I smoked my first joint at 16. Late bloomer I am told, even for Tennessee, in which at that time, marijuana was still very illegal and yet still somehow one of the number one cash crops, coming in only second next to Tobacco… Go figure, right?
As we all wonder why it took so long to get where they are in finally making CBD legal and B-U-D (ie flower) available for medicinal purposes.
I remember my Mother finding a roach in my car’s ashtray, that, honestly wasn’t mine. I can say this with confidence because I was always very careful to not do stupid things to get me ‘caught smoking the pot’ as she would say. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that my Mother hadn’t partaken herself during her youth and didn’t understand that her children, in which there are seven of us, weren’t going to try it at some point. No, it was simply because she was the adopted only child of a prominent family that lived in our small town. Between that, and the fact that she was a single Mother who had seven kids from four different Father’s living in the Bible belt, well, lets just say, that we already had plenty of gossip about us going around already and the last thing she needed to hear was that her firstborn (me) was labeled as just another one of the town’s “pot heads.” Yeeeeaaaaah… The pressure was certainly real and always on.
So here I was, pleading with her that I swear this joint isn’t mine and she’s just shaking her head with a look on her face that I can only describe as the perfect mix of disappointment, disgust and determination as she tells me: “That’s it. You are going to have to go Boarding School.” Now, when I say, ‘Boarding School', let me just clarify because many people think of it being like a prison or worse a concentration camp of sorts that has no desire to actually do anything in regards to education but more so everything to do with breaking the rebellious teenager into submission and conformity. However, where I was going was far on the other side of the spectrum from that.
Because our family was so worried about what others thought and how they would be judged in even their response to my so called ‘drug use’ being ‘handled correctly’ as parents, my Grandparents insisted that I went to a Prestigious Preparatory Boarding School in nearby Chattanooga.
Little did they all know that they were sending me to a place that was saturated with rebellious teens from the same kind of families but twenty times more wealthy and instead of weed and Coors Light at the parties, there were full on bars of top shelf liquor, cocaine and everything else under the sun that Daddy and Mommy’s care package money could buy.
Ironically, here’s the thing… I didn’t try any of it; At least not then and there anyway. Did I try it all at some point in my life? (“All” being cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, moon rocks, mushrooms, and pretty much all of the legally prescribed pain killers leaving only needles, ayahuasca, and the newest stuff called DMT?) The answer is, well, um, yes. But it wasn’t until college and/or after college that I tried these things and even then most of everything I tried was tried only once or twice and then regarded as: “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt and don’t need to go back.”
Now you probably are wondering if in Boarding School and forever on, did I still continue to smoke marijuana? Absolutely. And while most anti-marijuana groups sit here to this day, even after, hey, we are all grown up now and have seen through the veil as to the harsh reality that the “War on Drugs” was truly more an attempt to continue and cover up the systemic racism this country was founded on, I will always strongly and most often vehemently disagree that marijuana is a “Gateway Drug.” In fact, I would much rather my two daughters, aged 23 and 9 years old, only smoke weed, as adults. (I repeat, as adults, as I later learned and witnessed the cautionary tales of the side effects of early exposure to marijuana to the prefrontal cortex and because of this I am much more conscious of not promoting it/doing it in front of my youngest child as I was with my oldest. Given, I had her when I was merely 18 years old and not knowing any better.) The bottom line I’m getting at here is I would rather my children “smoke the pot” as my late Mother, Rest in Peace and Power, would say, more so than drink or do any other drug that is ironically ‘legally prescribed’ to the upper class demographic and considered medicine by the capitalistic corporately biased government we live in.
Which leads itself to my last point and that is this: Just this week on our way to school, which, as a parent to other parents out there, let me take a moment for an aside and give this one piece of unasked for advice… If you want to know how your child is doing when they hit that stage where they just aren’t so forgoing in telling you anymore; If you are able, take them to school in the morning and/or pick them up from school each day, and when you do, while on the drive to school or back home, let them play “DJ” and in doing so choose the playlist. Usually the songs they choose will be a direct reflection of what they are feeling or thinking about that week.
This week my daughter was worried about the homeless and Coronavirus. And that conversation lead somehow to drugs. It was then that my 9 year old, made the blanket statement that homelessness was caused by bad people and their drug use.
At that moment this conversation became a very delicate one in my opinion in regards to how to navigate through the very facts I mentioned above regarding our country and how it governs certain things and in doing so, with certain favoritism. Because, yes, I tell her, she is somewhat correct in her assumption that addiction, along with mental illness and/or other disabilities tend to lead to homelessness in America. BUT, I also now go on to explain to her the sad fact is that the addiction isn’t one associated to marijuana so to answer her question:
No, just because someone smokes a lot of pot, doesn’t mean that they are a bad person nor does it mean that they will end up homeless.
Did I pass the perfect parent test in that moment? Hell, I don’t know. Probably not, but then again, unlike my upbringing, I am unafraid to not give a shit about fitting into the tight hushed boxes of what other people think, especially when it comes to raising my kids. Do I not care what others think because I smoke, eat, and drink THC? Maybe, a little. But at the end of the day, I will always say that marijuana is one of the last medicines/gifts left and will be an advocate that this beautiful flower was given to us by our phenomenal Mother Earth, pure enough to pick, roll and smoke in its original form. As I have always said, once mankind needs to cut it/add to it, or find another way to consume it other than by simply plucking it from the ground and placing/inhaling it directly into one’s being… Well, then, to me, it’s just no longer what I consider a gift anymore. Thats how I see it anyway. And as a Mother, an Artist, and a CEO, I am proudly in support and participate daily in the use of Cannabis. Forever and Always.
“When I smoke, I only toke in little hits, so I can stay a little bit… Longer with you. And when I drink, I only take in little sips… So I can sway, a little longer, too. And some say, that makes me a slow, slow, sipper. Some say, I certainly do love Miss Mary Jane. I say a little of both, will always, make me feel smooth, like Tennessee Whiskey while enjoying both at the end of each day.” — Intro to the original song I wrote titled “Dope Hope” @2020