You can’t ‘Just Say No’ to weed because pot smokers are like cat owners

The other day, I went to one of the nearby recreational marijuana shops and got a few things for the house. None of us smoke regularly, but we do host people a lot, and a guest’s recent description of me as ‘quite the homemaker’ is sadly accurate.

When a friend came over later,  I remembered he didn’t enjoy smoking, so I said that if he’d like to try it again some time, one of the strains I’d gotten was 0% THC, high percentage CBD and would be physically relaxing without being psychoactive. I told him how such an edible had helped me when I pinched a nerve and needed an affordable muscle-relaxer.

He declined then mentioned how he’s noticed that weed seems to be the only drug that people will continue to push on a person after they’ve heard you don’t want to do it.

After thinking on it, I think I figured out why.

It’s still common not to smoke marijuana, even among young people and even in this vision of conservative hellscape that is Seattle.

Usually, turning it down is couched in terms of, Nah, I don’t want to right now. This situational opposition gets no pushback. If you don’t regularly smoke, then a puff or two is like downing a pint of vodka. You don’t want to get stoned if you have stuff to do, any more than you want to get blacked out drunk.

To categorically say, I don’t smoke or I don’t like it is rare and immediately suspicious, but if someone is philosophically opposed to all forms of inebriation, they’re written off as a lost cause.

It’s when someone is selectively against pot that all the trouble starts.

Grade-school anti-drug curriculum is, surprisingly, a less-than-reliable guide to the real world. If someone offers you meth or crack and you Bartleby them, you’ll be left alone regardless of whether it’s a desperate stranger on the bus or one of your recreational friends.

If you were to talk about alcohol, I don’t drink might get the follow-up Why?, but it’s also respected. Cigarettes, coffee, whatever. People don’t want the effect or the side-effects of those things and know it; everyone else is OK with that.

Yet marijuana is different.

It’s a drug that has been in purgatory for a half century, purifying slowly. Any adult born after 1950 is as likely as not to have tried weed at least once in their lives. Health professionals widely acknowledge cannabis to be relatively harmless compared to heroin or cocaine—even alcohol and tobacco.

In spite of this, marijuana is a Schedule I drug. It’s taught to children as dangerous both intrinsically and a gateway, often in the Reefer Madness/DARE sort of way where it will make a person go insane or ruin their life after the first puff. A pot smoker’s incredulity at another person’s non-philosophical opposition is rooted in the suspicion the other person is still woefully misinformed.

Taste, effect, and potency all can be monitored and managed with cannabis. ‘You don’t like this or that thing; have you tried the opposite thing?’

If my friend had said he didn’t like the taste of one cocktail, people would continue to offer other cocktails. If he said he didn’t like getting tipsy, well, that’s it, then. There’s no alcohol that provides any other result.

With weed, there’s a range of results, side-effects, and methods of ingestion. If you’re not opposed to mood altering substances or allergic to cannabis, some strain of it and method of ingestion should resolve your issue.

That’s all the rational stuff. Fundamentally, it’s about irrationality.

Not wanting to get high from weed in particular should not have to be an issue in need of resolution. My friend’s proximate reason is that he gets dry mouth. His ultimate reason may be something deeper, but that should be good enough: he prefers not to.

Marijuana holds a special place in people’s hearts, though. They feel an emotional connection with the experience getting high gives them. Since it either takes a very long time to or never does turn into an abusive relationship, people just can’t imagine how you think you could never find the right one and share that experience.

He doesn’t think it should be illegal or anyone else shouldn’t do it, any more than he thinks you should get rid of your cat or cats should be banned as pets. Chill out.

It doesn’t matter how many different breeds of cat there are, the dude isn’t obligated to like cats or your special cat in general. Take no for an answer, and stop asking him if he wants to pet it.

In any case, when it comes to weed, the grade school videos were right: people are pushers.

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