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January 20, 2008

The Emperor Has No Pot

Canada's Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, will find out this week what becomes of his future. He'll find out how much time he'll be wiling away in a jail cell as a result of how many pot seeds, pot paraphenalia and grow-op info he's distributed to consenting adults who pay for it off his website, many of them, U.S. citizens.

We shouldn't worry too much about how he'll manage. Afterall, pot and other drugs seem to be as prevalent in jail, and other institutions such as psychiatric hospitals, as they are on the streets.

A deal may be struck between Canada and the US so that he can serve his time in Canada. Lucky us. Because, as he described, "I'm an upstanding citizen. I declared my earnings off pot. I paid taxes and the Canadian government was more than happy to take my money."

A deal is being worked out so that his two co-accused (employees) can be let off the hook. Or at least that's the idea. It will all unfold this week presumably. Maybe Tuesday. And, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone was a little surprised at the outcome. I'm not sure why I say that. Just a hunch.

CBC TV Sunday News was interviewing him. He actually came across pretty well, if not a little bit like the megalomaniac that he is. I saw him a few years back, in person, at one of those all candidates meeting as part of a provincial election. He was speaking. Unfortunately. Cyndi Lauper's song True Colours came into my head out of the blue while I was listening to him speak.

Whether you revere him for sticking to his principals, or you just wish he'd go away, in person he comes across as what he is: An annoying, aggrandizing little idiot.

But, that's okay, because according to him, it doesn't matter how much time he spends in jail, his legacy in history has already been established.

Now, given that I live in BC, and almost everybody I've ever met smokes pot or has at least tried pot, you might think that some dude or dudette tokin away throughout the day, day after day, just shouldn't be anyone's concern. But, start asking yourself how did they get the pot? Where did it come from? Who's really making millions off growing it and selling it? What about organized crime's involvement? What does it say to your teenager when you're sitting around smoking a joint?

Then, you begin to admit, if you're being honest, that all this "innocent" pot smoking isn't really as innocent as it seems in terms of how it all plays out in society as a result of it not being legal. So, maybe that's the problem. Pot isn't the problem. Our laws are the problem.

Like a considerable number of British Columbians, I think it should be legalized. Or should it? I'm confused. Because what about alcohol? How can alcohol be legal and not pot? That makes no sense. Where do you draw the line? And if you're going to make pot legal, why not just make all drugs legal? Crystal Meth. Crack. Cocaine. Heroin. What the hell. It's a democracy. Go for it. In Canada, they seem legal anyway. Just go down to Hastings and Main.

Except, talk to anyone who has spent time with someone in their life who is addicted to anything - alcohol, food, drugs, a person, shopping. Addiction arises from pain and then causes even greater pain. Not just to the person with the addiction but too often, in some way, large and small it takes away from all their other relationships.

I spent five years on and off in a relationship with someone who was addicted to pot. But, not according to him. Oh no. He wasn't addicted to pot. It was just his way of life. Coming of age in the 60s, hanging out in the coffee shops in Ontario, and smoking pot. That's what they did. He could quit. He didn't have to smoke pot. He didn't have to get up in the middle of the night and smoke his pipe. He didn't have to smoke his pipe first thing in the morning with his coffee and his cigarettes. It was just who he was.

I would have believed him except I got to see who he really was when his pot ran out.
He wasn't even the same person. I didn't like him when he wasn't stoned. And, it's not as if you thought he was stoned when he was. He was so used to smoking pot that even when he was stoned he could function just fine. Except, his floating home was falling apart all around him. He didn't often get off the couch except to walk the dogs. He was broke. He didn't like to go out that much probably because he couldn't not be smoking pot for more than a couple of hours or so. He worked three days a week but could have worked more and had the professional expertise and certainly the talent to get another job full time but no, he couldn't make change. He didn't feel like it.

Pot is a depressant. And I was too depressed back then to notice how depressed he might have been. I say might because he killed himself. I'm thinking depression, and pot, were at least a part of the equation as to the slippery slope that led him there. That made me more depressed than I'd ever been. Now I'm not saying he killed himself because of the pot smoking but I am saying it all fits together, really subtley.

Someone once said very accurately that pot steals people from the people they love because it causes them to go into their own heads and be absent. They can't be there for the people who love them. They can't even really be there for themselves when they need themselves to be: to get a better job, to take their kid to soccer, to save money for something that really matters.

Now, let's be clear, I'm not talking about the occasional joint at a party. I'm talking about those people who smoke it every day, every second day, all the time.

My attitude now is, I've spent most of my life living in my head and the last thing I need is some artificially-induced substance to help me do that even more.

My biggest challenge is being in the moment. Some would argue that pot lets you do that really well. When you're stoned your senses are enhanced. It lowers inhibition. Sex is better. Listening to music is better.

But, I see that mainly as an experience of the self, it's internal, in a world where people already have way too much trouble making a connection.

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