Legalize It

December 10, 2011 at 4:20 am (Cosmic Encounters)

Somewhere, blue eyes are cryin’ in the rain. With all due respect to Willie Nelson, my outlaw status has been retired.

I am now Green Card approved.

I first smoked marijuana in 1975. I loved the hippie mystique, the euphoria, how it slowed the world down so I could soak it all in. Until recently, I scoffed a bit at those who said pot was a good pain medication. It takes your mind off the pain, but having an actual analgesic effect? Pfft.

Then I tried edibles.

It gives me the positive effects of opiates without addiction worries or drug hangover. Sure, it leaves ya goofy, but so does Vicodin. Vicodin gives me stomach issues. Brownies make me hungry.

“Freedom isn’t free, there’s a hefty fuckin’ fee.
Freedom costs a buck oh five…”

The government has learned, “If ya can’t lick ’em, join ’em!” Now the state of Oregon is the biggest weed dealer around. After receiving an offer I couldn’t refuse, I decided to get my state-sanctioned medical marijuana card. There’s a rubber stamp on my butt that says, “Gov’t Approved!”

Getting the card was an adventure. I don’t have cancer or AIDS, and am hardly wasting away. Providence is my medical provider, and when I asked my doctor about it, she hissed and spat and said “We don’t do that sort of thing here!” (Slight exaggeration, same result. She said no fucking way.) Being a religion-based charity, I took what I could get. Opiates. But I digress. Sorry, weed makes me ramble sometimes…

My first contact with the clinic involved a phone call. The receptionist asked a few questions, then said I should come in with $35. If I am denied, there will be no further cost. If approved, it would cost $250. I made sure the Platinum Card was in pocket and went for my screening.

The young lady was polite and professional. She copied my ID, looked at my medical records. She set aside the part where Providence would no longer give me opiates because I’d tested positive for marijuana. She took items relating to my arthritic back and knees. She made copies, ran my credit card, and set an appointment on my ex-mother-in-law’s birthday.

“You’re charging me? But what if I’m denied?”

“You would be given a refund, but at this point no one has ever been denied.” Her reassuring smile said, “Relax, dude. We’re cool…”

When it came time for the appointment, I felt the need for a symbolic gesture. I took along a “special cupcake” and munched it as I walked down the hill toward the clinic. It would be the last time I illegally ingested marijuana. I’m going to miss you, naughty thrill…

The clinic was empty when I arrived. A different receptionist took my info, and I waited. Soon the lobby was full. A dude in a wheelchair with a mohawk and pierced nose sat next to three southeast barfly/moms. A “normal” looking couple. What looked to be a Desert Storm veteran, young and angry. We waited. I was the first called.

A nurse took my vitals, glanced over my medical records. “Okay, wait in the hallway, the doctor will see you in a few minutes.”

A husky dog wandered the clinic. In all, a chill vibe. There was a bit of ruckus coming from the lobby. I heard a rising voice.

The doctor called me in. A young fellow, younger looking than my daughter. A few perfunctory questions, then he asked, “Have you used edibles before?”

“Yes, I have,” I said. “I kinda scoffed at the pain-killing properties of weed until I tried it that way. It works as good or better than Vicodin, and no pesky complications like nausea, addiction…”

“Very good! Tinctures and oils work well too. We have classes on all those things, and education is included in your clinic fee. Please take advantage of all our amenities.”

He signed a couple forms and sent me to yet another room. The receptionist I met the first time sat me down, and she completed my State application. I was only half-done. I still had to get the “card.” That required a visit to the State of Oregon building by Lloyd Center. She gave directions, made copies. Another commotion came from the lobby. Mister Desert Storm was mad that he had to wait a few minutes, and was yelling at the intake person.

My receptionist rolled her eyes, smiled softly and said, “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.”

Mister Desert Storm was a crewcut white guy about 6’5″, 230 pounds, with a Henry Rollins intensity. He did not like to be kept waiting.

My receptionist was an African American gal, about 25, maybe 5’4″ and 100 pounds. I watched things unfold on the security monitor by her desk.


Receptionist: “You need to calm down right now or you won’t be seeing ANYBODY! Everyone is being taken in order, and you have no special dispensation. If you raise your voice again you will not be served, and we will let the other clinics know you are a troublemaker. YOU NEED TO BEHAVE. Are we going to continue to have a problem, or would you like to sit down, be quiet, and be seen when it’s your turn?” She may have been small, but her voice had authority. She was the lock on the door between him and his green card…

“Okay.” He hung his head and sat down. It was the last I heard of him.

That was pretty much it for the clinic. I have a resource to learn about cooking and making hash oil. I should take advantage of it, in case this whole ‘night clerk at a c-store’ thing doesn’t work out.

Next stop, State of Oregon Building.

* * *

I gave myself an extra hour to get to work. Supposedly one pays a fee, gets some paperwork stamped, and becomes a legal eagle. How long could it take?

Oh shit, I am number 23 in line. I was flanked by a couple of young guys; one had commuted from Ashland, the other lived in northeast. He was a survivor of a motorcycle crash and suffered from debilitating back pain.

There were folks from every walk of life. It reminded me of the customer service line at Fred Meyer. Old people, young people, ‘hood rats, bikers. Folks with walkers and in wheelchairs. Everyone looked low income. It did NOT look like a party.

I got to the window after about ninety minutes. By then there were fifty people in line behind me. Paid my fee. The nice lady returned with copies of forms. She red-stamped three of them. “Keep this on you whenever you’re in possession, until you get your actual card. This copy goes to your caregiver, and this copy is to be kept at the grow site.” She passed them through the bullet-proof glass.

We’re done here.

So in summation, I am now legal to walk around with a pound-and-a-half of weed. That’s twenty-four ounces. The average ounce of weed is about the size of a six-inch sub. I won’t have enough pockets!

I won’t have a pound-and-a-half of weed, either.

My consumption hasn’t changed, other than eating it on weekends. I haven’t had so much as a whisper of an urge to do pills, and I get enough of a drunken body high from edibles that alcohol may *truly* become a thing of my past. (I’ve been okay there anyway.) Having a crutch that won’t kill me that I can control? Not priceless, but reasonable at $500. I paid for it using inheritance money from my Mormon uncle. He wouldn’t have had so many concerns about “drugs” if the law hadn’t frowned on them. (Viagra was his best friend late in life.) The fact that it’s legal medicine would make him proud that I didn’t blow the money on *just* drugs this time. My mom, his sister the Jehovah’s Witness? She’d still disapprove. She’d think I’d cooked up an elaborate plot to get the State of Oregon to say it was okay for me to smoke pot. “Not in my house, you don’t!”

At my house, we’re still low-key. We don’t grow. I have a black thumb. I know an old hippie with a green thumb, who grows the finest hill weed available. He brings me candy and cupcakes, and a little baggie with skunk-covered globs of vegetable. The weed that turns to a flower in your mind. A little dab’ll do ya.

Why did I bother? In time, due to circumstances beyond my control, I’d be caught with a pipe and a small amount of weed in my possession. Traffic stop when I’m in the car. Bank gets robbed while I’m depositing my check. I look like a guy that did something somewhere. Mostly cops are cool with me. I’ve been “caught” twice in 36 years. Both times I handed the officer my weed. He ran my name, dumped it out, told me to smoke at home, and sent me on my way. If he’d wanted to be a dick, he could have ticketed me $500 for the weed and $500 for the pipe. Cha-ching! In theory, I’m already getting a potential savings of 50%, should I end up in that situation. As one ages, insurance becomes important.

Now, as December 10 rolls around, I am once again a good boy. It’s typically a wet, rainy day. This year the sun will be out, my heart will be happy, and I will celebrate quietly.

Probably riding on a bus to somewhere, sunglasses and headphones on. Listening to Pink Floyd or Tool, and smiling that stoopid smile.

Maybe I’ll take a walk through the woods for old times sake? Aah, happy trees…


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