A reader writes:
In regards to the conversation you have been having about the laws regarding marijuana, I have something to say. I’m a soldier and a two time veteran of the Iraq war, now I’m currently a reservist. Once a month, after drill is done, I pack a bowl and go to town. To all those who say pot is an evil drug, put that in your pipe and… well, smoke it.
I'm a children's author. Much of my professional time (and income) comes from visiting schools and giving presentations.
I'm not much of a pot smoker but I'll happily take a puff of a joint if it's passed around a party. But now we're in a post-Phelp universe: some joker takes a photo of me taking a hit and puts it on the web ("Newbury Medalist smoking up") and I'll never be invited to a grammar school again. I never faced paranoia as a side effect of marijuana, but when a joint comes out at a party now, I take a good look around.
Meanwhile, of course, I've lost count of the number of times I've been photographed with a drink in my hand - usually at a book gathering where everyone, including the publishing executives who would cut me loose the moment my reputation got smoky, is getting sloshed.
I am a public school teacher who recreationally and responsibily smokes pot. I once remarked to another teacher friend of mine, whilst passing him the bong, how I found it interesting that in all my years of teaching I’d never been drug tested. His response, “if they drug tested all the teachers, there wouldn’t be enough people left to fill the schools!”
My wife and I live in an upper middle class suburb of New York City. I'm a writer, and work in marketing, my wife works with the developmentally disabled and teaches school. We have two cars, a mortgage, a 401k, pay our taxes, volunteer at our daughter's school and in the community. We celebrate Christmas, Halloween and Easter. We fly an American flag from our porch.
We both smoke pot occasionally, about as much as we drink wine. It's easy to buy. We go in on purchases with other friends, who are also professionals. Practically everyone I know either smokes pot or doesn't care if others do. Possession of small amounts of pot has thankfully been decriminalized in New York state, but owning a pipe or bong will get you a year in jail and a fine, and growing a small amount of pot is a felony. So we're careful when we smoke. I'm confident the laws will gradually change, but resent hiding my usage. Pot smokers coming out is the smartest weapon I've seen in the legalization battle.
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