New York State recently made marijuana legal for recreational use and the first store just opened in NYC. To its credit the State is prioritizing social justice in licensing sellers. The first store is a laudable non-profit (Housing Works) which started in 1990 to help people with AIDS find housing. Currently it provides housing, healthcare, and vocational training to thousands of New Yorkers. I went into the city for an art event today so I added a detour to Housing Works and -- legally -- bought cannabis.
I understand those who oppose marijuana but (1) it's legal here, (2) I'm an adult, and (3) you're gonna have to respect my self-determination. As a former pot-user I know the scare tactics of the drug war (from 1960s onward) were untrue: I'm not going to become a heroin addict after puffing a joint.
Candidly I haven't smoked grass in 40 years. I consumed it in college and law school, then dropped the activity when I got a job. For me lighting up after such a long time is more nostalgia than anything else.
The reason I smoked during the seven years I spent in higher education was to reduce stress from academic striving. Those were tough years and pot helped me relax after long days of study. I didn't get that relief from alcohol and currently drink only for flavor or to improve socializing.
Marijuana has changed over the past half-century. Grown with better care than the skunk-weed we often got, it's cultivated by horticulturalists who know what they're doing. Legal weed is guaranteed pure and safe, avoiding contamination that sometimes taints illegal pot. Plus, a new market is opening -- products designed to appeal to connoisseurs. Terms like terpenes and cannobinoids are used to distinguish among different weed strains. Each type is labeled with its percentage of THC (the thing that makes you high) so telling strong product from weak is now easy. This isn't your grandpa's ganja.
Buying pot in New York means standing in line, proving you're over 21, selecting from a menu and paying. Like you do for everything else. Simple and efficient. The menu has dozens of brands of pot in flower form, rolled joints, vape oil and edibles.
Have you ever smoked pot? Will legalization make you consider it again?