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mary jane says hi

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I haven’t done any 3D work, but I have been writing a little, after a major swabbing of the house bathroom. (I even washed the ceiling.) Now I’m chilling out in front of the TV, and I’ve just seen something that reminded me of someone I knew back in the late 80’s. Anthony was a fellow Scot, but that was where the similarity ended. He was about six foot three, with freckles, and bright ginger hair – in dreadlocks. He was the first marijuana smoker I met, and still the heaviest user I have ever known – which, in South Africa in the 80’s, is saying a lot.

He was into the whole Jamaican experience, down to the clothes, the accent, Rastafarianism, and reggae, which is where I came in. Once he heard I was learning the electric bass, he had to get me down to his place to try some Linton Kwesi Johnson (LKJ), Peter Tosh, and (of course) Bob Marley. Through big speakers the dub bass really came out, and when I plugged in and played along, I didn’t have much trouble with the notes themselves. The right feel was a totally different problem, though, and that’s the reason why players such as Robbie Shakespeare get the respect they do.

What I’ve just half-watched was an episode of UK motoring program Fifth Gear on the Discovery Channel, which featured what they claim was the first on-road test of the effects of cannabis use on driving skills. The UK Government had previously held tests using driving simulators, but this test was performed on a closed track, for obvious legal reasons. The results did not surprise me at all.

The (admittedly empirical) study corresponded with the government study; they showed that a driver on a reasonable ganga buzz knows he’s tripping, and compensates accordingly. There was no major deterioration in skills such as judgement of distance and reaction time. I saw this first hand on one occasion, when a car pulled out on front of Anthony and I while blue smoke was pouring out of my window past my head. Anthony was explaining some Rastafariana to me, but he appeared to sober up instantly, and braked the car under complete control. When the danger was past, the mellow ship sailed again under its own steam.

I don’t know why we got on well, despite the fact that I have never smoked anything. (If I did, my lungs would simply pack up and go, I think.) I was just enjoying the experience, the reggae, and I think he appreciated that I never judged him for his lifestyle. (At least he had one – I just had a job.) My favourite memory involving Anthony was the time he was asked to leave a college class, because he had come back from lunch break on some extreme buzz, and could not stop talking and laughing at everything the lecturer said. I found the smell less offensive then than I find the smell of tobacco now, and I’ve seen alcohol do far more harm than than marijuana, over the years. Anthony did both, sadly, and I lost track of him after he just left town, one day, after getting a warning from his boss about his lack of attendance at work.

As you might guess from my experience, I think it’s only logical that marijuana be legalized, eventually. I can easily imagine being in the pub with a beer, while one of my work colleagues pulls out a pack of Marleys™ (a Philip Morris registered trademark) and lights up. Because the TH content is marked on the pack, and she’s used to doing this, she know how many she can have over the evening and still be safe to drive home. If she had too much, and the police stopped her, the new breathalyzer test would pick that up – the same as with alcohol. Me? I’m far more likely to give up alcohol altogether, than to ever willingly inhale smoke into my lungs, but I regularly see and tolerate far worse behaviour from people drunk on power.

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Written by brian t

April 20, 2003 at 7:09 pm

Posted in culture, philosophy

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