I have been consuming marijuana for over 2 decades now. I started at an early age (I’m 34 now), and from the very beginning of my marijuana consumption I knew that if I was going to be a marijuana consumer, I would be doing so at great risk. If I was caught with marijuana, even just one joint, I could lose a lot. I could lose out on financial aid if/when I decided to go to college, I could be fined, and even jailed. I would have my job prospects drastically limited due to having to carry around the ‘marijuana scarlet letter’ and I may even experience housing discrimination if a landlord wanted to do a background check and found any marijuana related offenses on my record.
For a very long time in my life I had to worry about interactions with law enforcement. There were a lot of times in my life that I wanted to, and probably should have, called the cops because I or a loved one was in danger. But, I was always worried about what they may find in my house, so I never did. There were a lot of times when I was renting that I wanted to call the landlord over to repair something, but I never did because I was worried they would find out that I was a marijuana consumer and would kick me out on the street.
Still to this day I’m pretty anti-social because I have for so long tried to avoid people because I was worried that their perception of marijuana would lead them to want to turn me in or cause me harm. As a marijuana consumer, I didn’t feel that I could trust people, not at work, sometimes not even when I had known the person for a very long time. It’s like I had this secret that I was forced to keep and protect at all times, always on guard. It wasn’t because I was ashamed to be a marijuana consumer, in fact I was very proud and have always felt very sure about my marijuana enthusiast status. But people can be dumb. There are actually a lotof dumb people out there, and in an effort to protect them from their own stupidity and maintain my own self preservation, I never let my marijuana consumption be widely known.
I know that there are a lot of marijuana consumers out there that can relate to what I’m saying. In a perfect world our marijuana consumption would be treated no differently than any other legal substance. No one bats an eye when someone ends their workday with a cold beer, so why should anyone care if the same person also wants to take a couple of bong hits or eat a cannabis infused cookie? No one should have to live in fear and have their pursuit of life happiness limited just because they consume cannabis. I’m happy to say (and literally tearing up as I type this) that I no longer have to live with that burden of fear.
On Election Day 2014 Oregon voters approved Measure 91, which ended marijuana prohibition for people like me. July 1st marked the first day that the law took effect, and I’ve been living fear free for almost two days now. It’s a feeling that I can’t fully capture in words. I have a young son at home, and I always feared that someone, for whatever reason they felt at the time, would call the cops on me, find one flake of marijuana in my house, and take my son into protective custody. I also work at a place that long frowned upon marijuana consumption in any way. But as of July 1st, my work will treat marijuana like alcohol. I can’t come to work under the influence or have any marijuana on me while at work, nor do I want to, but what I do on my own time is my own time. My son and my job were the two things that I worried about most as a marijuana consumer. I’m very, very happy to say that I no longer worry about either of those things. I have spent many sleepless nights and anxiety filled days worrying about those things, and for the first time as a parent I haven’t had to even think about it except for reflection purposes since the clock hit midnight on Tuesday of this last week.
I celebrated the ringing in of Oregon legalization in a car with the other two owners of this blog, Jay Smoker and Travis. We went down to the Burnside Burn in Portland, Oregon around 11:45 p.m. and did loops back and forth across the bridge, which was absolutely packed with people. Everyone was so happy, it’s something I will never forget. We crossed the bridge for the last time as the crowd counted down, ‘4, 3, 2, 1…’ which was then followed by an explosion of cheering, high fives, hugs, and puffs of sweet smelling smoke and vapor. Travis was the catalyst for the Oregon Measure 91 effort, along with his best friend Anthony, and their wives Leah and Sarah. I kept thanking Travis over and over as he slowly drove across the bridge, and reminded him that had it not been for him, there likely would have been no celebration on the bridge that night. As always he tried to brush off my compliment, but hopefully deep down he knows how much his efforts mean to me and to everyone else that no longer has to live in fear.
Anyone who knows me knows that it is very, very rare for me to be up that late at night. Even though I’m 34 years old, I have the sleep schedule of a seasoned senior citizen. But I made an exception for Oregon marijuana independence day, and will continue to do so every year on the anniversary date of legalization I’m sure. July 1st in Oregon will now be a day that is celebrated similar to April 20th and July 10th. After getting home around 2 a.m. and waking up at 6 a.m. the next day to drop some articles and get ready for work, I was understandably tired. But even though the workday dragged along, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Weed was legal in Oregon, and there was nothing anyone could do to change that. I could have worked a 20 hour shift and I don’t think I would have minded because I was so happy on Wednesday.
Fortunately I only had to do the standard 8 hour shift, because I was lucky enough to have a ticket to attend the ‘Best of Potland’ legalization celebration event in Portland put on by Willamette Week. The Weed Blog sponsored the event, and shared a booth with our friends from Spry (if you haven’t checked out Spry yet, click this link here). Our booth neighbors at the event was the Portland Chapter of Women Grow, which is led by Sara Batterby and Travis’ wife Leah. I got to meet a lot of the members of the chapter, many of which I have admired from afar for awhile now. They are all such talented women, and I’m very happy to see all of them pursue their dreams and in the process put Portland, Oregon on the map in the marijuana industry. I was particularly happy to finally meet the owner of Drip Ice Cream, Andi Bixel. Her various flavors of marijuana ice cream is probably the most fantastic thing I’ve ever consumed in my life. There are many people that claim to be the biggest fan of Drip Ice Cream I’m sure, but assure everyone that is reading this, I AM their biggest fan!
I was also very happy to meet some of the people behind the True North Extracts company. I have consumed a fair amount of their CO2 vaporizer pen oil, and it’s my favorite by far. Most CO2 oil out there either doesn’t taste that great, or is outright awful. True North Extracts cartridges have a flavor that is unmatched, and the flavor is joined by a strong high that I like to maintain while on the go. They had a spinning wheel game where you won a prize at their booth, and I won a sweet sticker that I have already posted up in my little home office room at my house. One of my friends and heroes, Anthony Johnson, gave a very solid speech at the event, although I
The coolest part of the event had to be the free marijuana that was being given out. In fact The Weed Blog booth was giving out 1 gram samples of some of the dankest nugs I’ve consumed in quite a long time. The free weed was courtesy of HiFi Farms. The sample of Sweet Island Skunk tested at 22% THC, packed a fantastic head high that kept me laughing and upbeat the whole evening, and had a flavor that made your lips smack after every hit. I brought a nug of it home and showed my sister in law that is visiting from out of town and she took one smell and couldn’t stop talking about how fantastic it was. I can’t explain how much it blows my mind to live in a state that is so marijuana friendly that we were able to give out free nugs to event goers of that caliber. It was a truly amazing event, the people there were so nice, and everyone was so joyful for marijuana legalization. It’s a day that I will look back on with fond memories for a very long time. I met a lot of readers at the event, all of which had kind words to say, and it gave me a boost of encouragement that I will be motivated from for a very long time. TWB has the best fan base in the industry, I swear!
As I made the hour and a half drive back home that night, I was dead tired. I had a full day of marijuana legalization under my belt, and spent the entire drive reflecting on all my years as a marijuana consumer, the struggle to legalize, and the celebration I had participated in the day legalization had taken effect in Oregon. I can now possess up to 8 ounces of dried flower in my house, have one of those ounces on my person when I’m traveling, and can cultivate up to four plants if I choose to do so. I probably won’t start growing until next outdoor season, but it’s definitely nice to have the option!
I will work as hard as I can until every adult marijuana consumer on this planet can experience what I’m experiencing now. Every adult deserves to live a full life, free from the fear of marijuana prohibition and the intents of marijuana opponents. Every adult should be able to celebrate with other marijuana fans. Every adult should be allowed to cultivate marijuana if they choose to do so. I will make all TWB readers a promise – I will never give up until you are free, and you agree to do the same. Get active. Legalize it!
(This TWB message appeared in the legalization issue of Willamette Week)