The title of this blog post came to mind while driving around this afternoon listening to Classic Vinyl on satellite radio when I heard one of the greatest rock songs of all time, Cream's Sunshine of Your Love from 1967.
If you're too young to recollect the brilliance of Cream, here's a video of a 2005 performance.
I smoked a lot of marijuana during my days at San Jose State College, 1966-71. Cream was one of our go-to groups to listen to while high. So listening to the song got me thinking both about how us pot heads used marijuana back then, and how it is being used in Oregon now.
My fellow hippies and I used to drive around stoned. We drove motorcycles stoned. We played pool stoned. We traversed the freeway to San Francisco and back again at night stoned. We played frisbee stoned. In fact, we did just about everything stoned.
And not once, not ever, did we have any sort of accident while stoned. Try doing all that we did while drinking heavily. Likely the result won't be pretty.
Which goes a long way toward explaining why there have been so few reports of "stoned driving" accidents or deaths here in Oregon since marijuana was legalized in 2014. Nor have there been significant reports of under-age marijuana users suffering from ill effects of the Demon Weed.
All of that and more was prophesied to occur by opponents of Measure 91, the marijuana legalization initiative. Supposedly Oregon would become a cannabis hellscape -- stoned drivers killing themselves and other people, teenagers becoming zombies, increased use of hard drugs once people got a taste of being high.
When I go in to buy some Indica from my favorite store (the strain I like for relaxing in the evening), I'm given a Seasoned Smoker discount. I like that term, even though from age 21 to shortly before marijuana became legal in Oregon I didn't imbibe a single toke.
But that sure wasn't the case in my college years -- where I ended up graduating "With Great Distinction" from San Jose State, having written some of my best essays while high. Thus it doesn't surprise me that marijuana has caused so few problems in Oregon. The reason is simple:
Marijuana has few negative effects, especially when compared with alcohol. And CBD, which I take three times a day for general health promotion, has essentially zero negative effects, just a bunch of positive effects.
One thing I can say, though, is that the positive side of getting high sure is a lot different for me now that I'm almost 72, as compared to when I was 19.
I think a large part of ehe difference can be attributed to the famous "set and setting" notion. Set refers to the mindset of a psychedelic drug user, while setting refers to the physical and social environment.
After my fairly staid freshman year, my life at a college in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960's was thoroughly suffused with hippie ideals. Flower Power. Summer of Love. Jefferson Airplane. Haight Ashbury. Make Love, Not War. Don't Trust Anyone Over 30. LSD. All that stuff.
When we smoked marijuana, we were also inhaling an entire lifestyle.
Plus, we were young, crazy, uninhibited, carefree. Now, I use a PAX vaporizer, because I'm concerned about my lungs. I sit in a warm bath, checking my iPhone, then reading a thriller book. Getting high has a whole different feel from when, back in college, we'd spontaneously decide to drive to Santa Cruz in the middle of the night so we could see the sun rise over the ocean.
Now I struggle to stay awake through the KGW TV evening news that ends at 11:35 pm.
What hasn't changed, though, is my appreciation for marijuana. It relaxes me. It resets my frazzled mind, especially now when the upcoming election is causing nightmarish visions of four more years of Trump to dance through my head. It makes me feel more at one with the world, less ego-centered and anxious.
So many thanks to those who paved the way for legal marijuana in Oregon, especially the tireless advocates for Measure 91. In November I'll celebrate the six-year anniversary of Measure 91's passage with some fine Oregon-grown cannabis. And hopefully also celebrate Joe Biden's victory.