Two months ago I was off to go do some on-scene reporting and I decided to take our intern with me for the experience. When he got into my car he pointed at a small silver cilinder and became very excited, asking if it was what he thought it was.
It wasn’t. I could tell he thought it was a grinder — it was actually a tin of Green Beaver hand balm (side note: it is the most amazing product for dry/chapped/chafed skin).
That lead to the always-uncomfortable conversation about why I don’t — or rather, no longer — smoke pot.
Yes, I was once a stoner. Like more than one-quarter of Canadian teenagers, I had tried pot several times in high school. By the time I went to university I had given it up, although I was never that committed to in the first place.
That all changed when I met the guy I dated for the latter half of university. I had just come out of a relationship in which I had turned every situation into an argument, so my knee-jerk reaction was to laud and endorse every decision this guy made. He happened to be quite the “stoner,” and he was, without question, pretty into it — if the “weedsmoking” and “Free Marc [Emery]” posters on his walls weren’t an indication, the fact that he wouldn’t stop talking about pot certainly was.
So I took up the activity again, and suddenly my life was saturated in it. My favourite activities became doing other activities, but high. Making a blanket fort while high. Playing video games while high. It became a thing to bond over, and I made friends simply through our one shared interest. I found myself attending lacklustre political demonstrations on the steps of our Conservative MP’s office and, of course, celebrating 4/20. I was proud of who I was and of what I did, even if my friends didn’t agree with it.
It wasn’t until my boyfriend verbalized something that I realized perhaps I was being a little foolish. He admitted with conviction that once he knew someone smoked pot, he immediately liked them more. “How silly and shallow,” I thought — even though I realized that I had held the same philosophy.
It was also difficult for me to keep from rolling my eyes when he would use words like “oppression” to describe the state of people who were not allowed to smoke pot, yet proceed to not really care all that much about the rights of trans* people, abortion rights or the struggles of Aboriginal Canadians.
Eighteen months after we started dating, he moved away and I limited my smoking to weekends when he was there, though truthfully I didn’t really feel like doing it all that much.
A catalyst came around New Years, when I had been very sick and sore. I had just gone off the pill, which was causing depression, but without it my cramps were enough to keep me curled up in a ball for days. My boyfriend offered to make me pot-infused hot chocolate. It was a nice deed, but inside I wanted to cry — “No, I don’t want pot hot chocolate, I just want you to massage my back and lie here with me!”
The pot chocolate hit me like a ton of bricks and for the rest of the afternoon I was exhausted yet unable to sleep, distracted by the most insignificant things. My boyfriend’s solution? “Let’s go bowling.” On the way to the bowling alley, my boyfriend, who denied being too high, missed our turn and pulled a sharp, fast U-turn that briefly caused me to fear for my life. I felt angry at him, though I couldn’t really verbalize why — even if I wanted to, I was far from articulate.
After that I started to realize two things: one, that pot was not really right for me, and two, that one can’t build an identity around being a “stoner.”
I never consciously “quit” smoking pot, but I started turning it down until it became known that “Bree didn’t smoke.” It took awhile before I started saying it myself, but now I readily identify as someone who does not smoke pot.
It’s difficult to express where I stand on pot at this point. On one hand I absolutely do believe it should be legalized, but in terms of priorities for our government I don’t think it’s a tragedy if they take their time getting to it. I’m not any less likely to be friends with someone who smokes — being in a creative field, naturally I’m going to come across plenty of people who do — but I probably won’t want to be around when they start to go off on their rants about how pot just makes people more laid back and how such-and-such a movie is so much better once you’ve seen it high.
Would I say I’ve “out-grown” pot? No, I think there are plenty of mature, functional adults who enjoy a good bowl. But I’ve moved past that stage of my life, and as much as I told myself I would still care, it’s undeniably difficult to.