I’d like to preface this diatribe with my stance on Marijuana and the drug war. I am pro pot. I think the drug war is one of our country’s largest policy mistakes. I’m for legalization, both medical and recreational. I’ve volunteered for both NORML and the Texas Hemp Campaign. I worked in a pipe shop here in Austin for eight, long, smelly years. I’ve held protest signs outside our governor’s mansion. I wanted readers to keep this in mind throughout the passage, and I know full well that this article is outside my typical live and let live ideology. But, enough is enough. Things have gotten out of control.
When did we cross the tied-eyed line that distinguishes potheads? When I was younger, and I thought of potheads, certain mental images and names came to mind. Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, John Lennon, Frank Zappa, Timothy Leary. High minded lefties that knew how to shake up the system. I’m learning that the idyllic pothead I remember is no more. Gone is the mysterious, dogmatic, artist, archetype that openly enjoyed his habit. Sure, these types still remain as a small facet of what people think of when they envision pot smokers, but I feel they have loudly been usurped by their contemporary replacements.
Today’s pothead is an entirely different animal, and I am not amused. When I think of 2012 potheads, my mind reels with horrifying images of baggy jeans worn at the knee, Teen Mom 2, and obnoxious pot-themed clothing that would make any respectable smoker’s eyes bleed if they gazed at them directly. Now when I hear people being vocal about pot, I find myself cringing even before they begin to speak. Whether it’s Miley Cyrus having a Bob Marley themed Birthday cake, or being behind a giant Cadillac painted stem to stern with pot leaves, I just can’t go on another day without melting down.
I’m comfortable that a lot of this may just be related to fatigue from my decade at a pipe shop. That’s fair, and retail can make the nicest person into a disgruntled sociopath all on it’s own. I do think that it is more than that. I can’t be alone in the collective embarrassment we all must feel as pot smokers.
The current public image of pot is not only arrogant and repugnant, it’s counter productive to our shared goal of legalization. When will these knuckleheads realize that real change doesn’t come from openly bragging about blowing a blunt while on the phone in line at the grocery store? Can we somehow explain to our youth culture that using your vices to define your identity is not only shallow, it’s also a great way of under minding a lot of legitimate progress sane people have made? Discretion is the greater part of virtue, and today’s potheads have missed this point by miles.
We all know who I’m talking about, even though they may wear different uniforms. Whether it’s the adolescent Seth Rogan clone who knows more about pot than is probably healthy, or the overt gangster with diamond cannabis leaves installed in his dental jewelry. I’m begging all of them to fucking reign it in. The reason we as smokers, are still outside the law is that it’s really goddamn hard to be taken seriously when you’re surrounded by legions of frothing dopers who do nothing but set the cause back another decade by their ludicrous behavior.
So in conclusion, it’s my hope that us responsible, functioning, stoners do our best to help cull this horrible image. I also hope to convince sober readers that not all of the pot smoking community is composed of irresponsible, burned out junkies. There are more of us “normals” than you could ever realize. The problem is, most of us are respectfully quiet about it. I apologize for the unfortunate remainder.