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If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
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My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

A Pleasant Sense of Well-Being

A Pleasant Sense of Well-Being
Yesterday, I introduced the topic of an elephant wandering loose in the community, and I had an agenda.  Whereas the elephant on the prowl may seem intrusive and potentially unsettling to guests, this particular elephant is much more comfortable here in California, possibly, than any other place.  Personally, I adhere to all of the components of yesterday’s post, except the first.
I believe that people are capable of determining for themselves, which of those six blind men, best represents them.  If someone falls into the first category, that of rejecting outright, any thought that cannabis might be viewed as acceptable in their eyes, then more power to them.  No skin off of my nose.  I do, however, object to having people dictate to me, how I should view the topic; I like to think I can work these details out on my own.  This prompts the question, “How much say (read that, control) should one person have over another, if both are adults, when it comes to determining whether one should indulge or not in the mighty-juana?
Does this change if one is half of a relationship, and wishes to impose his/her position on the other?  [*obligatory disclaimer]  Does a partner-for-life have a/the right to dictate policy in these matters?  I do not pose the question for any other substance than cannabis.  
Regardless of occupation, and with ingestion during any phase of working never a consideration, does a mate have the right to say, “I am uncomfortable with your use of cannabis, so please desist?”  Of course, one cannot know for sure all of the reasons a person might have for either use, or for this sort of request, but certainly the legal versus moral issue arises, in many instances.  Legally, unless one has a medical prescription, obtainable the way any other prescription is available, it is a misdemeanor to possess any amount.
But aside from this issue, without diminishing it, does one person’s level of discomfort, give her/him the right to assert that cannabis is off-limits to the other?  I think a couple of qualifying parameters might be established: first, use is occasional, and need not be done in the presence of the unwilling participant.  Secondly, the herb is a gift to the partaker, so how it came to be present, in the first place, does not play a role.
Let’s assume that the person indulging has a stressful occupation, feels the need for relaxation, of an evening, or Saturday afternoon, and recognizes that alcohol or other available options require too much excess baggage.  On the other hand, cannabis produces a pleasant sense of well-being, allows the partaker to feel as though life is a little more approachable, and allows for these problems to be confronted and articulated, so as to appear somewhat less threatening.  Would that be such a bad thing? 
The other factor that I feel applies, is the fact that the culture in which we live, has long since embraced this benign plant, whole-heartedly.  Therefore, the person who pursues his/her relationship with cannabis, may have been a frequent flyer for the first many years of her adult life, with a respect and devotion for this herb.
If I may, I would like to present a couple of examples from my own recent history, that reflect not only my philosophy, but allow me to demonstrate how I choreograph my own actions in relation to reefer.  When I first contacted my friend Mahlon, last March, he had been battling cancer of the esophagus for two years.  He had all of the accompanying negative side effects, including loss of hunger, and struggles with keeping his chin up.
I asked if he were interested in some of my home-made, gluten-free, oatmeal cookies, with the raisins and almonds in them.  By the way, I substitute an oil, for the butter, in which I steeped marijuana, for twenty-four hours in a crock-pot.  I do have a medical marijuana prescription, and can therefore not only possess it legally in the first place, I can convert it into a substance that is healthier to ingest, than more conventional methods.
Mahlon was highly interested, and when I was able to figure out the perfect way to legally whisk, first cookies, and then small amounts of oil itself,  back to North Carolina, both he and his family expressed appreciation.  That made it all worth while.  I will not bore you with the litany of medicinal uses I derive from the use of reefer.  Just the fact that I was able to phase out the anxiety drug, Lorazapam, and replace it with reefer, legally, was very rewarding.
The other example, is that I recently read someone express the thought that, if this commodity had been available recently, for a sick loved one, this person would have made it available, with the premise being that anything that helped ease the pain of another, was a good thing.  
I leave with the thought that millions of people use this substance, nationwide, and corporate America, including the alcohol and prescription drug companies, does not approve.  Which faction is more likely to make campaign contributions to politicians: the medical marijuana community, or the alcohol/drug companies?
As to whether one person should be able to monitor another’s actions in this regard, I think basic respect and common sense should prevail.  Sneaking around seems juvenile, but imposing one’s will on another seems dictatorial.  “Out of sight, out of mind” is my idea for compromise.
* Please, please do not think this is some less-than-obscure skewer, upon which I am roasting Annie.  She does not partake, but for me, she prefers reefer to Lorazapam, hands down.

18 comments:

  1. You raise an interesting question about how much influence one partner should have over the other.
    I would expect that if two people in a relationship truly cared deeply about one another, and one was in pain,(emotional or physical) the other would accept and actually encourage any method their partner chose to use to relieve that pain.
    What would the concern of the non-user be? Would the concern be that it would have a negative effect on the relationship?
    Does the use of marijuana diminish the user's ability to remain fully engaged?
    Is there a likelihood that the "as needed" mediciinal use can turn into more frequent habitual use?
    Can occasional recreational use turn into substance abuse?
    These are genuine curious questions coming from someone who is completely ignorant about cannabis, on a personal level that is.
    IMHO, I feel that as long as alcohol is legal, marijuana should also be legal. And I think neither should be illegal in any case.
    I agree that the reason marijuana is not on the shelf alongside the Marlboros and six packs of Budweiser (you can probably tell I don't know anything about cigarettes and beer either) is that greedy corporations haven't figured out how to tap that market yet.
    When my mother was ill with cancer, my sister and I asked her oncologist if he thought marijuana would be helpful. He was probably in his sixties. He said "No, no it isn't effective at all." "But, here take these samples of Rx that my pharmaceutical rep just dropped off, they might be helpful."
    I am happy to hear that your cookies gave Mr. Blue much needed relief.
    I am happy to hear that your cookies provide you with the same.
    I would hope and expect that someone would do it for me if I ever needed it. And I am sure Ross might even indulge with me, he loves cookies.

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  2. Thoughtful post, Mark. Can I tell the truth?

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  3. I want you to know that I'm reading and I'm thinking about what you have to say on this issue. Given my profession, it is fair to say I have very mixed feelings on the subject.

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  4. Having a continual case of "the munchies" seems to be my lot in life.
    So .... legalize it, make it available, study it , explore it, save the government billions in its hidden international war, tax it if you will with an ear-mark to cure and educate rather than prohibit use, put it on the generic list, get the governors out of the grow houses (they don't know what they're doing) and keep me supplied with cookies. I know a lot of people who could have used the soothing effects and lent some dignity to their final days. By the way, I am the Ross that Lynda reefers to.

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    1. Ross! How cool to meet you! I love reading Lynda's posts and you sure know how to take care of her. And what a sense of humor you display here! Talk about word play! Come and play with us more often! JT

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  5. Lynda: Possible concerns? A list, any of which you touched on.
    Minimal, visible evidence of use, except for a tendency to smile. Enhanced (!) ability to engage. Turn into frequent use? One premise was that the user was already familiar in earlier life, so abuse is less likely, as is addiction, which presents itself in the form of psychological addiction, as opposed to physical. I have stopped for as long as five years, cold turkey, with minimal discomfort after the first three days.
    Your questions are genuine and deserve full respect. It is difficult to imagine a scenario here in California, where an adult of ANY generation, would have no exposure to cannabis. The medicinal benefits are incalculable, with each individual determining how it applies. My recovering knee benefits from the oil applied directly to the entire area; any irritation of the skin is eased by direct application. It serves the same purpose as St. John's Wart, which grows prolifically here in fields and along side the roadways. I appreciated the depth with which you addressed the post; I was thinking of you as I wrote it, because you had written that you had no familiarity with it.
    JT:The truth, the hole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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  6. Sarah, I am aware of your profession, and understand that this may be a topic which does not allow much degree of objectivity; I apologize for bringing it into your arena.

    Ross, honored I am, to be visited by such an icon in the world of New Jersey the Beautiful. I value your opinion, and that of your talented wife, greatly. I also think your comments reflect those of someone who is capable of determining for himself, which of the blind men represents him.

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  7. I horrified my kids by saying I'd rather they smoke a joint than smoke a cigarette! I'm not a partaker myself, but I know people who do, and my opinion over the years has changed from "just say no" to now I'm with Lynda: as long as alcohol is legal, so should marijuana. Very thought provoking post! Thanks!

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  8. As I taught both my sons and students, make wise choices. "Things" do not happen by accident; people choose to act accordingly. I really appreciate the feedback.

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  9. We don't have medical marijuana in my state, but when my dad was so ill before he died, he could have used the appetite stimulant effect as well as the calming. It was a heart-breaking struggle as he lost his appetite. If I could have gotten some for him, I would have. Why should he have been deprived of something that would have made his last weeks more comfortable?
    Why are we still debating this subject in 2012?

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  10. My heart aches for your father and for you. Your question is a valid one: in the last time a person has, comfort should be at a premium. Thank you for your input.

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  11. So here's the truth: I knew this piece was coming. It is my relationship and my history to which Mark is referring. All is as he states. The mister was born in the second month of the official start of the Baby boomer generation but attitude wise , he fits an earlier generation. He has never, repeat NEVEr, indulged in any illegal substances and has likely consumed less than the equivalent of one bottle of wine or maybe two beers. Me? I am right there with the middle children of the BB generation and have partaken of lots of substances. But, when we got married, I stopped all use of illegal substances. A couple of years ago, I was riding my bike and was hit by a truck. Internal injuries and nine broken bones - reefer was a godsend. I do have a stressful job and would NEVER consider using other than on occasional evenings or weekends - I live with headaches and reefer can help with that.
    The mister is a very good person - uber responsible, intelligent, hard working, stoic,(not necessarily good but part of his generation) and with a witty sense of humor. He sees the world in black and white and is driven by adherence to the rules - me? I see colors and shades of grey - rules are meant to be considered and, for the most part, followed as they relate to both personal and big picture well being -
    It is his own insecurity that gets in the way but I go along with it - I haven't always but, in the last few years we have seen some rocky times in our almost 29 year old marriage. In light of our attempts to get this marriage back on track, I am acquiescing - what the hell.

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  13. What a thought-provoking post and subsequent conversation. Working where I do (in a halfway house for recovery alcoholics and addicts, for those who don't already know), I can honestly say that in my three years there, we have only ever had ONE resident whose "primary" substance was marijuana. He was legally mandated to treatment for illegally growing the stuff. I realize my sampling is tiny and highly non-scientific but I can't help thinking that it means something. I also can't help speculating that if marijuana were legal, this gentleman would never have broken the law.

    (A quick side note about the people whose "primary" substance was something else--many, many, many of them used marijuana occasionally as a side thing, but for most of them (especially the younger ones), their first-ever substance was something else--prescription drugs is more and more common. So whatever truth there may ever have been in the concept of marijuana as a gateway drug is surely diminishing. Again, in my tiny and unscientific sample.)

    All that said, I think your relationship question is really more about what sort of control one partner should have over another's choices than it is about the safety, efficacy, etc of marijuana. In my opinion, that comes down to two basic things.

    First, what is the motivation behind this attempt to control? Does it come from sincere concern? Is the "controlling" partner genuinely worried about the health and well-being of the partaking partner? Does he or she have a well-founded (if misguided) belief about the hazards of marijuana? Does the controller bring a history--of family use or abuse, etc--into the relationship that is being expressed in this way? Or, is the controller merely trying to be the boss of the other partner? (And that leads to a whole separate set of questions, such as where does this need to control come from? Is it simply insecurity or is it something more sinister? Etc., etc.)

    Second, while I do not believe that marriage (or any other long-term commitment situation) gives one partner the right to dictate the other's behavior (I certainly do not want to be dictated to!), I do believe that we all have the right to set limitations for ourselves within the bounds of that relationship. So, for example, I would never say to my husband, "You can't spoke pot!" However, if his use of marijuana (or alcohol or anything else) had quantifiable consequences that directly affected me and our family, then I would absolutely say, "This has become an issue and if you're unwilling to look at it, it could be a deal-breaker." To me, that is not attempting to dictate his behavior, but standing up for my own well-being.

    Based on the conditions in your "hypothetical" (hi, JT!) example, serious consequences don't seem to be a real issue here. I will say that in my experience (twenty-five years of wedded blitz, er, bliss, this July), relationships that survive are constantly being renegotiated as the needs of each partner grow and change. We all make choices that may seem strange from the outside, but work within the context of that relationship.

    Thanks for yet again getting my brain burbling.

    [PS--Sorry about the deleted comment. Upon re-reading it the first time, there was a line that did not seem clear to me so I had to fix it and add another sentence while I was at it.]

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    1. You know, if I said emphatically, look, I am going to smoke, the mister would step out of the way. He would not be happy about it but he would accept it (unless he thought it was in some way harmful to me - I was smoking so that it interfered with work , for example). But, I reiterate, he would not be happy. So, for now, it doesn't matter that much to me. I take OTC meds for headaches and I just deal with stress. He doesn't object to my having a glass of wine at night ( I find that fact amusing since they accomplish the same end result but, from his perspective, they are very different. Really? I don't think so).. I have a glass at the end of the day and let it go. I can and do indulge when I am on the road or the mister is out of town - he knows it but he can't see it and I think that matters to him. Whatever.
      Thanks for your very thoughtful response, MM

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  14. Masked Mom, I read your response through twice, and am overwhelmed by the depth of your words. You make many salient points, especially in light of the arena, in which you work. And your point about gateway drugs, is well-taken.

    I guess the entire discussion is prompted by the fact that in our culture, here on the mountain, and in the surrounding area, cannabis is only seen through eyes which seek out the benefits; if there is a down-side, it is the violation of our space by federal influences, which once again stir up the whole states' rights issue. Now there was a way to attract eighth graders into the political arena, as if ninety percent of them did not have some affiliation with cannabis, whether in a peripheral mode(it is being grown/processed on the premises.

    In any case, for you to have taken the time to help my sister out, with your observations and experience, is very moving to me. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Mark, for introducing such a compelling topic and being so patient and kind about my long-winded, and, as it turns out, typo-ridden response. ("You can't SPOKE pot!" vs "You can't SMOKE pot!" and "RECOVERY" vs "RECOVERING," for two examples that just jumped out at me.)

      :)

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