Something long overdue happened yesterday.
Canada legalized pot.
It’s a limited legalization, of course: we have to buy it from legally-certified shops, who in turn access the product from legally-certified growers. We are limited to growing four plants per household for personal use. Each province got to increase the rules and regs (up to a point) beyond those laws, and then each municipality got to add bylaws of their own.
But it is legal, and, we are promised, legislation to grant full free pardons to those convicted of simple possession in the past will be forthcoming in the next year.
Canadian dispensaries ran out of legal weed within hours…which says a whole lot about us as a culture.
But what struck me as most telling were the people who suddenly revealed themselves as both fearful and vindictive. It was there, on my FB wall, as plain as day.
There were a lot of people I had thought of as mature, common-sense, level-headed, tolerant adults, predicting gloom and doom.
There would be a HUGE increase in car crashes. Mayhem in the streets. Depravity run amok. Civilisation as we know it would cease.
And when I pointed out that a) no jurisdiction that had legalized pot had seen any of this happen and b) they knew, for a cold, hard fact that many of their friends had been smoking dope for decades and there was no sign of even small, domestic collapse, let alone an earth-shattering meltdown of society in general, they gleefully said “Time will tell!”
Like they couldn’t wait to be right. Like they wanted things to turn out badly: for people to die, for marriages to end, for there to be riots and looting and the need for martial law to be declared.
The other thing that became apparent, as the discussions progressed, was that this was not about drugs, or even about negative consequences.
It was the power over others that they were losing – that was what annoyed them.
It was as if somewhere in the back of their minds, they had enjoyed the thought that at any point, if a friend who toked up irritated them sufficiently, they could turn them in and ruin their lives.
They would never do it, of course. They are “nice people” and they love their friends to bits.
But that unconfessed potential to harm – coiled so deep under their own understanding of themselves that they do not even now acknowledge it – that was what they were bemoaning the loss of.
The idea that they could no longer feel superior to someone who enjoyed something that they did not do is what is fueling their fear, their anger, their prognostications of doom and gloom.
And I am more than a little dismayed to think that I once respected them.
Sunday morning…I noticed that after the Tuesday night/Wednesday morning prognostication of the beginning of Armageddon, these people went utterly silent.
It’s possible that the complete lack of riots and depravity shocked them into speechlessness.
It’s also possible that, having seen the line-ups at the new pot stores, and heard from heretofore “assumed to be straight/turned out to be tokers” (colleagues, supervisors, and close relatives) they are at home on the couch with the smelling salts.