Aside from health care reform, the most notable change to activate with the calendar’s turn to 2014 came from the state of Colorado, where it is now legal to buy marijuana for recreational use.
Starting Wednesday, all the potheads and stoners can get their Rocky Mountain high without worry of any cops busting up their mellow vibe. It was such a monumental occasion, people lined up out the door in the snow and down the street for the chance to score their weed legally. One dude even drove all day from Ohio for some herb, according to The New York Times — all for the chance to pay 50 or 60 bucks for an eighth of an ounce.
Let me start by saying I really don’t care much about this either way, and if you want to blaze up a doobie, who am I to stop you? Likewise, if you have a medical need and get measurable palliative aid, by all means, smoke away. I’d rather have you taking drags on a blunt than popping Oxycontin like Tic Tacs.
I would also agree that marijuana is no more — and probably less — destructive than alcohol. So it isn’t fair to lump it into the same category as heroin and crystal meth.
All that being said, however, I do have a few particular concerns about the legalized ascendance of marijuana in America. The first is that, unlike drinking alcohol, smoking a joint is still smoking. And if you recall my opinion on tobacco, you’ll know I have a short fuse for people who puff with little regard for those around them.
One of the most annoying things I find about going to the Walmart in Paso Robles — besides simply going to a Walmart — is passing through the stench of smoke courtesy of people who like to light up just outside the entrance. Marijuana is even more pungent than tobacco, so the thought of additional air pollution encroaching on our public places isn’t exactly warming my heart.
Likewise, assuming all these ganja fans are inhaling, they are doing no favors to their lungs, because smoke is still smoke, even if it comes from a plant with fingers of spindly leaves rather than a plant with big old wide ones the size of catamaran sails. Somehow, no one ever seems to talk about that health issue.
Besides all that, though, the biggest reservation I have about widespread marijuana legalization must be the growth of stoner culture, which I absolutely cannot stand.
You know, all the 420 jokes (What time is it? 4:20!), all the giggling and bleary eyes, all the munchies references, all the Cheech and Chong/Harold and Kumar story lines, all the blazing up at concerts, all of it.
The biggest threat from marijuana becoming more widely available isn’t rampant drug addiction; it’s more people acting like Jeff Spicoli. One Jeff Spicoli was funny. A whole bunch of Jeff Spicolis tumbling in clouds of smoke from every van in the high school parking lot? No thanks. That joke is beyond old, and if anything comes from this legalization push, here’s hoping it will be the long-overdue death of this marijuana subculture.
To sum up, we can go big with the fatties. Let’s just skinny down the stupidity.
Joe Tarica is the presentation editor for The Tribune. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joetarica.