I smoked pot a couple of years before I tried alcohol and while alcohol was a non-starter, marijuana remained a large part of my life. It was always around my house, there was never any stigma about it, in fact I was probably twenty before I realized this was even strange. I don’t have any specific recollection of my first time, but I do know that it was a small white joint handed to me by a neighbor named Jimbo. I held it to my mouth, without it touching my lips, and breathed it in for several seconds. By the time I exhaled, I knew this was for me.
I spent the next few hours accomplishing tasks: I cleaned my room, I wrote in my journal, I cooked a meal, I engaged in significant conversations with those around me. There was no crash, there was no hangover, and there was no physical sickness. I was just very relaxed and contemplative, things were brighter and funnier, people were kinder and more compassionate, and I just saw things differently.
I don’t think a week or more has passed since I was fourteen that I haven’t consumed cannabis in some capacity. I preferred joints as a child because of the visual. I moved on to glass pipes for the convenience. I baked it for the health benefits. And I primarily vaporize it or eat it now as an adult.
Funny enough, my parents did not like me smoking pot. This turned out to be where they drew the line and assumed some parental responsibility. Smoking pot, they insisted, was for adults who needed a break from the pressure and responsibility of being an adult. I had no business being an escapist from a life they had so beautifully designed for me. Drugs and alcohol, to my parents, were a form of escapism that they had been using for years to escape a repressive and controlling society. They felt validated in their mind-altering measures because there was some vindication in it for having escaped their parents’ strict homes.
They couldn’t understand that for me, marijuana use was not a form of escapism or a way to ignore my life, but a way of leaning in and better examining my life with new emotional and mental clarity. They didn’t publicly object or punish me, they extent of their discontent demonstration was mostly to skip me in the rotation or dip into my stash. They were very understanding even when they did not choose to understand.
Working in the marijuana industry as an adult, in an increasingly accepted green industry, just kills my mother. That pot is barely illegal anymore, that I work and earn a good salary selling it, and that I still use it makes her feel that she is a relic from a time that doesn’t exist anymore. And she’s right. I try to remind her that non-trads like her, my dad, their friends and neighbors opened the doors for culture and society to grown more accepting and experimental but she maintains that their revolution failed.
When my dad died, my mom resigned herself to the notion that her revolution had failed and nothing I’ve ever said has convinced her otherwise.