Free to finally bun a spliff
By Patria-Kaye Aarons
Jamaica appears to be well on its way to decriminalising marijuana. Those in opposition to the move insist that decriminalisation is bad news for both health and society. Similar to their position on condom distribution in schools, they believe that making the commodity readily available will induce, dare I say seduce, trial. I ask myself: Without the fear of lock-up, if weed is available to me, will I light up?
First, if I do, that would be a huge stretch and far out of character for me. In 32 years, I have never smoked a cigarette, let alone a spliff. At 12, I lit a piece of folder paper, hell-bent on smoking it and I held that paper trying to convince myself to take one draw until it burnt me.
However, I've always considered smoking weed as something you just have to do once. I'm contemplating adding it to my bucket list. World presidents have allegedly smoked a doobie in their experimental college years; Olympic athletes have risked their entire careers for a 'one draw'; the catalogue of music paying homage to the plant is extensive; unofficially, it's part of the reason tourists come to Jamaica and feel all right; and Rastafarians have made it a holy sacrament. That makes me more than a little curious.
Truth is, I probably am going to smoke it one day. I am truly seduced by the mysticism surrounding weed. So many people I know have recounted to me the funniest of stories that transpired all when they were marijuana induced. If I indulge, I hope I'm one of those persons who smokes weed and it makes me laugh. A lot. I already find life deliriously amusing, so this should be fun.
Many a musician has penned timeless lyrics under the influence. Perhaps weed will elevate me to lofty heights and my article that week will be filled with the mysticisms of life.
But then real reservations cross my mind, and they outweigh my curiosity and spirit of adventure.
I need to be fully educated about how much more dangerous cannabis is than, say, alcohol. I love me some white rum, but I know my limits, and my liver and I are still friends. I still don't really know the medical side effects of marijuana and I have fears about its addictive nature. Until and unless I do know more, and am convinced that I'll be safe, I'm not smoking anything. Legal or not.
MARIJUANA AND MY SURROUNDINGS
I also have real fears about what the decrminalisation of weed means for my surroundings. For sure, if I smoke that one joint, I wouldn't do it at home. I wouldn't do that to my neighbours. I would hate to come home and have my apartment complex smelling like weed. (It happened once before and I called the police). Would my neighbour now be in his right to light up in the comfort of his apartment? Would my nostrils be protected by the 'smoking-in-public ban'? These are things I need to know.
There is also a classist stereotype with marijuana use. It's not the stick of choice for Jamaica's upper crust. A man can be seen smoking a cigarette and not lose an ounce of respect, but society definitely associates weed with the lowest socio-economic group. Let's be real, if you walk through Cherry Gardens and smell sensimilla, your first assumption is that someone's gardener just lit up. Not that the Joneses are getting hammered in their uptown abode. They don't do it - or so we are led to believe - even if it's just out of fear of what the neighbours would think.
So here's my final position. If I do smoke weed, I have five strict rules.
1. I'm only doing it once.
2. I'm not buying it myself. The thought of going to a dealer and buying a $100 bag feels a little drug addict to me.
3. I will not be rolling my own joint. This rubbing-out-of-your-hand-middle business I don't subscribe to. Those images I associate with the guys on 'the corner' who I wish were gainfully employed.
4. I have to see it being made. I hear if you smoke a spliff with a lizard's tail in it, it will drive you mad. No idea if there's truth to that, but I wouldn't take any chances.
5. I'm not sharing a spliff. In my mind, that's akin to sharing a toothbrush. That's just too much spit-swapping for me.
If I do smoke it, I'll be sure to write about my experience. It should make for an interesting article. When I sober up.