Our Attorney General has spoken. “You can’t have the President of the United States talking about marijuana like it’s no different than taking a drink,” he said, wearing his stern face that says “Jail time for making fun of my chubby cheeks.” Wielding that same level of helium gravitas, he also said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Finally, I got the message. He was talking to me, after all. I’m a good person (acquaintances’ testimonies to the contrary available on request). At first I tried to hedge my position, thinking that edibles might be okay, but I couldn’t long avoid the penetrating, squirrel-like gaze of the AG. He was deeply scandalized not only by the idea that marijuana could be legal, but that good, upstanding citizens would consider using it.
And of course he was right. I suddenly saw what was required of me, to live up to the highest American ideals, to embrace what has made our country great, to do my part in getting us back to our glory days as a nation: I needed to drink. Drink seriously. Drink copiously, dedicatedly, patriotically. How else to restore the prestige of those by-gone, Mad Men days of three martini lunches? How else to make America truly normal again?
So I drove right over to my nearest dispensary—which, appropriately enough, happens to be a drug store—and bought myself a half-gallon of respectable social anesthetic. It was a fraught, historical moment. I was not giving in to sleazy, back-alley alternatives, but proudly exhibiting my main-stream choice for mind-alteration and societally-sanctioned liver damage.
In a zealous demonstration of loyalty to the cause, I opened my half-gallon in the car and took a few pulls right out of the bottle. Can’t recall now if it was the clear stuff or the amber type, but I do remember that after some additional swallows I felt a powerful urge to share the message of decent, wholesome, time-honored values with other people in the parking lot. For whatever reason, none of them seemed interested in a drink right then, but I urged them at least to reflect on the beauty of drinking as a tradition, a way of life, one that is spread out across our nation’s history like vomit on a frat house rug. I needed to explain that though no one has ever died from marijuana consumption, and that about 90,000 Americans die each year from alcohol-related causes, the AG still finds marijuana consumption deeply offensive in the part of his brain that’s responsible for irrational conclusions and his striking bobble-head appearance.
It was obviously not the moment for me to bring up the fact that the societal costs of alcohol consumption now top $250 billion a year—without counting the incalculable and inexpressibly greater impact of alcohol on families, through its contribution to domestic violence, child abuse and other crimes.
In his commanding, elf-like way, the AG has gone further still in condemning marijuana, by equating it with heroin. I must say I deeply respect anyone who can make such a statement in public and still maintain a straight face, considering the self-control required. Fantastic personal discipline like that makes me pose the obvious question: Where can I get some of what you’re smoking, sir?
I am embarrassed even to attempt to sway such a stalwart–if completely mad–viewpoint, but the AG might want to consider that there were over 15,000 heroin-related deaths in 2016, plus another roughly 35,000 deaths from other opioid painkillers, natural and synthetic. By way of contrast, a severe response to marijuana usually results in a paranoid sojourn, locked in a bathroom for a few hours; or perhaps consumption of a couple of pints of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy ice cream.
But do we really need yet another means of escaping reality, of distorting our consciousness for recreation? Don’t we have enough of those?
I don’t know about you, but I certainly welcome whatever escape is available when I find myself thinking about the tragic fate of little Barron Trump, or when I need to avoid the image of Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the impossible question of how someone with no neck can wear a string of pearls. But even if you feel we don’t need it, are you, like the AG, willing to overlook the very real medical benefits of marijuana, experienced by so many people? Even if you are, how would you propose to make marijuana go away? Ignore it? Leave it to the Mexican cartels? With 29 states plus D.C. already permitting medical use and eight states allowing recreational use, does the wind seem to you to be blowing in a particular direction? Does the AG get this?
How will he put the smoke back in the bong?