Weekend Vignette #1

July 24, 2006

My mate and I went to an outdoors rock concert on Saturday night (Flaming Lips, if you must know!). Unlike many of the shows we attend, there was a large portion of the crowd that was in our age group (mid-to-late 30s). Furthermore, many had brought their babies, toddlers, and grade-school kids. We lounged on a nice piece of grass higher up in the ampitheater and watched the sun set over the stage. At one point, we were bookended by two tattoed mommies breastfeeding.

But here’s the scene that cracked me up: A friendly dad sat nearby, his baby cooing and rolling around beside him on a blanket while mom trekked to the concession tents. He took the opportunity to load, tamp, and toke on a small glass pipe. Soon he wore a blissful stoner’s smile. After awhile, a group of shirtless guys in their 20s set up camp beside him. One lit a cigarette, and its smoke soon curled toward the baby. The dad said, “Hey, could you put that out? I’ve got a baby here.” The guy obliged.

The double-standard was hilarious, yet I could sympathize. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, but don’t mind reefer smoke at all. Of course, the sense of smell is legendary for its attachment to memories, and that may play a role in my preference. Not just memories, but current associations, as well. Cigarette smoke is affiliated with cancer and lung diseases, lying-ass giant corporations, amoral marketing strategies that target children, and a devil’s brew of carcinogenic additives meant to enhance addiction.

While I’m sure that pot smoke has deleterious health effects, cancer is not one of them:

The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer.
The new findings “were against our expectations,” said Dr. Donald Tashkin, a UCLA pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years.
“We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” he said. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”

Most of the weed smoked around these parts comes from the medical marijuana clubs, where purity of product is sought after and virtually guaranteed. It’s got a tart, green sap smell and people smoke very little due to potency.

In many ways, I find it mixed up that at social gatherings where I take my son, adults smoke cigarettes where children can see them, whereas they will sneak off to smoke pot. I am not yet to the age when I must answer a lot of my son’s questions about smoking and drug use. It will be complicated, not because I’m a drug user, but because I view pot as relatively benign, and the War on Drugs (which was launched during my high school years) as a load of crap.