“In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.” (Bruce Lee)
I am what most would call a "pothead". Not your typical one, as I like to call myself a "productive pothead".
But I am one. Have been for thirty years.
I maintain a 40-hour week, well-paying job. I own a house, cars, toys, taxes, and many other luxuries that equilibrium affords. I've published five books and have produced over 600 pieces of art.
I don't have DWIs, or whatever the new acronym is. I have no criminal history, have never been in jail, and manage my use in a way that meets within my definition of "responsibility".
But for thirty years, I have existed in the shadows as a second-class citizen.
Questioned by friends and family members for my choices, and forced to hide in plain sight.
Pushed to purchase pot from dangerous people in rough neighborhoods.
Forced to fake four different drug tests.
Overcharged for sometimes questionable quality based on the limited access of my contacts.
Tied to the tides of a dark market.
My first foray into marijuana happened with lifelong friends Jason and Melody. I don't remember the first experience vividly, but it was delicious enough to try again. And again. And again.
When I was in college, alcohol was always the junk that was readily and always available. Surprising these days, but during the 90s when D.A.R.E. was still a powerful force, alcohol became my party companion. It was bad for my body, my soul, and my relationships - many of which would've turned out much differently if high was the social lubricant instead of drunk. With issues with my liver and G.I. system, alcohol never should've been my weapon of choice.
But it was accessible, approved of, and even celebrated.
Blackout drunk shouldn't be something we celebrate.
Sugar overload shouldn't be something we celebrate.
And the addictive, dangerous properties of the toxic substance isn't something we should celebrate.
But we do as a culture. And we have since prohibition discriminated one vice over another. Political and moral hypocrites with righteous holds determined what we could and couldn't have, setting the country on the path of diabetes, liver destruction, obesity, and approved benders.
I read an article years ago that reported that a crypt was discovered in the Gobi desert that contained marijuana that was centuries old, preserved for 2700 years for a future graverobber looking for an ancient trip.
Throughout my time and my books, I've hidden my love of pot behind this story and the reference to this mystical bud. Friends of mine have had their own secret terms for it so we can talk about it without giving our relation to it away.
One good friend and former dealer called it "Chicken". I don't know why (can't remember), but that code stuck with me. My current dealer goes by the term "Zip".
The point? Over the years, I survived through my connection to a hidden subculture that has existed in plain sight. Few of my smoker friends are dysfunctional. They're smart, creative, balanced, responsible people that make the delicate dance happen.
For years, I was worried that my landlord would figure out I smoked pot in the house he was renting to me. I would make cookies when he came over. I would spray air freshener until it fogged out the lingering smell, and burn SereFire candles to compensate. When I grew 7 8' tall kush plants in his backyard in 2017, I kept the whole grow a secret. I ended up with 13 jars of Gobi, enough green glory to last me a full year.
It wasn't until that stash was mostly gone that I discovered he was a pot head too. A professional one, hiding in plain sight, just like me.
Pot has been demonized for many reasons, too many to list here. Many myths and lies rise from a certain affliction of refer madness from the prohibition-struck populous. Old programming dies hard. It has taken generations to get respect back to marijuana for the good it does.
My support of and commitment to marijuana as a curative saved my life.
Those who have followed my story know that I came down with severe Ulcerative Colitis in 2001. Severe enough to consider a colostomy. Severe enough to take cancer meds. Severe enough to have to void every two hours, sleep or awake, meeting or walking, driving or bussing. My first cathartic book "Obscurious" covers these sick details.
But in 2014 - weed combined with a juicing diet - pushed my once-chronic condition to remission.
Acknowledging that the system worked, I haven't changed much in my life or lifestyle since the condition went away. I'm almost afraid to change. I haven't had a serious symptom in almost a decade now. I smoke daily and am now a part-time pescetarian, mostly vegetarian.
I'm deathly afraid of returning to the wheel of anemia, overtiredness, pain, and constant uncomfortability.
You'd be right if you pointed out that weed alone didn't fix me. You'd also be right if you pointed out that pot smoke and vape aren't good for lungs. The way I take in the THC isn't perfect, and has caused other problems.
Ultimately, it was a combination of factors that quieted my bloody ulcers. I believe the commitment to intaking gut-friendly juices and foods that encouraged internal healing allowed my gastrointestinal system to make its necessary repairs , while not having to deal with challenging digestion caused by meat and toxic products like alcohol.
I believe the internal calm that pot brings brought me healing. While alcohol numbs the pain and exacerbates existing health problems, THC moderates and pushes meditation. While alcohol forces many questionable choices the drunker you get, THC slows you down and makes you compliant with chill.
Our nation would be a chiller place altogether if weed was broadly legal and accepted, allowed to exist as a viable party alternative to alcohol and appreciated for its healing properties.
Suspecting that marijuana would go legal in 2023, I started a crop in my backyard. I can't give you the specifics of how many plants I have, but they're doing amazing - with some plants as tall as 7 feet! See the picture below for a shot of the top of one. They went into the ground over Memorial Day weekend and will be harvested in late October.
Thank you, State of Minnesota, for making recreational marijuana legal on August 1, 2023.
Our nation needs a calming influence, now more than ever. I'd like to buy the world a toke...