Legal Marijuana – The Upside of the Downside and Vice-Versa

It’s midwinter and while the crocuses have not yet poked their heads out, the debate about legalizing marijuana is in full bloom. With all the specifics, on both sides, bandied about, it’s time to revisit this dilemma. On one hand, accident and insurance rates will go up. On the other hand it will bring in $300 million in revenue. More young people will be encouraged to smoke. But it will bring in $300M. It is often a gateway to stronger drugs. But then again – $300 mil.

Other than this monster money-grab, no one seems to offer any positives about smoking marijuana. So allow me to kick it off. Put aside that it impairs your physical and mental state. There are hidden health benefits. Let me tell you about my friend Mikey. He smokes a bunch of pot.  I call him Milkman because he milks everything that he does. We worked together for a landscape company in Howell. If I spread two yards of mulch, he spread one. If I mowed 3 lawns, he cut one (or sometimes watched me cut all four). He wasn’t lazy; he was just high. Was he productive? Of course not. But I’ll tell you what: I’d love to have his blood pressure.

Milk also benefited from the creativity that comes with weed-induced euphoria. Pumping gas part-time at a station on Rt. 34, he invented a system for selling pot through a charge card on one transaction and pocket the cash on another. All was fine until his boss wanted to know who were all these people buying $300 of regular. Even after 90 days in the county lock-up, Milk still maintained that he was “just providing a service.”

Maybe he was ahead of his time. Once marijuana is legalized and can be bought in stores on credit, a lot of people who otherwise could not afford to get wasted can now zone out to their heart’s content. Plus, they contribute to the economy. A win-win, wouldn’t you say?

At a time when family structure seems to be breaking down, weed keeps it together. Timmy, a guy I know from Brick, like a lot of pot-heads, has trouble keeping a job. So at 30 years old, he lives with his Mom and Dad. As long as Timmy can stay stoned, they’ll never have to face the pain of that empty-nest syndrome.

Just like any sport, there are physical skills that must be honed to be a successful stoner. If you’ve never rolled a joint, you have no idea of the dexterity necessary to produce a good tight “pinner”. Or the amount of respiratory control it takes to suck in a long toke and hold it until you’re ready to cough up blood. It takes practice.

Legal marijuana helps you prepare for old age. As we gain wisdom with our maturity, we learn to live without. We give up tobacco, alcohol, sugar, salt. Then one day, the doctor tells us we need to give up our bad habits. At least with pot, we’ll have something to give. Don’t let your doctor down by neglecting your habits.

Cannabis, once it leaves the black market (does that mean there’s a “white market”?), can be sold in seed packets along with Beefsteak Tomatoes and sweet peas. Or in flats of 24 like begonias. It’s a hardy plant, easy to grow, and could be incorporated into a wonderful learning experience for the pre-K crowd. Planted in the home garden, it can be cultivated and when harvested, readily smoked or baked into brownies and eaten. What other organic source offers such variety? Ever try to smoke a beet?

Socialization? Don’t even! Try crashing at a party where everyone’s baked. Turn on the music and no one says a word. You needn’t feel challenged by small talk or remembering your date’s name. Even if you have no personality, everyone’s so mellow-yellow that all you remember is what a great time you had.

The convenience of having local marijuana dispensaries cannot be overstated. Stanley, a roommate of mine in Bay Head back in the ‘90s, opened each day with a couple quick hits. He pretty much kept the same pace all day just to stay level. If his stash ran out at night, he got anxious and couldn’t sleep. How appreciative he would have been (he’s gone now) to have a convenient 7-11 type store to score some late-night “ganjah”. And while he was out, cure those munchies at an all-night diner. A midnight Reuben washed down with some early morning pancakes would be just the ticket.

That brings us to the popular concern about people driving under the influence with no technology to determine their state of mind. This is not exactly accurate. All it takes is a simple blood test. Police today are trained to administer CPR, breathalyzers, and NARCAN. Why not train them to be registered phlebotomists. Sure, you may have to pay them a tad more and a high speed chase in a bloodmobile can be tricky but – hey! Remember, we’re talking $300 mil here.

The money, Phil Murphy tells me, will be used for free college for high school grads. That’s cool. But then, how about legalizing prostitution so maybe the rest of us can get free gas? Just sayin’.

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