9.14.2020 | The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall
Above: Some of the thousands of MMJ buttons I made back in the day (2008-2012). These were given away by collectives in Long Beach, CA.
Welcome back to the red bench – time to get this week started!
Strongly Recommending Medical Marijuana
The posts last week about depression got me looking around on my computer for a piece of writing I created back in 2003 called “The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall”. It’s kind of a historical document now, from a moment back when the War on Drugs was still in full swing and real legalization was just a smoky dream far beyond the horizon.
I wrote this the day I got my first medical marijuana recommendation from my Kaiser Permanente doctor. Back then there weren’t any “medical marijuana doctors” you could go to and get a recommendation in five minutes for $40. I had no choice but to go through my psychiatrist, who sent me to a specialist in the Physical Medicine Department. That doctor said, and I’ll never forget this, “I’m STRONGLY recommending you use medical marijuana,” after hearing my situation. Then he said, “Do you know why marijuana is illegal? PIGS – Politics, Ignorance, Greed and Stupidity.” I loved this guy! I have been following the good doctors orders ever since 😉
Here’s the photocopy of the recommendation (properly redacted) that I’ve been carrying ever since I got it back in 2003.
If you note a difference between the date of the writing below and the date on my written recommendation – it took three weeks for my doctor to mail the written rec. But according to Prop 215, all you need was an oral recommendation to be legally safe. So when I got home from work after seeing the doctor earlier in the day I was technically safe and legal… and so I wrote this:
The Man On The Other Side Of The Wall
November 18, 2003
On Tuesday night, November 18th, I got home from work, sat in my big chair, kicked back, and for the first time in my life smoked marijuana legally. Within minutes the herb was soothing the chemical hell of the mania I was enduring. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was, in my own living room, smoking pot legally. After all these years of self-medicating my disorder, finally I was legit, the doctor had given me his recommendation, no, his strong recommendation that I use medical marijuana.
I couldn’t wait to share my good news. I called some friends and shared my story of my yearlong journey with my psychiatrist and the doctor I met with today. These are people I’ve smoked marijuana with before. They know what a hassle the drug war is. Yesterday I was one of them. This morning when I woke up I was one of them. If the Federal Government takes a disliking to me, I’m still one of them. But somehow, during the course of my conversations I realized that I had been smuggled out of the country, and now I was the man living on the other side of the wall.
One of my friends said, “Wow, that’s really great for you, Jon, I wish…” and he sounded like someone wishing for the far country. It breaks my heart. I think I can imagine what it must have felt like to be smuggled out of East Berlin into West Berlin, and knowing that people just like you should be where you are. I didn’t realize when I walked into that doctor’s office on Tuesday morning, that it was actually a tunnel under the wall. I walked into that office from the East Berlin of the drug war and walked out in West Berlin. The city is still surrounded, but that is about to change. Freedom has to win. The wall will come down.
But for now, that wall is standing, looking as solid as ever, and I’m a confused immigrant trying to find my way around. How do I go about handling this situation? How do other people who use medical marijuana handle their situation? When and where can I smoke when I need to medicate? Do I now have a greater freedom of movement just like with the other prescription meds I take? It’s a strange new world to me, just a few hours old.
So what’s it like on that side of the wall, you might be wondering? Well, when you grow up afraid of the secret police, the fear doesn’t go away over night. I still feel reflexively like I’m on the other side of the wall, I’m sure that will change with time. I keep turning the doctors words over in my mind “I’m strongly recommending that you use medical marijuana.” When being a criminal is the last thing you want to be, those are the best words you can hear. I’ll figure out how to do my shopping in this new city soon enough, but for this moment, I’m just smelling the air of freedom.
I know the city is surrounded, and I know they have the blockade on. But I’ve been smuggled out to live, die and pray with those that breathe the air of freedom, even if it’s just for a moment. Ich bin ein Berliner.
Many years have now passed since I wrote that… I learned how to function in the world of legal marijuana a long time ago, which is the reason I write these posts 🙂
In spite of all the fears of the anti-marijuana crowd, legalization is the not the nightmare they projected. It works just fine. Companies like Coastal Sun Farm, Los Angeles Kush, Cru Cannabis, High Garden… just to name a few, are doing a great job providing for the cannabis needs of the people. The world of legal marijuana is growing and will continue to grow, I project… the next five years could be amazing!
How do you feel about legalization in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the other free states? Has your experience been a positive one or have you encountered problems? We’d love to hear your comments!
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Until later, best of health ??