Safe to say most of us have at least tried marijuana once in our lifetime and multiple times being the more-likely. Whether your marijuana relationship has ended or continues to this day is a matter of personal preference and hey, to each their own as they say! My history with the magic weed however, perhaps not so A-typical. After all, as a former musician from the 70s, you’d might even expect my past to include a few stints in rehab along the way. But you’d be wrong! In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Marijuana is legal in Canada, both medicinally and recreational and has been since 2018. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made good on his 2015 campaign promise and fast-forwarding to today, licensed marijuana shops dot the strip malls in most Canadian cities.
And the effects today? Actually, and somewhat surprisingly, very little! The majority of Canadians did not turn into aimless toking pot-heads as some feared. Nor are there gangs of giggling inhalers roaming our streets in search of junk-food snacks. In fact, according to statistics, marijuana-use in all age groups remained fairly constant with pre-legal stats.
Due in-part, I suppose, to the new laws and regulations put in place, denoting age restrictions, driving under the influence, possession limits, non-public use and others. Then again, now that marijuana is legal, perhaps the allure of the forbidden fruit — suddenly no-longer forbidden — has lost its shine.
Still, back when I was a teenager in the 70s, getting caught smoking the then illegal weed, could get you arrested. And selling it a jail term with a criminal record to boot. Of course we did it anyways, being at that rebellious, curious, peer-influenced, party-animal stage that so-defines teenage years.
So yes, I too explored my youthful exuberance back then and though not to the point of over-saturation as some did, unlawfully partook in the Devils Weed. Certainly at the time I was curious, and for-sure fitting in a factor, but for me personally, getting high was never going to be my thing.
I just found it increasingly uncomfortable, functioning under the influence of marijuana and soon found myself declining more often than not. Not like the guys I hung around with back then were big tokers anyways! Beer and tequila more our vice and legendary so I may add. Nostalgic biased-recall, not withstanding.
They say, “It is better to walk alone then with a crowd going in the wrong direction” and I find truth in these words, notably in reference to the chaos of teenage years. A time of self-discovery, of forging a path towards independence and identity yet also a time of increasing social insecurities. Easy prey for peer-pressure and the influence it wields.
I too, back then, was influenced by the company I kept. Only I had the good fortune of falling in with a group of boys who liked sports instead of drugs. Who drank beer instead of smoking pot and hung together in strength against the negative influences, around us. Don’t get me wrong we were far from angels (what teenager is), still the early path we set for each other was more straight and narrow than destructive.
So in retrospect, I suppose one could make the argument that my incompatibility with marijuana was mere happenstance. A chance-result of the influence of my teenage peers. They didn’t crave it, nor seek it out, so neither did I! Perhaps if the company I kept back then was different, so too my relationship would be with smoking weed today.
Not that on occasion I wouldn’t partake, just never acquired a lasting taste for it!
So, an occasional user into my late adolescence years until in my early twenties, I found music and started my band. For all intents and purposes my pot smoking days were over. Oh on rare occasions, my best friend and I would roll one up in the evening when alone together on his farm. Reminisce about the good ole days, and watch the sun go down. Still, those days are now long-gone.
Today, when I do use marijuana, I use it medicinally and on occasion, to quiet my chronic pain and help me sleep. Still, the mixture is more CBD and without the THC that gives you the high. For you see, becoming uncomfortably numb, still not my intention.
GETTING HIGH AND MAKING MUSIC
So, my taste for getting high — if I truly ever had one — ended when I formed my band. Of course band members themselves have party reputations and the boys in my band were no-different. I had a drummer who liked his booze and a bass player who liked to get high and getting high he did with regularity. Under the influence, even while performing live on stage!
Now how he could do this and not-forget the words of a song or screw up his bass licks was beyond me. Yet, there never was a notable decline in his performance during any of our shows. In fact, he was probably the most reliable musician I had on stage. But off stage? Well that was a different story altogether!
There were incidents offstage, but more, lets say, comical and entertaining than worrisome. For instance, one time he showed up on stage after our rest-break between sets, without his bass guitar? “Hey man, where’s your bass?” I asked. He paused thinking this over, like it was the most confusing question he’d ever heard. Suddenly smiling and says “I must of left it upstairs in the band-room when I was tuning it.”
“Well don’t you think you might need it now?” I replied. Giggling to himself, he trotted off to fetch it, leaving us waiting there on stage delaying our re-start a couple of minutes or so. The rest of the guys, rolling their eyes in amusement, waiting for him to come back with his forgotten guitar.
Another time, he came to practice without it. “How you gonna practice without your bass?” I asked him. “Oh?” he said, like he wasn’t expecting this question. “I’ll just use an acoustic and play the bass strings, it’ll be okay.” So with no-other fix readily available, that’s what he did!
And, as it turned out, it was in fact — pretty much okay!
Yet, as you can imagine, coming to practice without your guitar is far from ideal. My displeasure at the time bordering on anger and the incident never repeated. Still, in the end, no egregious harm nor foul. Simply just another page to turn in the story of our usually high, bass-playing friend. A shake of the head in wonder, a chuckle under your breath and best off-you-go to more important things.
Yep, he was quite the character all right and you couldn’t help smile at his antics. Like I said, on stage he was musically steady as a rock so after awhile I learned to relax and accept — even enjoy — who he was.
Fast-forward after my band days, my fathers health took a turn for the worse. At my parents home, paramedics were often called with Mom then calling me. I’d hurry down to the hospital and report back on his condition. This went on for sometime, years in fact.
Even though recreational drugs were no-longer a part of my life at this stage, the fear of catching me under the influence on a day my father was being rushed to the hospital only reinforced my abstinence. My father on his deathbed while I was catching a high, — wasn’t ever going to happen!
Today, my father has long-passed, my mother now in her mid-eighties is getting on. I bought her a cellphone a few years back with instructions to keep it with her at all times. I do fear the day she calls me in peril but rest assured I will be cognitive, alert and of sound mind when it happens.
I will not for the life of me be caught…
Authoring rights reserved by the WordofWayne.com