This time

AS I WRITE THIS, I’m stoned to the bejeezus. Most my writing sessions begin this way, firing up a bowl, cranking the stereo, and then hitting the keyboard for all-night diatribes of psychedelic discourse (editing sessions are done sober, as a more steady hand is required for sentence structure, syntax, and coherent thought). Sorry, what was I saying? Oh, right. Thank god I’m not an air traffic controller.

As a modern-day pothead, I’ve replaced my hacky sack with a Saab, roll joints rather than smoke out of an 8-foot Graphix, and sport Kenneth Cole more often than tie-dye. But let not my closeted dope smoking be mistaken for embarrassment. I’m a proud Rain-City Rastafarian and light up in public as often as possible. Still, like the heads from yesteryear, I have no interest in getting busted by the Man.

Folks have smoked weed ever since it originally sprouted out of God’s green earth, not because it tastes great, but for the euphoric rush that accompanies it. Through the centuries, this elevated state has been responsible for colossal breakthroughs that would not have come about au naturel: the notion that the world is not flat, for example—that guy was stoned on pot brownies.

Whether for invention, inspiration, or just plain recreation, cannabis continues to spark creativity and is damn festive fodder. Call me partial, but parties with people passing the peace pipe seem a lot more fun than bashes with bloated beer-bingeing and belching (not to mention less calories). In addition, with ganja you can usually maintain if necessary (unlike LSD), passing a joint is quite social (unlike blow), and, though ecstasy seems the substance of choice for the new generation, when the chemical effects make ravers forget where they live, you’ll be glad you went organic.

Along with herb counterculture comes an “It’s all good” vibe that, in our road-raging times, is helpful for keeping a lid on things (no pun intended). Something about firing up a fatty hits the Hippie Nostalgia button, harkening back to a “Make love not war” philosophy that’s as relevant today as ever.

Marijuana affects different people differently. Many gave up grass because it made them sleepy, comatose, or they started seeing dark figures slip around corners. For me, ganja is like a quadruple latte—I’m jacked up and nimble, having (seemingly) deep, meaningful realizations that my overly stressed, multitasking, wildly distracted synapses cannot come to in their normally abstemious condition. As they say in the brochure, sinsemilla heightens the senses: Thus, Moulin Rouge was better baked, as is Laserium, Isaac Scott, and a Dick’s hot fudge sundae. Once I become paranoid, tense, obese, or can’t get it up, I’ll quit. And yes, that’s the talk of an addict.

No doubt there are harms to smoking marijuana; anyone who has ever had bongwater spilled on their carpet can attest to that. Over time, it may also make you stupid, fill your lungs with black sludge, and induce indolence and the urge to buy a Lava Lamp. But like alcohol, firearms, tobacco, and the freedom to drive a big-ass SUV, I should have the right to kill my own brain cells in the privacy of my own hovel.

Speaking of which, my tobacco waterpipe calls. Please hold. . . .

Clearly, everyone should NOT get stoned; surgeons, psychos, and small children should refrain at least until after hours or till their homework’s done. As for the rest of us, the key is moderation. Those who “wake ‘n’ bake” are probably using the shit in an unhealthy manner and should get off the couch, bathe, and take a hard look in the mirror.

(God, I look awful.)

For those of us who do use responsibly (I like the sound of that), the issue at hand is that we’re criminals (forcing our friends who are cops and DAs to step out of the room each time we partake). According to NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), almost 20 million Americans fire up at least once a year (22 mil are on Prozac). And 700,000 of those are arrested annually for doing so, which is not only apt to harsh your buzz, but costs taxpayers a mint.

Maybe you’re one of those Bill Clinton types: “Didn’t inhale, didn’t enjoy it, don’t support it.” Well, that’s bullshit, and you know it. You probably ran out of connections, and now have kids and conservative neighbors, but secretly wish more folks in your hood passed a blunt around the BBQ. I’m here ta tell ya, we Potheads need you. The country needs you.

Now that I think about it, maybe drugs DO lead to insurrection. My heart and mind race with thoughts of freedom, personal rights, interconnectivity, instant karma, and (back to the topic) legalization! I am angry. Not for the sorry sick fuckers who need to overcome tremors or glaucoma or nausea or chemo, but for the creative minds, seeking higher artistic heights, searching for meaning in a world that has too many limitations already.

Legalization will come about when enough people have the courage to speak up and admit to having smoked pot, enjoyed the experience, and support the RIGHT to do so. (Plus, it’ll then make it a whole lot easier for you to get some.) So go to HEMPfest (Help End Marijuana Prohibition). Sign a petition. Burn one down. You may find it empowering to advocate something in this blas頡ge of nonradical politics. It might even make you more vigilant about other issues that are pissing you off. Get up, stand up, and “Question Authority,” dude.