Of cannabis, kids and copters

I first smoked pot when I was 17 years old, a few years after the above photo was taken. The kid in the photo vaguely considered pot as ‘bad’, but hadn’t given the issue much thought. When I was offered the opportunity to try a joint I leapt at the chance, but was disappointed when nothing seemed to happen. On the third try I actually got high, loved it, and started down the road that has led me to this editorial.
I vividly remember how magical marijuana seemed to be. How the tiniest bag of this incredible herb would propel me into amazing realms of imagination and realization. The friends who introduced me to pot were my fellow players of Dungeons & Dragons, We loved to get high and play our imagination game, and when stoned by myself I would often plot the intricate details of my campaign.

I think about my own childhood more now that I have a young daughter, and I can see how in many ways her early experiences will be quite different than mine. One of her first words was ?pot? as she pointed to the ever-present baggie, and she sometimes mimics us taking bong hits with a shampoo bottle or other tube.

People ask me how old she’d have to be before I let her try marijuana, and I honestly answer that I have no idea. I wouldn’t share a joint with her now, but I haven’t fixed an age that will magically allow her to get high. I don’t know when she might ask me to share my stash with her, and I think that for each person, each family, the decisions and reasons will be different. I know I’d react differently if she asked for a bong hit, a tab of acid or a beer.

Yet the most important thing to remember when considering young people using marijuana is that it’s not really a big deal! Teen pot use is not a soul-shattering, life-destroying crisis. In fact, considering that wanting to alter one’s consciousness is a natural and ubiquitous desire, marijuana use is actually a responsible choice, especially when compared to effects of other drugs, both legal and illegal.

Prohibitionist propaganda almost always cries ?what about the children?? Whether the issue is allowing the sick and dying to use medicinal marijuana, lessening the penalties for possession, or allowing needle exchange and safe injection rooms, any sign of tolerance or compassion for users of banned drugs is derided as ?sending the wrong message to children.?

Yet in the name of ?protecting children?, drug warriors destroy families, seize homes, imprison parents, orphan children, shoot pets, poison ecosystems, and ruthlessly slaughter entire villages in South America. What message is sent to a child whose home is invaded, dog shot before their eyes and their parents beaten by police, all over a bag of pot or other banned herbal concentrates?

The war on drugs is an ongoing atrocity which brutalizes the most vulnerable members of our society. We must remember that this is not a war we can win with weapons. We have little hope of defeating the military might of the drug war machine in open conflict. Ours must be a victory of conscience. We must subvert our enemies and turn them to our side. We must convince them to lay down their arms and join us in common cause. We must be more intelligent, more cunning, and more persuasive than our oppressors.

Our cover depicts an anti-pot helicopter trailing smoke over a field of herb ripe for harvest. The source of its engine troubles is for the reader to speculate.

Remember, those narcs were somebody’s kids once too.

Dana Larsen
Editor, Cannabis Culture