Jean Barker

The USA's 'Pot-Rush'

2014-03-07 10:45

Jean Barker

"Medical" marijuana is now legal for medical use in 18 US states, with Florida likely to push the number to 19 in the near future.

Polls supposedly indicate 55% support for legalization nationwide. Pot's gold-rush is big news, with advocates in the medical field claiming on CNN that legalisation will make research possible, and allow it to be regulated. Everybody else is out trying to make a quick buck off it.

While the saying goes that "drugs sell themselves" (because they generate the need for more by being really like, totally sick dude) the truth is that we're talking about "weed" here. And it's not called that for nothing. Any idiot with a hydroponics kit can grow it. So America's industry needs to find a way to beat the amateur farmers, in order to be able to charge more for weed than for a bag of tea leaves. Their tactic: Growing weed so deadly strong that it's basically a hard drug, then selling it at legal dispensaries where you need a medical marijuana card in order to purchase your drugs.


So how does everybody qualify to get stoned? Friends of mine say all you do is head to a weed doctor's office and say you suffer from back pain, anxiety, insomnia, or fuck it, inability to eat Twinkies, and they'll hook you up with a medical marijuana card. Nobody has ever been refused - not that I've heard of.

Take a walk along Venice Beach and you'll be accosted by people in green overalls trying to get you signed up to smoke legally for the price of a five-minute, $40 consult.

And in an attempt to beat the dreaded informal sector, recently put out their own advert - the first of its kind. Here, they try to get people away from street vendors, implying that they have the healthiest buds, with this comparison between sushi and weed.

The greener future

The next logical step is probably most US states admitting that people mostly smoke weed because it's fun, and letting them have it for that. Recreational use is already officially legal in Colorado and Washington.

There's even an advert for recreational marijuana, which advocates tried to screen at a Nascar Rally in Indiana. It was all set to show over 70 times during the event, until the organizers decided that beer was better after all, especially for the children.

Pros and Cons

So am I for or against legal THC? Well, I don't smoke. Yes, I've tried it. No, I don't enjoy it. I don't have the time to sleep that much, either. But while alcohol is still legal, and even permitted to sponsor family values events like sports matches in the USA, I see no reason why people shouldn't be allowed to smoke pot, if it helps them chill out. I even suspect that legalising weed in Florida will reduce fire-arm-related deaths, even if only because gun owners won't be able to remember where they put their gun, or why they were angry in the first place.

But - and there's a big but - weed is boring and smokers are really, really annoying.

Is there anything less interesting than hanging out with a bunch of stoned people when you're not stoned? No. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to explain a simple concept to someone who is stoned - during working hours. And I raise this point because stoners seem to think getting whacked in the morning is not exactly as unprofessional as having a few beers before work! It is.

Worst of all, hearing a bunch of stoners discuss weed is about as enthralling as listening to  pet owners describing the cute things their animals do. It's important to them. It's tedious as hell for us. And why do pot-heads have to speak in that dumb creaky voice, even when they're not high?

Until there's an emergency antidote to being stoned (medicinal cocaine, anyone?), I'll remain tolerant, but vaguely irritated.

- Jean is a screenwriting/directing dual MFA student in California, USA. She tweets as @jeanbarker and blogs pictures of signs and more, here. She will be back.

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