My first experience with cannabis was in 1967. In the summer of love I was 16 and a ‘roach’ of ‘grass’ could buy one federal prison time. Time changes social norms while the experience of those norms can remain unchanged for a lifetime. Traditionalists say this alone gives one depth of understand, but wrongly doing something for a lifetime is just stupid.
Unlike traditionalists, I deeply misunderstand much at my age. I harbor assumptions that I myself would oppose if reconsidered in light of new understandings. We older folk have many notions acquired back-in-the-day.
I was 58 and attending the 2009 22nd High Times Amsterdam Cannabis CUP. In a quiet coffeeshop, named Tweede Kamer, I sat with a young married Dutch couple. Their joy was contagious and, as it happens in Amsterdam coffeeshops, we began swopping life stories.
I explained that for many baby boomers reaching retirement, and/or facing heath issues, American cannabis laws allow for immunity to State arrest for those lucky enough to live in liberal states. The increasing number of Medical Marijuana Baby Boomers makes perfect sense when considering the fact we were the first generation where white suburban kids could get high. Today, many of those who over-indulged as teens, and quit by 30, are now returning to cannabis as responsible users.
As I find with many long time cannabis users, the Dutch couple seemed astounded that I had quit cannabis for 35 years while I went to school, focused on career and raised a family. Since they looked to be reaching that bio-clock baby time, I assumed they might be contemplating having children themselves – which is taken very seriously by the Dutch. So I asked them if they were thinking about having children.
The Dutch couple erupted in simultaneous giggling and asked me how I did it. I was confused. “Did what?” I thought. Europeans, in general, are more scientifically informed about cannabis, so I assumed they knew cannabis to be less of an ‘addiction’ than coffee and better than alcohol. Dutch irony, I thought. But between laughs they really were waiting for an answer.
“I just quit,” I said.
Their laughter, as my bewilderment, increased. Now most Dutch speak perfect English to Americans, and Dutch to other Dutch, so I figured I must have misconstrued the subject. After all, it was a coffeeshop.
Then, with the most careful articulation, “‘How,’ ‘did,’ ‘you,’ ‘do,’ ‘it,’ ‘with,’ ‘children,'” punctuated the air with dramatic pauses. “Oh! Children…,” I responded. “Raising children is one of the hardest, and possibly the most rewarding, responsibilities a couple can take on together. There’s no experience like having children,” I said proudly, and again asked, “Are you going to have children?”
Performing stereo double-takes, the young couple, smiling at my confusion, quickly explained, “We have children! We’re merely out on our weekly date-night.” I realized the higher irony just as the words fell out of my mouth; “I can’t image raising children and being able to use cannabis.”
Wow! It’s like I spun around within a split second with my brain having remained stationary. So that’s what it’s like to have my “good parenting’ bias thrown up for all to see.
The Dutch couple calmly explained that grandmother watches the little ones while they take a night out each week for themselves. It turned out that they preferred spending their ‘together time’ at coffeeshops relaxing rather than going out for a drink or a movie. They reassured me that there was no harmful exposure of cannabis to their children, just as with alcohol. “We’re Dutch,” they said de facto.
It’s been two Cannabis CUP years since I met the Dutch couple. In California, where I live, the Child Protective Services can take away children from good parents for using cannabis recreationally. Now-a-days this doesn’t seem normal.
I suppose at the 2050 63th CUP some of you might get the opportunity to hear, “How did you do it back in the day? Did the government actually take away children from parents merely for using cannabis? What was it like to watch witch-burning and the inquisition? Didn’t they have science back in 2011? Did Bill O’Reilly really say all that bullshit publically?