Legalizing Pot, Otherwise Known as Marijuana or Rope or Sasfras or Tex-Mex or Stems or Hooch or Indian Boy or Locoweed or Juan Valdez or…

If you’re like me, you spent upwards of five minutes yesterday re-electing 90% of the most hated legislative branch in our nation’s storied history.  I only bring this up because it isn’t my representatives who are the problem; it’s yours and everyone else’s.  If everyone else would just get rid of their lousy congressperson and/or senator, then I’m sure we would have the greatest period in our nation’s storied history.

The favorite parts of my personal Minnesota election ballot were the assorted candidates from the Grassroots-Legalize Cannibis Party and the Legalize Marijuana Now Party.  They were running for various state offices and standing over which one not to vote for, I couldn’t help but notice that they were two separate parties with seemingly the same agenda.  Why two?  Are they so split on the issues that they could not get together and combine resources?  Perhaps when they signed up they misunderstood the concept of joining a ‘party’.  Be that as it may, even in Goofy Politics Minnesota (yes, Al Franken is the best we can do right now) they both received approximately 0% of the vote, which suggests that dope-smokers are perchance less than engaged.

But this is the hot trend in electionology these days: the legalization of recreational marijuana, otherwise known as hash or funk or chillums or ganja or snop or black or blond or blue sage or broccoli.  Yesterday, three more states and/or Districts of Columbia legalized the use of pot, otherwise known as grass or Marley or 4:20 or ditch or dinkie or fir or flower or yen pop.  Tending to reside on the libertarian side of Democratic Socialist Republican Totalitarianism, I don’t really care one way or the other if you want to addle your brain by smoking weed, otherwise known as gunny or griff or dry high or Dona Juana or Meg or Mary Jane or mootie.  But consider this…

The other day I was walking through Seattle’s 5-acre Freeway Park on my way to Pike Grocery, one of my favorite just-east-of-downtown New York-style delis.  (I’m not exactly sure what makes it New York-style other than they serve corned beef and greet you with “Get the #@%&! outta here”.)  Freeway park is so-called because it is built right over the top of the deadly 37-laned I-5 such that pedestrians can have the unique experience of being mugged while vehicles wiz below you at 70 mph.  So cool.

In the past I have found said park pleasant enough to traverse with nary a murder since 2002, and often filled with elderly wanderers and the occasional homeless bathing in one of its many spectacular fountains.  But this time I noticed a subtle difference.  Instead of the sweet smell of cypress and cedar and other Northwest flora I love more than a good pork jelly aspic, permeating the shrubbery and Brutalist architecture was a faint odor not unlike that of seared cabbage and eerily similar to that of an Amsterdam coffee shop or the men’s room next to my high school’s performing arts center.  It was the sickly smell of burning cannabis, otherwise known as O.J. or pocket rocket or sweet Lucy or zambi or dew or ding or rainy day woman.

And instead of your suicidal, rail-riding crotch-crunching skateboarders and liberal college heady book-readers, there were youths in the park, yes—but they seemed expressly apathetic, seated and staring amidst their numerous Altoid tins and quirky pen-like devices.  I passed one young couple asleep on the edge of a wall, their fetally positioned low-rise butt-cracks soaking up the autumn sun while their heads rested on a pillow of half-consumed Dorito bags.  And the dispossessed were less concerned about my spare change than they were about the New York-style chips and pickle spear that accompanied my Rachel on rye.  I couldn’t help but ponder that the name Freeway Park should be changed to Highway Park.  (All this, of course, is perfectly legal in Seattle.  But if I were to carry around an open beer can, I would be dragged downtown in cuffs to be roughed up and booked by Danno.)

My sandwich excursion got me conTIMplating…while I generally don’t have a problem with people hanging with Herb & Al on their own time and in their own homes, and while I also don’t necessarily think it is my place to force them not to, is this the type of atmosphere I thus condone in my neighborhood?   Like Freeway Park, do I want my town park to have a Google review that reads “I make a lot of $$$ at the park”?  I’m not so sure.  I don’t want a bunch of clueless stoned imbeciles wandering around my public spaces.  If I want that type of environs I can go to a Snoop Dogg concert.  Or Wal-Mart.

And while the girl scouts (still a legal organization last I checked) are making a thin mint selling cookies outside the retail stores in Colorado that hawk hemp, otherwise known as Tijuana or vipe or baby or bang or cheeo or charge or stink or wacky tabacky, is it really worth it?  I can’t help but think that maybe if we put as much brain power into solving the problem of marijuana as we do in creating nicknames for it, the issue would be solved.  Or maybe we could just join the ‘party’.  Either way, I am firmly on the fence.

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