It is finally legal to partake of marijuana in Colorado and, while I’m happy with the progress, I’m not investing heavily in Zig-Zag just yet. First, I have to decide whether I’m even going to “do” pot again? And if so, in what form?
That’s right, “again.” I have smoked a form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, or cannabis) exactly four times in my life, all before I turned 30. Twice, while stationed in Germany in the U.S. Army, I went to parties where large bowls of hashish were passed around. It was not uncommon for us Cold Warriors to be high, sometimes for long stretches of time. As ubiquitous as drugs were in the New Volunteer Army, it's a wonder most of us weren't jailed at one time or another. We weren't, of course, because most of our officers and non-coms were Vietnam veterans, and while they wouldn't have hesitated to bust any of us lower enlisteds for dope, you can bet your best bong the evidence would never have been seen the inisde of an MP station. Where our leaders led, we gladly followed, and sometimes it actually enhanced life's experienes. Buy me a double bourbon someday and I’ll tell you what it was like to watch “Tommy” while jacked up on hash and Crown Royal. After mustering out, on two occasions after returning to the States, I toked generously from doobies being passed around after-work parties thrown by the then-manager of a local ... um ... media outlet. Hey, I’m not revealing any deep secrets here; I’ve confessed all of this to an unsmiling inquisitor for the Colorado Department of Corrections, and still passed the background check.
So, with my drug-checkered past, I should be ecstatic about Amendment 64, right? I mean, I should be settling into a hot tub with Led Zep on the stereo speakers and getting righteously and legally stoned. Or one would think. Well, turns out it ain’t quite that easy. I quit smoking cigarettes thirty years ago because I was getting more colds in the winter, and they were lingering longer. I still have a small collection of pipes (including a couple I salvaged from my late father’s home) that I can’t smoke because the desire is still there to inhale. I now fight something that isn’t asthma but acts sort of like it, and our world’s deteriorating climate is making it worse. Obviously, sucking THC-laden smoke into my lungs is out of the question.
Other forms of imbibing aren’t much better. I’ve only recently begun to closely monitor my sugar intake (or, in my loving wife’s words, “No more sugar for you, fat-ass!”) so cookies and other sweets with stoner juice in them are also verboten. Topical applications have been known to cause rashes, and just eating the stuff can tear up an old stomach. In fact, it is entirely possible that, having survived youthful indiscretions and then abstaining long enough to see marijuana legalized, at least in the only part of the world I care to live it, I may not be able to ingest it safely. Can you say “cruel irony?”
The key word here, of course, is “safely,” as in “without any fear of damage.” That whole “safe” part may have to be rethought, and here’s why: As I plod deeper into my sixties, I begin to realize that I’ve probably already achieved the pinnacle of whatever sorry-assed career I was ever going to have, and now it’s just time to have whatever fun I can afford in the time that’s left. And lest you think the “afford” part isn’t significant, let me disabuse you of the notion. Vice is damned expensive these days. I can’t afford to become an alcoholic – and don’t think I haven’t tried – because the price of my daily pour keeps going up, and I refuse to be a “cheap drunk.” Nobody in my tax bracket can afford a decent hooker these days (don’t ask me how I know this, I just do.) A "friendly" game of Texas hold’em costs a C-note just to get in the door. And the “free” internet porn is a mere echo of what it once was (see above reference to hookers.) So aside from an occasional gift of booze from reliable friends and family, so-so-quality weed may be my best bet for a good time, and an occasional good time may be as good as life gets in my decline.
Sure, if I get the weight down, get the blood pressure under control, get a little exercise, eradicate the chronic cough, eliminate the kidney stones, yadda, yadda, yadda, it’s possible for me to live almost as long as my father did. And that’s about twenty more years. If I’m lucky, I’ll dance with one granddaughter at her wedding. Don’t pity me; I’m the product of genetics and poor judgment, and I’ve reconciled myself to what I’ve done. Jesus may forgive but Mother Nature doesn’t.
So, if my life is now passing from autumn into early winter, why not get all of the enjoyment out of it I can? I have room at the Rice Estate to cultivate a little hemp, the lovely but agrarian Mrs. Rice has a gift for bringing forth bounty from the soil, and I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
Now that I think about it, maybe being able to legally smoke dope will provide the incentive I need to resolve all of my health problems, if for no other reason than to be able to get high without looking over my shoulder. Hey, you set your goals your way, I’ll set mine; don’t judge me, just love me as the sinner I am.
In fact, it’s just possible that cannabis sativa could become part of my new health regimen. Hell, I might end up dancing with all three granddaughters at their weddings. Now, if I can just teach the little stinkers how to roll a decent spliff, Grandpa will be all set.