How do I write about a sensitive topic (my love of marijuana is well known in the comments 'round these parts), without sounding like some drugged-up hippy? Let me try.
My first experience was maybe four years ago, and much like many others, was with friends who already smoked. Being in my early twenties at the time, I was keen to explore life and the wonders therein. My friends didn't force me, but offered, in the same way I do to my friends now, and it was a very pleasant evening of watching silly movies and enjoying some much-needed snacks, much the same way any good Saturday evening might be spent, just without the alcohol hangover or the unpleasant crash from other substances.
With a positive first experience behind me, certainly better than my first ever night on the booze, I enjoyed a few more visits to this friend's place over the next year before I decided to make weed a part of my life. That began my now-three years of smoking pot daily. To maintain my stance of avoiding tobacco, I smoke my weed through a rather tastefully-designed, three-foot tall glass bong, always adding ice.
Side effects? I've gained a bit of weight. Nothing else has been noted.
I'd like to add at this point that I'm currently off the green, though not through choice. Random drugs-testing has made it not worth my professional career and reputation within my chosen industry, a further reason for remaining behind my chosen online nickname for this column. It's been almost two months, and aside from a distant desire to relax and smoke away the day's stresses, I've had no signs of any addiction or withdrawal.
Now I should point out that my experiences are just that -- my own -- but they do echo the experiences of many of my friends, and even colleagues that I've spoken to on the subject. It's amazing some of the people and positions who enjoy a bit of an indulgence.
Now that you know a bit about my experiences, how I got into all this, and the fact that my opinion isn't the drug-addled babbling of a chronic stoner, I can talk a little bit about my opinions on UK drug laws.
In as few a words as possible: It makes no sense.
In this country, far more harmful, addictive and destructive substances are given a legal status, over my good friend Mary Jane.
At the risk of sounding like a song by The Streets, alcohol is responsible for untold numbers of deaths and injuries across the country, placing a huge strain on our NHS, which, in case you haven't noticed, is stretched far beyond its means at the best of times, and even requires dedicated support agencies and charities to run just to help people with the addiction and harm it can cause.
Tobacco killed my grandfather, a fact that has kept me away from it. Arguably one of the most harmful substances in circulation, and somehow, it remains a supported, legal industry. I don't think I need to go into the reasons why tobacco should be phased out of our society.
A quick look at the UK Drug Classifications shows that weed, a drug that through my experiences have shown to have no significant side effects on me, with no addictive properties, and pose no risk to those around me, is held in the same classification as amphetamines, barbiturates, mephedrone and many opiates, all of which have known and significant effects on the body, and should quite rightly be regulated.
I've often heard the rebuttal to this as "weed is a gateway drug, start smoking weed and you'll be addicted to X, Y, and Z in no time at all!" To a degree, yes, I can see how this could be accurate, but only because I have to go to a shady alley and talk to a guy who's heavily involved in X, Y and Z, and is looking to make a profit, so of course I'll be offered something else -- that just makes good business sense. Upsell!
I've personally signed many petitions and made my opinion known to those who'll listen, to get the current stance on a harmless plant's legality revised. I'm not calling for complete legalisation, but for the option to be given to the public to choose whether to have marijuana in their lives, to help relax, to help enjoy a particularly bad movie, and to enjoy time with friends the same way that we allow people the choice to drink or smoke tobacco. At the very least, I'd like some intelligent, modern thought put into this topic, like similar penalties for driving after smoking, which I don't think any sensible person should even consider doing.
With that, I thank you Giz readers, and the Giz guys for giving me this opportunity to voice my opinion on a law that I find makes little sense.
By day, a professional, working for a large multinational, a short ways up the job ladder but aiming high. By night, an avid gamer, internet denizen and one of those weird furries.
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