“I never knew you were such a little stoner,” says approximately everyone who walks into my apartment and is immediately bowled over by the pungent aroma of marijuana. Using ‘stoner’ as a blanket term for anyone who smokes pot seems at best uncreatively inaccurate and at worst arrogantly dismissive. I smoke pot, but I also work a full time job that is both repetitive and soul crushing, contribute to xojane, push my personal homosexual agenda, and keep the apartment clean enough to keep my slightly (but delightfully) high strung roommate from the brink of insanity. My smoking is consistent yet moderate; bowls mostly, kept within arms length and smoked with the same languid appreciation that another might feel for fine scotch or artisanal bread. Smoking not only allows me to chill the fuck out (naturally I err on the side of ‘too chill’ aka hella lazy ‘not chill enough’ aka what’s your damage heather), but it also conjures creative if somewhat illogical ideas. I’ve been around the psychiatric ringer and find that no matter how many anti-anxiety pills I’m prescribed, nothing allows me to bypass the crippling anxiety I feel about writing, parallel parking, or having an open dialogue about my emotions (ew) like a smooth hit o’ dro.
When I think of ‘stoner’ I think of ‘Judd Apatow’ because that is the time we live in. ‘Stoner’ carries a connotation of bearded boy-men waxing shitty poetic about their HS crushes in whatever inane action-comedy TBS can afford to screen. Stoners are boys, and dirty ones at that; privileged man-children who breeze through life with the listless entitlement of someone too spaced out to realize things might not, in fact, turn out all right. Stoners don’t achieve: they classically underachieve, taking sweet satisfaction in the grim little truth that when you never try your hardest, your hardest is never not good enough. Stoners are society’s affable underbelly, seeking cheap laughs and cheaper eats at the expense of competitive job markets and dust-free ruffles. “Stoners” are losers, and I am not a loser.
What I am, however, is a regular smoker- and there is a stigma attached to that. Of course, there is one very obvious reason for that: according to Federal law (and most states) marijuana is an illegal drug comparable to cocaine or crystal meth. I’m lucky enough to live in California, a state that (along with 18 others) allows residents to participate in the Medical Marijuana program. At this late stage in the game it seems almost redundant to argue for the legalization of medical marijuana: we all know the benefits, we’ve all heard the lines. I’d like to think that no xojane reader honestly believes in depriving terminally ill patients a brief respite from their pain out of some out-dated, illogical prejudice dating back to the Korean War. What I’d like to know is what xojane readers think of the legalization of recreational marijuana- like the kind seen in Colorado with this last election. Marijuana, like alcohol and cigarettes, could be an incredible source of taxable revenue for a government struggling to provide even the most basic of public services. Beggars can’t be choosers, and the United States is dead broke: why not tolerate another vice, like alcohol or cigarettes, for consenting American adults? Yes, marijuana (like anything) can be detrimental to your health: but as long as it doesn’t negatively affect my day to day existence, then why is it automatically a problem?
This is a way to consider what differentiates Judd Apatow ‘stoner’ from a smoker such as I. Using the same model that differentiates a casual drinker from an alcoholic or being someone who enjoys sex from a nymphomaniac, the level of chosen impact dictates the control you allow your choice of vice to have on your life. Because that’s all marijuana is: another harmless vice, a way to relax, a duller of edges, an easy out. It may be en vogue to be all ‘relax,’ ‘be yourself,’ or ‘don’t think so much around others,’ but I need some help in shutting down the never ending inner monologue so prevalent amongst the young and self-involved. Just yesterday some friends came over for bellinis and blunts and one of them put my ipod on shuffle. Usually this would make me strangely anxious: my ipod is like a peephole into my soul, revealing all sorts of genres (angry-country pop about cheating) and artists (Miley Cyrus) better left shrouded. Had it not been for weed I would have spent the evening tense and praying it wouldn’t cut to one of the many, many rape scenes in my Game Of Thrones audiobook. This has happened before and it is indescribably uncomfortable.
Life is just too horrid and overwhelming for me to not occasionally imbibe in THC. The sheer amount of stimulus thrown at me every day vis-a-vis iphone, ipad, macbook, biffles, boss, roommate, and girlfriend tears me in every which direction until I need that one blissful inhalation for peace or else I might cry; and I strongly dislike crying. Instead of waiting for the world to adapt to me, I adapt to the world by altering the chemicals in my body. It might not be productive or character building, but it is fantastically effective. Maybe therapy or yoga or guided meditation classes accompanied by nutrient-rich smoothies could calm my mind and solve my problems in a healthy, holistic manner but I don’t really feel like drinking a smoothie because really, fuck smoothies. Can’t we all agree to tolerate each other’s indulgences without judgement as long as those indulgences do not affect others? Maybe your vice, like weed, is a little outre normal: 4loko, sex with strangers in public restrooms, 4,000 calorie desserts. Maybe it’s pretty tame: a glass (or seven) of 2-buck chuck, on-sale burgundy Rag & Bone skinnies that do not in any foreseeable context fit your lifestyle. Whatevs. Let’s stop dismissing each other by what we take pleasure in. Let’s use our minds instead of regurgitating common misconceptions. Let’s weigh the benefits and opportunity cost of legalizing recreational marijuana and make an informed decision. Let’s not make assumptions. Let’s mind our own fucking business. Let’s not lump all people who smoke weed into the category of stoner. Let’s just chill, ok? Blunts on me.