These days, it seems like it can be tough to agree on things. Our political discourse is a fractured mess. Stereotyping has reached a rolling boil, especially on the Innerwebz, where you or I can go to be called interesting things like snowflake, or fascist, or beta (maybe even cuck), or troll, or shill, or one of a zillion permutations of “tard.” I have even had the distinction, here in the 21st Century, of being called a “wigger.” That was a pretty fun day. Everything is divided, labeled, geared, and steered in very specific directions, to be absorbed by very specific audiences, while using the words and images that resonate within that specific group, and the divisions among us deepen. Then, there’s Mary Jane.
Mary Jane is like Ferris Beuller: “Very popular… The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore [her]. They think [she’s] a righteous”… umm… chick (I think that would be the correlative to “dude”). The research bears this out. A poll published in January 2018 by the Pew Research Center shows that 61 percent of Americans support cannabis legalization, up from 57 percent the year prior, and 31 percent in 2000. Why is this?
The reasons are as varied as we are. People who use it medicinally may ingest cannabis to combat one of dozens of conditions, ranging from pain, seizures, anxiety, or depression. It can be used to combat nausea or to stimulate appetite. It’s used to treat cancer and the side effects from standard treatments of that disease, which often leave the patient in a state of even more compromised health. Addicts are using it to help kick the habit, veterans to help with PTSD.
Willie Nelson uses it to “cure what ails [him].” Snoop Dogg uses it, I believe, to keep the hip in his hop. Michael Phelps uses it to win sooooo many gold medals, and the Diaz brothers to deliver sooooo many punches. Then there are the creative types: artists, musicians, writers, performers, and the like, to whom she serves as muse par excellence.
She’s a versatile girl, Mary Jane. She will take the edge off your workweek while making dinner taste a little better. She will turn a walk in the woods with your pup into a spiritual retreat. She is a filmmaker or a music producer’s best friend, turning a movie or an album into a five-dimensional escapade.
The cannabis experience tends to blur boundaries, to blunt edges, to roll through us like water through the landscape of our consciousness – sometimes a torrent, sometimes a trickle, changing forever what was, remapping our interior worlds. She stops the every day routine. Carl Sagan nailed it when he wrote, “Cannabis brings us an awareness that we spend a lifetime being trained to overlook, and forget, and put out of our minds.”
If ever there was a time for us to do just that – to drop some of our cultural conditioning and its attendant posturing, categorizing, and divisiveness – and focus on the things which unite us, that time is now, today. Let’s follow Mary Jane’s lead and take it down a notch. Let’s be like her and offer ourselves, simple and free, in friendship, to everyone we encounter today, and let’s see what happens next.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected].