essays

What’s That Smell?

medical marijuanaSo the Justice Department is going to stop going after marijuana growers who are supplying licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in those states where a medical variety of the drug is legal. So are we months away from making it legal? Could we tax it and help dig our way out of the recession? Donít hold your breath (and I donít mean that to imply you are smoking a joint as you read this).

If there is a paradigm shift going on in regard to marijuana it would be that the level of tolerance for its use is on the rise. Baby boomers may not have smoked a joint since college but the notion that some individuals can find relief from pain by smoking marijuana Ė or just some momentary pleasure for that matter Ė does not seem like a threatening prospect. Not compared to losing your 401k, your home, or both.

A recent government survey indicates that marijuana users ages 50 to 59 increased from around 5% in 2002 to closer to 10% by 2007. Perhaps once the nest is empty some boomers return to their old habits or maybe they never stopped but now they can afford to be more open about their use of the drug.

Those boomers who have been smoking marijuana for years with no ill effects (or Reefer Madness behavior) seem to think they are the poster children for legalization. Coming home from work and smoking a joint is not much different to them than coming home to drink a martini or have a few beers with friends.

If the still boyish Rick Steves, PBS travel series host and guide author, can openly talk about being a regular marijuana smoker, can the rest of the boomers be very far behind? California is thought to be seriously marijuana posterconsidering legalization, and given their dire budgetary situation, the potential tax revenue would have to be a consideration in the decision to go legal.

A Gallup poll puts support for legalization at 44 percent, the highest in 40 years. Even the American Medical Association has reversed its stand and called for a review of marijuana's status as a Schedule 1 hard drug the likes of LSD and PCP and for more study of its medicinal potential.

Maybe not next year or even the year after, but at some point soon, marijuana is going to cross the line into being just another relatively benign way to relax after a long day being a greeter at WalMart or just having a good time with your buds in the assisted living center. Being high most of the day at a nursing home that is utterly lacking in stimulation sounds like an improvement to me.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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