In Praise of Pot

by Kyle K. Mann, editor-in-chief –

Virginia is the 27th state to decriminalize possessing up to an ounce of marijuana starting July 1, 2020, meaning there are only 23 seriously stupid states left.

High time!

I’ve been a fan of the plant for over a half century. The authority figures who said it was bad, and bad for me, were tragically wrong. 

Especially when one considers the draconian laws that have wrecked so many lives worldwide. Incredibly, the death penalty has been used for pot trafficking in some countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China and the merry head-chopping land of Saudi Arabia.

The Philippine Islands are apparently using extrajudicial killings, encouraged by their evil strongman leader. I shan’t be vacationing there, I assure you.

Other places just imprison you for decades, or in some cases for life. For life!

I’d call that a crime. Here on the West Coast of the USA, you can buy and consume pot legally for the last couple years. 

What a relief it is to know the cops can’t break down my door and haul me off to jail for possessing a plant.

The Terror and Trauma

I’m a time traveler from an era when carcinogenic tobacco was legally and widely used in stores, workplaces, bars and public transit including airplanes. At the same time, having a joint in your pocket could land you a stiff prison sentence. The paranoia among users was intense.

Somehow, they never got me as a teenager back in the ’60s, though they came close. At one point I was in a house that got raided, but a wise soul among us gathered up the joints and flushed them before the police got inside. He missed one that was a joke joint, rolled up with granola. The cops actually took it in for analysis to a lab. Imagine the chagrin.

What a fantastic amount of bad vibes for a gentle, helpful substance.

In ‘72, fed up with my warmongering society, I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii where I grew pot in Kona. Man, that was some strong shit! The clean air and water, and excellent seed strains available, produced the best stuff ever. We’d send it in the mail back to California. My dad came for a visit and I explained the whole setup to him. “If I was your age, I’d do the same thing,” he laughed. Turned out he was a pot user too, so we got high together. What a great moment.

Later, we were seen by some locals on a watering run when the weather turned dry. We did not want to pay a heavy price for our little business, so we stayed away from our plantation for weeks after that. When we finally went back, we discovered the buds had all turned bright crusty gold from the drought. Our paranoia paid off nicely, as we were able to charge a considerable premium for the stuff.

Any confrontation with Drug War authorities caused one to feel sick, hopeless disgust with how stupid it all was. Don’t get me started about the racial injustices of the War on Drugs. The statistics and stories about how people of color are disproportionately affected are simply hideous.

To this day I hide my stash. It’s an old habit. The Man ain’t gonna get me, no indeed. But I wasted a significant number of hours of my life being horrified for myself and my friends.

And for those in jail for years, and still in jail today.

Pot vs. Booze

I’m a better driver on pot than I am straight. I obey the speed laws and even pull over for cars behind me that want to go faster. Admittedly, some of this is because I don’t want to get busted for pot use while behind the wheel, resulting in a costly DUI charge. I rarely do it these days.

I’m a much more aggressive motorist after a couple drinks. I tend to overreact when challenged by drivers operating cars worth 50 times my beater ‘99 Civic. I’ll show you who the better driver is, buddy, even in this junker.

As I age, I’m a lot more careful behind the wheel and with alcohol in general. I won’t drink alone, for example. It helps that my dear ol’ mom was an alcoholic. What an example of something to avoid. In the end it killed her, way too young.

Ethanol, the active component in booze, is a toxic poison. Yes, it feels good, for a while. The next day after drinking more than a couple, not so much. With pot, maybe a bit of grogginess, but it usually passes after you wash your face.

I can’t find the quote, but I believe it was the great George Carlin who asked “How come you never see someone passed out in the gutter with a joint in their hand?”

Booze can kill you, pot won’t. Stoned people are funky and funny. Drunk people are often sloppy and obnoxious, and sometimes dangerous.

To me, watching my childhood companions getting inebriated on alcohol was painful. Some of them would wind up barfing. I laugh now, writing this, at the memories. “Say you love it” they would scream at one hapless hurler as he heaved off the deck. Not my thing, man.

The Benefits of Pot

Like booze, pot instantly relaxes most people at first. Since we live in a tense society, that appeals. But unlike drinking, more pot just makes me more relaxed. There are exceptions to this, and some people have adverse reactions, so I understand those who don’t partake. 

Yes, it affects my memory, but that can be a good thing. There are some things, and people, I prefer to forget. 

And by the way, how about that CBD oil? Works for me, baby! My arthritic thumbs have benefited tremendously from the green cream. Takes a couple weeks of steady use, but once it soaks in, the pain is gone, and with it the need to take oral painkillers that are hard on your internal organs over time. 

OK, let’s see… Sex on pot can really work, but it can backfire if one becomes introspective. Nothing like booze, which can lead to erotic thrashing but then to embarrassments the next morning, or even that night. Too drunk to fuck, yep that’s an owy. But pot, well as usual, it really depends on who you are with and where you are. 

Then there’s the munchies, because pot makes you hungry. Eating is fun while high, snacking especially. Chips and salsa, guacamole, hummus, olives… yummm. I find one attends to the flavor and texture of food more deeply. 

Watching movies, going for a walk, seeing sunsets, petting animals, having conversations, swimming or bathing, gardening, reading and web surfing, video gaming … all are better for me after a few hits. It’s not a requirement, just an option for enhancement.

As a musician, I can attest that playing and writing music is a blast after a couple hits, and opens me up to different creative prospects. The Beatles famously developed in new directions when they started smoking pot, as their dramatic growth in songwriting on the “Rubber Soul” album attests. 

However, writing words is a different story for me. It’s better if I wait until afterwards to light that joint, which is what I’m about to do.

So, here’s to the state of Virginia and all my fellow potheads, especially the ones behind bars doing hard time. Unbelievable madness to treat people this way! 

Maybe this article will be just one more pebble in the growing avalanche of public opinion for legalization and pardons.

I sincerely hope so, because freedom is the ultimate high.

Kyle K. Mann

Topanga

May 23, 2020

Kyle K. Mann
About Kyle K. Mann 66 Articles
Kyle K. Mann is the pen name of a contributor to, and sometimes editor of, Gonzo Today. He lives high atop Topanga, California, where owls hoot and coyotes howl. A radio broadcaster in multiple fields in the 80s and 90s, Kyle currently supports himself part time as a Union film crew member in Hollywood. His articles and interviews first appeared in Gonzo Today in early 2015, and some of them are fairly good.