Friday, June 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on April 19th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 7 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 7

Weed me out

Rebecca Rose loves legalization but is also completely terrified of it


As Californians gear up to wait for the 650,000 rules and laws our legislators come up with to regulate marijuana into the unfun zone, I’m still grappling with one thing: my absolute fear and terror associated with smoking pot. Allow me to explain.

I grew up in the 1980s, in the midst of the War on Drugs. It was a terrifying time when grown-ups tried to make little kids believe that if they so much as picked up a joint, their lives would be irrevocably ruined and they’d fall into an endless pit of criminal desperation. Smoke a marijuana cigarette and you’ll literally turn into Pablo Escobar, calling out hits on your grandparents and selling your family dog to buy ZigZag rolling papers. Drugs like pot were a source of violent terror, like the Babadook or the threat of a new Milli Vanilli album.

In the 1980s, we also had Nancy Reagan, a woman who looked like your sweet grandmotherly librarian if her soul was inhabited by the ghost of Attila the Hun. She very gently would tell us with a straight face that literally every single problem in the modern world from drugs to your mother insisting you wear plaid ribbons that matched your socks could be solved simply by just saying no. It was about as stupid as everything Coca-Cola did to promote New Coke.

Generation X is weirdly also the generation to whom pot is the absolute most punk rock taboo badass bungee-jump-off-the-side-of-a-speeding-jet thing you can do. Let me give parental units out there a tip: When you tell a teenager something is absolutely the most evil forbidden thing on the planet, they will instantly want to go do it as much as humanly possible. They should have wrapped up pot and made Grandma give it as presents at Christmas instead of socks. After two “thank you for the weed, granny,” cards, teenagers would have wanted nothing to with pot ever again.

We paraded ourselves around like revolutionaries, all because we thought having a joint was akin to carrying around a Tomahawk missile. Sandinista rebels were not as fired up about their anti-government actions as we were about having a weed pipe in our backpack. Now that I’m in my 40s, the whole carnival of rebellion is nothing more than embarrassing to me. Normalization has made our showboating antics look comical by comparison. It’s like watching someone declare themselves the new Timothy Leary because they just had their first Miller Lite.

Millennials have grown up in an era where legalization and more importantly normalization are just a natural step. No one under the age of 30 looks at a joint and has a panic attack. These days you’d probably get in more trouble for having an expired registration tag than firing up a bong in front of the police station.

The last time I smoked pot I could barely stand up, much less take on the cultural revolution. I was with a group of 20-somethings who casually asked me if I wanted to “partake.” Don’t ask me what I was doing socializing with people that young; I think I saw a bunch of young people hanging out in one spot and mistook it for a Taco Bell.

It was a great night—for them.

Everyone was having a great time, just hanging out and enjoying life. Meanwhile, I’m standing guard by the window like an escaped felon waiting for the SWAT to show up and drag me back to a prison. A police car (probably on a routine patrol) drove by the house around 10 p.m. I spent the next hour in a closet, rocking back and forth, face in my hands weeping, “We’re all going to get the chair, we’re all going to get the chair,” over and over again.

The 20-year-olds around me were climbing the roof and composing songs about the stars, meanwhile I’m on a couch trying to figure out how I’m going to move my arm to reach the remote so I can find a Matlock rerun. Instead, I found Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

For at least a full month I thought Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a good movie. This is the real danger of marijuana, kids. That you’re going to watch a terrible movie that no one in their right mind would consider good and swear to people who once respected you that no, it’s a work of art.

I stood by that for weeks, too. I was convinced I had watched a movie that was the birth child of The Godfather and Close Encounters. I called people I hadn’t spoken to in years to implore them not to believe the media’s lies about this “life changing work of art.” I was moved to tears when a character named Mutt sped through a library full of books as a clueless and confused looking Harrison Ford hung on back, because “it was just so deeply, humanly profound.”

If they want to teach drug prevention in schools, forget those corny lectures and just march me in front of a group of teenagers and let me explain how I found Indiana’s clinging to the crystal skull “symbolic of the egalitarian dystopia neoliberalism threatens to drag postmodern society into in the wake of the fall of the Soviet empire.” Trust me, none of those kids would touch drugs ever again. They also may seek out and burn every copy of that movie in existence.

Anyway, happy 4/20 to all of you out there who aren’t terrified of the secret marijuana police. Enjoy legal weed, Californians. I’ll just be over here, convinced the DEA is bugging my phone for writing this column.

Rebecca Rose prefers a box of wine to literally any drug. Contact her at

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