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Pot thoughts

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 11:04 -- Brian Keelan

Okay then… so now that pot has been re-legalized, we are back to being a nation where it is, once more, legal to smoke pot.  Pot was made illegal in 1923. Over 95 years ago pot was legal, or at least not “illegal”. Why do you think our government made pot illegal, or as Dr. Timothy Leary famously said, “outlawed the number one vegetable on the planet?”

Famous Marijuana quote # 1:

“When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and never tried it again.” Bill Clinton

After doing some research, I find that there was no real reason for making pot illegal. There were no protests and no big demands by the temperance folks. According to several computer searches under the “Famous pot smokers” tag, some famous people such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth 1 and William Shakespeare, had used it, but not many Canadians showed up on the list back then.

The reason pot was declared illegal in 1923 is that it  got added to a list that was part of a bill called: An Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs. In those days, lots of people were snorting cocaine and smoking opium, and there was some serious concern about that. Still is to this day.

At least that’s what they say about pot being declared illegal in Canada. It wasn’t even declared illegal in the USA until 1937, 4 years after the 13-year prohibition ban on booze was lifted.

Two recent events caused me to wonder if the liquor industry wanted it in there for competitive reasons and decided to “influence” a few of our politicians to, “Just add it in there.”

1:. We had a lot of people coming for dinner on Thanksgiving weekend and Sylvia asked me to get some beer. When I got to the beer store I was going to buy a case and I was astounded at the price. Regular beer now costs $54.95 for a case of 24 beers. I am old enough to remember being a part of a protest when the government raised the price of beer to $20 for a case of 24. That price has almost tripled since then. I usually buy individual beers by the can and I average about 36 cans a year. Granted, they are tall ones but, as I like to tell my kids, “Hey… it just saves time okay.”

As the guy in front of me and I were discussing our unhappiness over the fact that a little 13-ounce bottle with 12 ounces of beer in it - now costs $2.29 (and I used to buy them for 20 cents), someone behind me said, “Screw it man. Just buy a six pack and wait until the 17th.”

When I looked back at him, he said, “That’s what I’m doing. Then I’m never coming in here again.”

2: A few days after the pot re-legalization date, I was listening to a friend of mine who owns a bar  that his son now runs. He said that his son was very concerned about the “re-legalization” of pot and how it would affect his liquor and beer sales. His concern was that people  who used to go into a bar stone -cold sober and buy several getting-more-expensive-all-the-time drinks to get where they wanted to be, would now be having a couple of puffs or a bite of a cookie in the parking lot and coming into the pub half-baked. That way they would need to purchase less beer and/or liquor to get where they liked to be on Saturday night.

It made me think of a poem a guy told me back in the very early seventies in Cleveland at what I believed at the time to be a Grateful Dead Concert. I bought a brownie from a guy I did not know, but I trusted him because he reminded me of Al Sleet, the Hippy Dippy Weatherman that George Carlin used do in his act. He told me, “Okay man, after you eat this brownie, you’ve got five minutes to get yourself someplace safe. If you don’t you’re gonna be in a lot of trouble.”

I watched the whole concert alone in the last row of the bleachers and as they used to say back in the day, “It was beautiful man.” I kept reciting the poem he had told me as part of his sales pitch, “God is perfect. Man is not. Man made liquor but God made pot.”

I found out a few days later that the bleachers in Municipal Stadium were behind the stage, which explained why the concert did not seem to be very well attended. I was also informed that the Grateful Dead were in Pittsburgh that night and that I had,  in fact, attended a Carpenter’s concert. Even so, it was still beautiful man.

And thus, I can imagine the booze industry is very concerned that the re-legalization of pot will cut into their sales figures and profits. The wine people who are thriving could also see a new competitor for their recreational-drinking dollar.

I recently drank a very nice Cabernet Sauvignon from Aberarder. The Refined Fool is making excellent beer for us right here in town. However, I assume they will all be in competition with the much-anticipated arrival of Petrolia Window Box marijuana. Instead of going to a pub and paying $8.95 for a glass of wine, people will be going to Tim Horton’s and ordering, “A large Iced Cap Supreme man and fifty Timbits please: twenty-five of the ones with that nice strawberry filling in the centre and twenty-five of the chocolate ones with the double chocolate icing.”

Personally, I think it will be the wine industry that will take the biggest hit from pot, but I also think the wine industry is in the best position to respond to the challenge. They actually grow their grapes so growing pot wouldn’t be a real stretch for them. They are also very good at describing the nature of the experience you get from using their product, along with the recommended gastronomical pairings that go best with that particular grape… or weed.

Of course, there is lots of talk about the danger of marijuana being a gateway drug, which I personally believe it is. I believe it to be a gateway to French fries, milkshakes, Doritos, brownies, Raisin Bran, butter tarts and anything else in the refrigerator or pantry that isn’t nailed down.

Commercial idea:

“This Is Your Brain.

This Is Your Brain on Pot.

This Is Your Brain Desperately Searching for Doritos.”

I also think the re-legalization of pot is the government’s way of admitting defeat in their war on this drug. A war that started back in the early 60’s when Bob Dylan knocked Elvis off the hit parade. A few years later we had the summer of love and Woodstock. I don’t think anybody saw that coming. Five hundred thousand people were there, but today five million people will say they were there.

Just for the record, I wasn’t.

But… a few years ago, I was in LA after sailing a boat back from Hawaii. The first night back, the skipper invited the crew to a party at his place to celebrate the completion of our voyage. There was a very interesting group of aging hippies there who considered themselves to be, “free spirits man.” One of them pulled out a joint the size of a Cuban cigar, lit it up, took a drag and started passing it around. When it came around to me, I declined, saying, “No thanks man.”

The guy was quite surprised and he said, “Dude… really? How come?”

I told him, “I think smoking pot just makes me stupid.”

He said, “Oh no man. That’s like totally wrong. Pot does not make you stupid. Believe me man, you were stupid before you smoked it.”

Not wanting to appear even more stupid than I felt, I decided to take him up on his offer.

It was one of the greatest nights of my life. I think.

Other than the fact that I laughed my ass off and said, “Wow,” and “Really!” a lot, I don’t remember too much and that does seem kind of stupid doesn’t it?

That reminds me of the anti-pot commercial I once saw that asked the question: “Why do you think they call it dope?”

I agree. That’s just my opinion, but I could be wrong. However, if I am then so were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Queen Elizabeth 1 and William Shakespeare. And if Steve jobs hadn’t smoked it, I probably would not be writing this on my iMac either.

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