For quite a few years I’ve been a believer in legalizing pot. Not because I want to smoke it these days. Frankly it was fun to smoke a bit in my twenties, but I just don’t want or need it now.
Part of me is Libertarian on the issue. It seems to be hypocritical to sell so much alcohol in America and yet ban some other kind of drug that is no worse and possibly less damaging in some respects. The volumes of booze we consume in this country is daunting. Have you been to a Binnies or any liquor store and actually looked at those shelves? Human beings actually drink all that. Just stare at the whiskey aisle sometime. It will blow your mind.
Lots of booze
All that drinking is a rather daunting practice if you really think about it. I still like to drink for social reasons. I’ve learned to enjoy different types of whiskey, but I’m not expert on the subject. I like varieties of wines as well, particularly the oakier and dry types. But I’m not educated on them by any means. As for the whole craft beer revolution, it’s interesting, but I’m sick of absorbing all those calories. Every 300 calories craft beer I drink is a workout down the drain. And I’m fatter than I’d like as a result.
My go-to wedding drink is Jack and Coke. I know my pacing with that mixed drink and can avoid getting plastered just by having familiarity with it. Plus it’s a nice balance of booze and caffeine. Again the extra calories are never fun, but that’s drinking. It comes with a price in many ways.
One of those prices is, of course, the risk of habituation to alcohol. I use that term with judiciousness. I’ve got many friends whose alcohol habits became problematic. I’ve also had friends that developed addictions. Most eventually emerged knowing their limits and tolerance. It takes discipline for sure.
Then there were a couple friends and former teammates who were not so lucky. One of them was a college teammate whose alcohol consumption was out of control and we all knew it. So was his use of pot. It was a wicked combination. I’ve written about these types of challenges before, so no need for details here. I also watched another teammate go from top runner on the varsity to not even making the team, largely due to pot use. But even at that young age, I recognized the thin line between love and hate when it comes to drugs.
And that one friend and teammate? He died from his addictions.
Delving into pot
After college I got high with pot now and then. I even dated a much older woman who loved the stuff. She knew how to get the strongest mix of pot available. Back then, you’d sometimes get pot that didn’t even get you high. Not her. These days the strains are reportedly much stronger and more refined.
I never tried running while high or doing much of anything else except being young and idiotic just for kicks. That’s exactly why I got high. So I didn’t have to do anything hard.
That’s the problem I see with pot use in general, and why I feel equivocal about legalization of pot here in Illinois and other states. What I saw in close friends who did a lot of the stuff was that it seemed to steal the motivation right out of them. Getting high was an escape for sure.
Sometimes, it seems, it becomes so much of an habituated escape it becomes difficult to return.
Still should be legal
There’s no question there are risks associated with any type of recreational drug use. I still feel it’s better to legalize pot than keep it criminalized. Too many people have been arrested and jailed for the “crime” of possessing a joint or selling pot. It’s hypocritical of our society to pretend one drug is better than the other.
We all eventually have to make choices about what we choose to abide, or not. And as The Stranger in The Big Lebowski says, “The Dude abides. I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that, knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners.” – The Stranger
The thing none of us want to see happen is the collapse of any individual to the control of the drug they enjoy, or need. Certainly the opiates “crisis” is an indication that it’s not the source of the drug that matters, it’s the potency and availability.
That’s the battle each and every one of us faces when it comes to drugs. How much can we safely take? For those of you curious about the yin and yang of this issue as it relates to world class athletes, may I suggest the book Duel In the Sun about Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar. Compelling stuff.
So I embrace the legalization of pot, but with a proviso. It’s also time to put some common sense advice about use and management of pot out there for public consumption. Getting advice from your high buddy in the back seat of a Chevy Impala used to constitute some sort of conventional wisdom. But we know better now, especially those of us that train our bodies on a daily basis, and want to know what’s going into them.
I propose that the word “EQUIVOCAL” should be printed right on the label of every pot item made once it is legalized. Getting people to stop and think about what they’re doing is always good. Making them wonder what the fuck you mean is even better.