“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid…” — Barack Obama
“You smoke that shit, everything kind of gets weird, you know what I mean?” — Bunny in Platoon
Despite having spent a good many years in the Sixties (ten, to be exact, although I only remember about half of ‘em), I was never much of a pot head. Any substance which led me to believe that Gilligan’s Island was a masterpiece of the performing arts was not to be trusted. Grass gave most people the giggles; for a tiny minority of us, it provided the certainty we were on the verge of a massive heart attack. Body paranoia was the doper’s term for such unease. It was an affliction which led chronic sufferers back to the conviviality of the closest taproom where they could inebriate themselves legally until they keeled over into a puddle of their own effluvia and were dragged home by their designated drivers.
In Vietnam, circa 1967, before the nefarious dealers of the Golden Triangle began muling smack in-country, dinky-dow weed was the buzz of choice for us intrepid American expeditionaries. Smoke was usually so thick around the tents, a man could get high just walking to the piss tube. That scene in Platoon where Willem Dafoe shotgunned Charlie Sheen through the barrel of an M-16 was no cinematic exaggeration. In those halcyon days of yore, a sandbag full of II Corps shake cost a mere 500 piastres (about five bucks), no ration card necessary. But the problem with ingesting a possibly paranoia-inducing substance in a combat zone is that there really are people trying to kill you. Indeed, the RVN was the place where I became righteously convinced that I was better off as a beer man.
But, to each his own. Prohibition only ever works for the bad guys. America had no serious drug problem until the government began to outlaw drugs. You could look it up. Still, it’s not comfortable being on the same side of an issue as Barack Obama and the recycled squatters of Woodstock Nation. Despite my fondness for the 10th Amendment(“Constitutionally, the federal government doesn’t have the authority to ban the production and sale of a plant.”), there might just be a flaw somewhere in my reasoning. Have I had one too many drinks tonight? Am I missing something? Will the legalization of marijuana cause a major shortage of Cheetos? These are serious questions that demand serious answers. And you won’t get them here.