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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

MY EXPERIENCE WITH MARIJUANA AND OTHER STUFF

1January2014 was Hemp Day on Hump Day, the first time healthy Americans could legally purchase marijuana.   I can imagine some enterprising marketer finding a way to use the GEICO Camel for something more than car insurance.  A camel is associated with cigarettes, so there is but a simple leap to a narcotic hemp.

A little more than a third of Americans have tried marijuana, a fraction that has not changed for almost thirty years:


The practice varies with age group.  In 2013 just about half of those 30-49 had it at least once.  Of course, having experimented and regularly utilize are totally different things, so 93% of Americans say they do not smoke marijuana today.  I suspect this percentage will sharply decline over the next few years.  How's this:  nine times more Democrats regularly smoke MJ compared to Republicans!

While Uruguay is the only country to legalize marijuana, the showcase country is the Netherlands, which is serious about controlling drug use, but yet tolerant of actual usage.  There are coffeeshops where you can smoke marijuana ($10 per joint) and smart shops (magic mushrooms are now illegal, but there are magic truffles--also $10 or so).  Laws now prohibit tourists from making purchases in these two types of establishments, but various mayor-equivalents have chosen not to enforce.  Amsterdam, thus, remains in the same "decriminalized" state as it has been since 1972, catering to visitors.  Government officials do not want to dampen tourism and shopkeepers are wary but enterprising.

Let's look at the mathematics.  An ounce of marijuana sells for $125 in Oregon today (but up to $350 for medical weed).  But it's illegal.   While shortage of supply has increased MJ prices in Colorado to close to $600/ounce, the general sense is that something like $400 will become the baseline, from which you can make anywhere from 30 to 100 cigarettes, or from more than $10 to $4 each.  The black market price is lower, for they do not have to bother with taxes, which can be in the range of 30%.  In Colorado, residents can purchase an ounce, while out of staters a quarter ounce.  

Coloradans can cultivate up to 6 plants, but cannot sell it nor smoke it in public, and must be 21 or over with one ounce or less on them.  Airports very much discourage sneaking weed out of the state, but there does not seem to be much ado about driving out of state with your stash, although this is illegal.  Of course you cannot mail MJ home.  Penalties vary, but if in small quantities, you won't be jailed.  But is it worth the embarrassment and worse?

From the Washington Post earlier this week, the price of marijuana varies by quality and location (if you can't read this, just click on it to enlarge--there are 28.35 grams to an ounce):


About my experience, I remember having just one puff in a car with friends in San Francisco many many decades ago, and imagined I felt a high.  Maybe my body has changed, for I have now three times gone into an Amsterdam coffeehouse, smoked various potencies of marijuana, and felt very little, even though I inhaled and held as much and as long as possible the smoke in my lungs.  I thought the $10 was not worth the cost, and you get the added stigma of smelling like marijuana.  

However, Smartshops (also called Headshops) and magic truffles are an entirely different matter.  Thought I'd try $10 worth once and took half the portion, but apparently killed the effect with a glass of cabernet sauvignon.  On the other hand, just around this time, and this was on 27February2010, I got an e-mail from the Huffington Post asking me to send in a posting of the coming Hawaii Tsunami.  What had happen was there was an 8.8 moment magnitude earthquake off Chile, and a tsunami was heading for Hawaii.  Although I was in Amsterdam, I thought, hey, CNN is on, and I probably have a better view of the whole thing than someone in Honolulu who had to head for the hills.  Hilo Bay and Waikiki Beach were constantly shown on CNN.  That day I got the highest viewership for my blog site because there is a link between the Huffington Post and Planet Earth and Humanity.  So perhaps those magic sparkles did something.

I later returned to Amsterdam, and gave magic truffles a real try, but in more controlled fashion.  I remember swallowing half a portion with water, taking a shower, then the second half and laid in bed.  Half an hour, nothing.  But after a while the ceiling began to look like a Salvador Dali painting.  I got semi-panicked so went to the refrigerator to drink a coke or something, which supposedly neutralizes the potency.  Unfortunately, there was nothing in the fridge.  So I went back to bed and suffered through amazing colors and weird thoughts.  Within an hour and a half or two hours it was all over and there were no after effects.  I wouldn't again want to do this.  No doubt, though, that those modernistic works of art you see in museums were influenced by hallucinatory drugs.

It's illegal to import and grow magic hallucinogens, of course, but here is something I noticed:


This came from my 6December2012 posting on marijuana.  There actually were comments to this article, something very rare.  For the record, I've never tried growing this stuff, and neither should you.  Quoting myself on the matter of magic truffles from that link above:

Was this all worth it for me?  At a cost of $10, I guess so.  Smart?  Probably not, but I'm still alive and there were no after effects.  I've got some ideas now on how best to approach a second journey, but only under optimal conditions.

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