The High Life

City Paper

Since weed became legal in Washington state and Colorado, one of the main arguments against it has come from the fear that people who have never really smoked would go there and buy some edibles, eat them, and then freak out, like the cop who called up 911 and told the operator: “We made brownies. And I think we’re dead. Time is going by really really really really slow.”

These people are giving pot a bad name. But if you haven’t ever engaged with marijuana because there was the chance that some meathead officer was going to throw you in jail over it, now might be your chance. As of Oct. 1, it has been decriminalized (we won’t go into all the details here, but check out citypaper.com/weed for a rundown on what decriminalization means). If you want to try it now, there are some things you might want to know.

Yes, on occasion time might move really, really, really, really slow. But that does not mean you are dead. It just means you are stoned. Congratulations. Or maybe it means you are too stoned—but that is no big thing. It’s all in your head. You just tell yourself: “It’s the drugs, I’m too high, but it will pass. It’s just in my head. It’s all cool.” And you know, once you figure this trick out, it works in all sorts of situations—most of our psychological reactions are simply chemicals in our heads. So, when you’re wigging out, whether weed-related or not, you can just ride it—it will pass. 

Edibles are more dangerous. If our mother, who despises cigarettes, were to want to try weed—which is not the case—she would want to eat it. But the brilliant thing about smoking weed is that it is super easy to control the dose. Take a toke, realize you’re feeling right, and don’t take another one. It is immediate. When you eat it, on the other hand, you don’t know how much you are getting, you don’t feel anything for a while, and then, all of a sudden, it all hits you. And there is the temptation to eat more because you think it’s not working and then—bam! 

So if you don’t like to smoke, try a vaporizer. Like smoking, it is easy to adjust the effect. Not quite high enough? Take another toke. Feel too stoned? Back off for a while.

Still, you will eventually have an existential crisis. That is part of what is cool about pot. It puts you outside of yourself and actually makes you act more, not less, moral because you start to feel a Heideggerian angst, a fear of nothing. This is why most people who used to smoke have quit: They can’t take the nothingness. But it is, as Heidegger says, only when we face this angst, which is the fear of our own nothingness, that we are truly authentic. Far from being peace and love, sometimes weed is Sein und Zeit.

 You may not always like this, but it is good for you when you think: “What am I doing with my life? I’m wasting everything.” Because, you know, you really will die, whether you hide from it or not. There are a couple other dangers to watch out for: Robin Thicke said he wrote ‘Blurred Lines’ when he was high. We don’t need any more white celebrity kids stealing Marvin Gaye songs and making them rape-y.

Beyond that, still be smart regarding the law. Your friendly dealer can still go to jail, so don’t be a dick. Don’t text or email or talk on the phone about things like that. Seriously. Didn’t you see “The Wire”? Sure, it was hard for them to get warrants to tap phones, but they were then able to build conspiracy cases. If you talk about buying it, you are conspiring. Don’t do that.

And finally, be respectful.

Show the police and the politicians that the city is really a better place when it’s not crushed under abusive and unjustifiable laws. Again, for any and all of your inquiries about the meanings and effects of the new marijuana laws, please visit citypaper.com/weed

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