Tuesday, March 17, 2020

THC and Me: Confessions of a lifelong pothead

 I never thought I'd see the day, but as of the beginning of this year, marijuana is legal in Illinois for recreational use. It's been decriminalized for some time now here in the land o'Lincoln, and legal for medical use since 2012. For the first time in my lifetime, you don't have to sneak around about it. 

But you do have to wait in line. The capital city now has a dispensary right downtown, where you can buy Vapes, Concentrate(aka Hash Oil and other names), and edibles such as Gummies and Mints, along with the usual-and-customary flower. 

You wait in a total of three, sometimes four lines: there's sometimes the line outside the place, a line from just inside the door where they check ID, a third line where 'Budtenders' take your product orders, and finally a checkout line. They give you your cannabis in a paper bag which they staple. From there, you're back out on the street, presumably on your way to your vehicle to get home and try out your new-and newly legal-weed. 
This is what legal pot looks like. It's greener and cleaner. A bit expensive with the tax, but what the hell..
And this is the bag it comes in. 

Other goodies, called 'edibles'. More of a 'creeper' high than the traditional smoke. And for those who can't smoke.
They really are called Budtenders. Hearing the term for the first time gave me a chuckle, which I think pissed one of them off. 

I gotta say, it is a friendly place. People are generally in good spirits(maybe high already), and you usually have a nice chat with whoever is in line next to you. And the Budtenders themselves are always upbeat, with their game faces securely on, ready to meet the teeming hordes of cannabis customers.Definitely a place with job security. And I'd be very surprised if you had to take a drug test to work there!(Maybe to insure that you'd test positive..).

 The clientele runs the gamut as far as age, from barely legal 21-year-olds to us old folks in our 60s and 70s. I think the gray-haired(or no-haired) ones like myself are still shaking their heads in disbelief that this is actually happening. But really, it's about damned time. Gallup Polls from back in the 60's showed something like 16% were in favor of legalization; and more current polls show this number pretty much reversed, with only 16% opposed to legal pot.But it'll still take some time for it to be legal in all 50 States.

And I realize of course that the real reason for legalization was to bail out Illinois. But sometimes the right things happen for the wrong reasons. It's still a drug, and as such should be used responsibly. And it's certainly not a medical panacea. But as drugs go, it's a lot less harmful than alcohol. And doesn't give you a belly. Although you could get the munchies, and end up with a --can't say it!

Being a long-time user, I've had a 'budtender' for a couple decades now and thus don't really need the store. Just a phone call or text and I'm all set. And I certainly want to honor this long and fruitful relationship . It'll take a good while for the novelty to wear off though. One "hippie era" dream realized, if the only one. Turn on, tune in and drop out. Or something to that effect. Being a product of that time, I'm old enough now that my memory is starting to slip.

Since I started on this, we've found ourselves in the grip of a Pandemic. Us oldsters are staying in as much as possible. The first thing that went out the window was my visits to our new Pot store. Too many people packed into too small a space. An infection waiting to happen. As it is now, they're just taking online orders. 

But I called my "budtender" instead. "Probably a good idea to stock up", I said. "Got one waiting for you." So the transaction was made right in my living room. Nothing touched anything. Some friends automatically give you a handshake and/or hug before they leave you. My budtender and I are long-standing friends, but I don't think we've ever shook on it. His way of being a friend(besides providing me with quality cannabis)is more to tell me what's fucked-up about my house, what needs work. So I'm left with some pretty good weed and home-repair advice. You could certainly do worse. 

Let's hope cannabis remains legal. It's not a solution to the world's problems, but sure as hell makes them easier to bear.


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