Why I don't smoke pot

And why I think you should be able to
By VALERIE VANDE PANNE  |  January 8, 2014


I hear you don’t smoke pot. How come you write about it and want it legalized?

_Only potheads should write about pot


You’re right. I don’t smoke pot. I have smoked before. A lot. But I’m gonna be honest: I don’t like to smoke pot anymore. The last time I did I felt terrible, mentally and physically. For me, it just doesn’t work. If it does for you, cool! Thankfully, I am healthy, and have no medical reason to use it.

Here’s why I quit smoking: I couldn’t think clearly — and no amount of exercise, coffee, or meditation cleared the fuzz. I’m always in awe of my friends who are hyper-productive or creative when they’re high. That’s not me. (Though I confess I went through a phase where I wished it were.)

Another reason: there’s a myth in some cultures that if you smoke pot, you must be cool. I’ve known many psychopathic, predatory assholes who are potheads, pot dealers, pothead celebrities, or who work to legalize pot. And there comes a point in a gal’s life when she just doesn’t wanna deal with assholes any more, no matter how cool they seem to people who don’t really know them. (This isn’t pot-specific; the myth usually fits anyone with a “cool” job.)

And another reason: when I was a smoker, I felt angry when I didn’t consume marijuana. Pot can be used to reduce stress and anger, but in my experience, the stress and anger were still there, and they felt even stronger when I wasn’t high, because I hadn’t found a constructive way of handling those emotions and their sources. When I used marijuana, I felt better temporarily, but in the long run, I felt weak — like it was robbing me of my natural courage and intuition. When I quit smoking, I found my inner strength, courage, and intuition again. I also felt happier, less depressed, and more optimistic.

That’s me. It might not be you, and that’s cool, because everyone is different, and that pursuit of happiness is written into the very foundation of this country.

So, yes, damn straight, I think pot should be legalized. It’s a plant.

I knew that something was wrong with the drug war when I was about eight years old and some cop in a knockoff DARE program (I suppose my school district couldn’t afford the real thing) told my class about marijuana and instructed us to tell on our parents if they used marijuana because it could kill them. I thought this was the stupidest thing anyone had ever told me. Why would my parents use a plant that could kill them? And if it was so bad, why wasn’t the cop also talking about poison ivy? Later that same year I got a letter from Ronald and Nancy Reagan. I had written to them — probably something about world peace — and their response was that I should say no to drugs. I felt angry and dejected. Reagan hadn’t even read my letter.

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