I’ve been ousted lately as a drug fiend and abuser for some of my ideas on the legalization of marijuana. I first smoked it when I was 25 as a rebellion to a youth spent deeply devoted to beliefs I had foolishly accepted without considering other options. I’ve considered much since. And I’ll admit there was a time when I probably abused my liberties with marijuana. Yet I’ve also lived through times when it has helped me immensely.
When I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder – patterns in my brain and patterns in my life – it came with a prescription for Paxil. It wasn’t bad, and based on the fact that I’m still alive and happier, it must have helped. However, eighty bucks a month didn’t fit very well into my budget anymore than health insurance does. And to be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled about relying on pharmaceuticals with such a long list of side effects. As a single male, I’m wary of any product with sexual side effects. When the rare occasion of a woman’s company does present itself, I’ve got to be ready to go. I also don’t trust a drug that makes me drowsy and gives me insomnia at the same time. So, having visions of winding up in the Bruno Ford Clinic for neurologically-impaired, pharmaceutically-addicted, premature ejaculators with various sleep disorders, I opted to take myself off of that particular drug and search for something I trusted and was more cost effective.
In my time as an intake screener at a Crisis Center in Florida, I never saw anyone admitted for marijuana. I saw its use as a symptom of various mood disorders and drug use often is. But I saw more people admitted for alcohol, cocaine, and crack than I could shake a stick at. Quite a few times they threw marijuana into the mix to deal with the pain in their lives. But I never saw marijuana addiction as a primary diagnosis.
Over the years, I’ve often smoked too much marijuana. I don’t have the benefit of a medical education to prescribe dosage amounts to myself as doctors can for accepted pharmaceuticals. I’ve had to resort to trial and error. It’s been an anti-depressant for me. It has alleviated anxiety. It’s slowed down the world and given me the stimulation I’ve needed to pay better attention to the details. And the worst side effects I’ve noticed are sleepiness and the munchies. And for this, that I have found a way to help myself without anyone else’s help, I am an outlaw. As far as my government is concerned, I can either pay eighty bucks a months for the medication they’ve okayed despite the side effects I’d rather do without, or I have the option to hope that I won’t do time for trying to better my life without heeding the warnings of the FDA and DEA. My question is, “Why should I have to?”
As an American citizen who is willing to take responsibility for his own actions in order to make his life better, therefore better serve my fellow man, why is finding a natural solution a criminal activity? I can understand being arrested and fined for my actions, but not for what I put into my own body. Why, in order to medicate myself to deal with the pace of modern society, must I be forced to buy manufactured products instead of that which I could easily grow on my own? Why am I being pushed into dependence? Why must I follow the usual path in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness instead of taking the road less traveled? Isn’t that my freedom? Who is in control here? Our government was founded by the people, for the people. As one of the people, why should I have to fear one of the very things I have used to find my liberty?
Punish my conduct, but not what I put into my body. Let me take responsibility for what I do to myself. If at that point, you don’t approve of my behavior, feel free to arrest me so I don’t hurt anyone. But if I’m not hurting anyone but myself, be on your way to find someone who is. I’ll be fine right here – just me and my little plant, minding my own business and watching the clouds.
This is an excerpt of The Rucksack Letters by Steve McAllister. Buy your copy of the eBook on Amazon.com.