Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Yeah, it's 4/20. 

For those of you who are adequately sheltered, particularly those of you who live far away from pot-loving college campuses, it's practically a national holiday.

Well, if national holidays were underground movements to legalize drugs, anyway.

4/20 is a big deal around here.  Living in Boulder County, there are more than a few pot heads locally.  There are medical marijuana dispensaries all over the place.  "Colored glass" shops next to used book stores. 

Boulder and the surrounding areas are crawling with old hippies, some which you can tell have been smoking pretty much constantly for decades.  It's also full of college students, and contains a campus notorious for it's involvement in the movement.

The police are never really sure what to do about 4/20 it seems.  They can't very well arrest thousands of people at once.  The punishment for carrying less than 2 ounces here is a ticket only, and hardly worth the effort.  The smart pot smoker doesn't generally carry more than that anyway.

Last year the police used a new technique to hand out citations.  They walked around the field that afternoon taking pictures.  Then posted them to an online site, asking for people to rat out their friends.  Some actually did it.  Which is a total buzz kill.  Right?

I've confessed here before that I've never smoked pot.  That's still true.  I've been around it plenty, but never actually smoked. 

I'm a generally law abiding person, but I struggle with why this has been criminalized. No one has even died of an overdose, ever.   The vast majority of people that do use it can do so safely, without incident. 

Instead of realizing that marijuana is safer than the very legal alcohol and cigarettes, though, our society chose to criminalize it.  All that did was create a black market. 

Marijuana has been around thousands of years, and has been part of ritual ceremonies for just as long. 

It also has very valid medical benefits, especially for people with chronic illnesses.  I can tell you first hand that I've seen what it can do for a cancer patient. 

Pot helped in so many ways.  In addition to dramatically increasing his appetite, it calmed his nausea and gave him motivation to laugh.  I'll never forget the day of the cheese show, Dad laughing hysterically at the television.  God created man, man created cheese.

He needed to keep laughing, and he needed to keep eating.  It helped do both.

And, GASP, I've actually talked to my kids about it.  They knew that he had special medicine to smoke that helped him eat.  More than one of them asked what his pipe was for.  I'm not the kind of parent (or daughter for that matter), who hides the truth. 

I'll never fully understand why the powers that be in this country are so determined to turn a blind eye to the benefits of this drug.  Why it hasn't been turned into a "real" FDA regulated medication.  Hmmm....maybe because it works???  That would make too much sense.

Anyway, whether you are smoking one to make a statement for the rights of medical marijuana users, whether you are lighting up to help alleviate your own ailments, whether you are an old hippie or a college student standing on a football field, may you get through the day without being hauled off to jail or ratted out by your friends online. 

Happy 4/20.  Light em up.

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