their over-bearing parents or the world at large.
Q: Don’t you watch the news? I’ll have you know that just last week a guy on a plane from Philly to LA totally went haywire because he took a double-dose of his prescription weed brownies and started screaming and wouldn’t sit in his seat and they had to handcuff him and do a choke hold and everything!!!! And the guy went to jail for 20 years because of it! If you were as informed and educated as I am you would know this and would not have promoted marijuana at all! It’s evil and makes people crazy!
A: I suppose if I had included the word ‘moderation’ in my previous article, I would not have needed to write this one. I thought it was obvious. I was talking about smoking a joint not eating the whole plant. No one gets put away for 20 years for freaking out on a plane or else parents would have their toddlers lined up at the gate anxiously awaiting a 20 year vacay. Clearly there’s more to the story than that. Sounds like the guy had 99 problems, and ganja galore was just one. He over-dosed, which means he took too much, which means the right amount, as prescribed, would have had a much different effect. Pot wasn’t the problem, his measurement tool was. But like most people trying to prove a point, you use an extreme case to illustrate it. I’ll have you know that I have many friends that get high and they can sit just fine all by themselves. I rarely need to do a choke hold and handcuffs are only ever used by request. But if it makes you feel better I can remind them that weed is the devil.
Q: You call yourself an empowered female? You’re a hypocrite! Getting high is just wrong on every level and you absolutely can’t teach self-empowerment while accepting people’s personal choices!
A: Tell me about it! Here I was thinking that tolerance, open communication and respect for how others choose to live was actually a good thing. But now I know the key is to judge those who don’t think and act the way I do because it’s totally obvious that my way is the right (and only) way. Thanks for the heads up!
Q: What kind of article is this anyways? It’s pretty unbalanced if you ask me. You didn’t even cover the important stuff, like how wrong you are to say these things!
I hear ya, babe. My herb talk was quite unbalanced, given the fact that I only used two paragraphs to touch on the subject, and as a form of entertainment I might add. But alas, this is The Cambridge Beat, not a thesis. It’s my opinion, not a sermon. And it’s not my favourite drug so my writing is weak. When I write about acid though I’ll be sure to balance it out and leave no stone unturned. But only after I ask for your permission, of course.
* Written for Echo Weekly Magazine. Vol. 13 No. 20 • February 11 - 17, 2010.
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