December 12, 2012

Jerry's Ink


It's coming and no one – not even the federal government – can stop it.

In our lifetime, marijuana, aka grass, weed, pot, reefer, dope, ganja, Mary Jane, herb, whatever you call it, will be legalized.

Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana will be decriminalized. As of today, marijuana is legal in Colorado. Yes, you can smoke a joint in public in Colorado, which gives new meaning to the song "Rocky Mountain High."

As of now, 18 states (including New Jersey) plus Washington D.C. have already enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana. And that's good.

In the case of New Jersey this might pose a problem because if Jersey's wonderful governor, the brilliant, tragically overweight Chris Christie, ever takes a toke of grass he will get the out-of-control "fat man munchies" and wind up eating Trenton.

Over the years pot has been the source of so much lying and denying.

For example, in a survey a few years ago, just one-third of adult Americans said they had smoked pot. This leads me to believe that all but a small number of the two-thirds who said they have never smoked pot in their lives were lying either to themselves or to us.

I say 98 percent of those of you reading this column right now have tried it at least once. Did I say 98 percent? I meant 99.5 percent.

New York Mayors Bloomberg and Koch admitted they smoked grass.

I will bet every one of the Supreme Court justices have smoked pot at one point in their lifetime. Although the thought of seeing Ruth Bader Ginsberg stoned makes me nauseous.

What's more, our last three presidents smoked pot. President Clinton (he lied and said he didn't inhale) smoked grass.

President George W. Bush (he wouldn't talk about it but his drug use was legendary when he attended Yale).

President Barry Obama smoked grass and that didn't hurt him, did it? (tee hee!)

The fact is, if you were alive in 1960s and '70s and '80s, you smoked. I didn't know anyone who didn't experiment with pot at least once. You couldn't walk a single New York City street in the summer without getting a whiff of the sweet pungent smell of the cannabis weed.

Pot smokers in those days, for the most part, were a docile, giddy, rock 'n roll-loving, happy-go-lucky lot who only posed a danger to the ingredients of their refrigerators when they were seized with an attack of the munchies.

It was a wonderful time. When I think of those days I think of the words of the song, "Those were the days, my friend, we thought they'd never end."

Sadly, they ended. As the years went on, those long-haired pony-tailed kids with dilated pupils cut their hair, cleaned up their act, and became corporate leaders, Supreme Court justices, presidents, generals, doctors, priests, teachers, community leaders etc., etc. Perhaps smoking dope had indeed robbed them of their memory, as they had been warned would happen by those older generation folks who only got their kicks from booze – because no sooner had many of these confirmed pot smokers quit smoking than they joined the establishment and immediately denied ever taking a toke and set out to make life miserable for anyone caught with a joint.

One thing we must do once marijuana is legalized in this country is to expunge the records of all those who, in the past, were caught smoking a joint on the street and prosecuted.

They harmed no one.

Sadly, at one point, nearly a thousand people a week in the United States were being arrested, doing jail time, winding up with a record, losing out on college scholarships, and getting kicked out of schools for doing what those who were prosecuting them did when they were young.

When marijuana becomes legal it's important that parents talk to their children about the drug. Talk to them the same way you should talk to them about liquor and cigarettes, which, in the long run, are far more dangerous than grass will ever be. Don't wait to talk about it until your kids are 15 or 16 years old because the chances are, by that time, they have already experimented with grass and your input will be wasted.

There is one part of the marijuana controversy that still enrages me. It is clear that marijuana can be of great help to those poor souls suffering from cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy. Cannabis helps them deal with the nausea and horrible sickness that is part of the treatment.

Withholding marijuana from these people for so many years is the real crime. Those holier-than-thou people who constantly refused to allow timid politicians to legalize marijuana for medical use should, frankly, burn in hell.

A few years ago my late friend Joel Siegel was stricken with colon cancer and took his first chemo treatment. He called me and told me he had never felt so sick in his entire life. He said he heard that marijuana could ease his suffering. Could I find some? I told him I would make some calls. A few hours later I showed up at his door with five joints. I rang the bell. He answered the door. I held out the five joints in my hands and said, "The first five are free but then when you become a wild-eyed drooling addict, I'm going to charge you big money."

We both laughed. He later told me he took three puffs and he realized he would be able to bear the ordeal.

Marijuana will soon be legal for all. It's about time.

If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink" please send your message to jerry@dfjp.com.

  1. print email
    A Simple Twist of Fate
    December 11, 2012 | 07:56 PM

    At one point in my life I could have been Cheech or Chong. The late 60s and early 70s in high school and college were pretty far out for me! And despite it all, I somehow became an honors student and eventually got an MBA. Then landed in the Ted Bates MBA account management training program (the most prized of entry-level advertising career opportunities at the time.)

    Not to say, as Jerry suggests, that I had forsaken my hippie roots altogether, but I had to shape up and be sharp to compete … and so I did.

    Fast-forward to the 80s on Madison Avenue when you needed snow shoes just to get through the Creative department at most top agencies. A new version of cool that seemed OK to me at the time - right up to the point when my daughters noticed on a Saturday afternoon in Central Park.

    And that was it for me! In 1986 I smoked my last doobie and promised both of them as they were entering high school, that if they didn’t do drugs neither would I. A promise I’ve kept ever since.

    But on a lighter note, here’s the new rub for me and my dilemma …

    New York State now has pending legislation in the State Senate and Assembly to legalize medical marijuana and I have a well documented, 30-year case of open-angle glaucoma. Kind of like eventually hitting the Lottery jackpot except for one thing … I like me just the way I am right now and total clarity about all things in life is everything to me.

    On the other hand, I’m not Joel Siegel and suffering the pains of cancer. So, go Jerry! Will call you if I need you. LOL, Bill

    Bill Crandall
  2. print email
    pot smoking i America
    December 12, 2012 | 04:04 PM

    I was there in the sixties, and smoked pot. The only problem was that it made my heart pound, and so much I had to stop. To this day I love the smell of fine marijuana, and did smoke "Medical marijuana recently and thought I was tripping. The second try was the same, so guess my brain isn't strong enought to deal with todays' pot. Still I do enjoy being with my friends when they smoke. A contact high is better than none. May be considered old, but not in my heart, brains, or body.

    sandy sirus
  3. print email
    December 12, 2012 | 10:19 PM

    Jerry, I'm always surprised by your columns. Just when I think I know who you are, wham!

    I'm with you on this one.

    Linda Romanelli Leahy
  4. print email
    December 13, 2012 | 03:26 PM

    Possession of under 25 grams has already been decriminalized in NY and other states. In fact, it was decriminalized 40 years ago. A lot of people do not seem to understand the difference between legalization and decriminalization. If it is legal, you can buy it in a store. If it is decriminalized, it is still illegal, but not considered a crime and if caught you get a ticket and pay a fine but don't go to jail.

  5. print email
    Don't Bogart That Joint My Friend
    December 17, 2012 | 12:48 PM

    Pass it over to me!

    Jamison One
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