In honor of marijuana getting to put on the July 1 glass slipper of legalization at midnight, I feel like sharing my Ex-Hippie Flower Child Top Tip on Using Psychedelic Drugs, of which cannabis/marijuana is one.
In typical baby-boomer fashion, I also will share a previous blog post where I persuasively argued why my generation, the Me Generation, deserves to soon have a big fat doobie raised to us by legally stoned Oregonians.
But first, the tip...
Back in the 60's, when anything seemed possible if people would only alter their screwed-up straight consciousness through psychedelics, Timothy Leary spoke of set and setting:
Of course, the drug dose does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key — it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures. The nature of the experience depends almost entirely on set and setting.
Set denotes the preparation of the individual, including his personality structure and his mood at the time. Setting is physical — the weather, the room's atmosphere; social — feelings of persons present towards one another; and cultural — prevailing views as to what is real.
Often I hear politicians say stuff like, "I'm in favor of legalizing marijuana, but I'm not saying people should use it."
Well, I am. You should try marijuana if you haven't before. Like Leary said: open your mind, free your nervous system of ordinary patterns.
Your mind/brain is altered by all kinds of chemicals, notably including those produced by the human body itself. In addition, so many other things are chemical keys: caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, love, sex, exercise, tobacco, hugs, patting a dog or cat.
Marijuana is just another way to jump-start an alteration in one's consciousness.
Sure, maybe you could meditate for thirty years on a hard cushion for several hours a day and get the same uplifting results. Or you can put some crushed marijuana buds in a vaporizer, turn it on, wait a minute, take a few puffs, and voila! -- you've altered your consciousness via an herb.
In a positive way. Believe that, because it is true.
This is the "set" part of set and setting, understanding that your expectations about using marijuana or any other psychedelic are going to affect your experience.
Here's how I see the situation.
There is no Real You (or Real Me). When we use marijuana, we aren't moving away from some supposed Really Real Reality. We're just altering our consciousness, as we would by drinking a few beers, meditating, taking LSD, or engaging in hot sex.
So don't worry about losing control of yourself when you ingest marijuana, if you've never tried cannabis before.
First, you don't have a solid stable self. Meaning, there is no constancy to you. You are ever-changing, as everything alive is. Second, consider that the part of you which wants to keep control is the same part which excessively worries and frets, rather than flowing freely with life.
Maybe the high-on-marijuana you is the better you, the you that you'd prefer being all the time. I'm not saying it is. That's for you to decide. Experiment with freeing your mind. Cannabis is way better than alcohol for accomplishing that.
If you don't have access to marijuana now, it looks like it will be sold to recreational users in Oregon medical marijuana stores after October 1.
And now, a reprise of my August 2014 blog post, "Oregonians, please legalize marijuana to honor...ME!"
Hey, so maybe the title of this blog post sounds self-centered to you. What do you expect, dude? The author, moi, is a 65 year-old baby boomer. I'm proudly part of the Me Generation.
So naturally I see everything as revolving around the Flower Child center of the universe that we baby boomers brought into being back in the 60's.
Me especially, since I was in college at San Jose State University from 1966 to 1971.
You know, the Bay Area not-Stanford and not-UC Berkeley. The ugly duckling to the south. Which for me and my friends was just a short 57' VW bug smoke-filled drive away from San Francisco: Haight-Ashbury, Winterland, Fillmore, all things psychedelically bright and beautiful.
We weren't smoking cigarettes.
Oh no, we were the freaks, the hippies, the potheads, the stoners, who brought marijuana out of the societal shadows and made it, if not respectable, damn ubiquitous for our generation.
In a sense -- and I can understand if you'd like to make that "In a pitifully marginal sense" -- we were akin to the courageous demonstrators of the Civil Rights movement, the determined feminists of the Women's Rights movement, the brave initiators of the Gay Rights movement, the in-your-face protestors of the Anti-Vietnam War movement.
We set out to change society one toke at a time.
Whether zoning out to Cream, Jefferson Airplane, and Hendrix, or demonstrating that frisbee skills are not lessened one bit by being high (nor driving skills, in my experience), we were unknowingly laying the groundwork for what now seems to be a groundswell of support for changing this nation's marijuana laws.
Enough signatures have been gathered to get on the ballot. Fund-raising seems to be going well. Endorsements are streaming in -- such as from the Oregon State Council for Retired Citizens, Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Also, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council.
Still, we can't take it for granted that the legalization initiative will pass.
Remember: this is about ME. And my generation. We're getting old. No, geez, we are old.
We deserve the honor that we'll bestow upon ourselves when weed is legalized, state by state. We'll be able to tell our grandchildren...
"Honey, when you grow up your grandpappy made it possible for you to enjoy pot without fear of the law -- a far cry from how it was in the olden times. Why, did I ever tell you..."
"Mom, MOM! Come quick! Make Grandpa Brian stop talking about his drug days. I'm afraid he's going to make me listen to his LSD stories AGAIN!"
And why not, grandchild? I was Jesus personified back in the 60's (outwardly at least). Am I not entitled to retell the gospel of my exploits with cannabis and other mind-altering substances?
In the case of marijuana, at least, a substance that cries out for sensible legalization, as ably detailed in a recent series of New York Times editorials. This shows that the times are indeed a'changing when it comes to legalizing pot.
Which is estimated to bring in $38 million each year in taxes to benefit Oregon's schools, police, drug treatment, drug prevention and mental health programs.
A great reason, among many, to legalize marijuana. Let's just keep in mind this central reason: to honor the greatest (pot-smoking) generation, us baby boomers.