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Why You Should Never Get Stoned Alone (Or the Problem with Legalized Weed)

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Right now everyone who has ever taken a toke is laughing at Maureen Dowd, the uber square New York Times columnist who went to Colorado, ate a shit ton of edible marijuana, and freaked the fuck out. “But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid,” she writes. She uses the rest of her column to talk about all the problems facing Colorado now that they have legalized recreational use of the Grateful Dead’s favorite smokable treat.

But the problem isn’t pot, the problem is people like Maureen Dowd. See, Maureen didn’t just eat one THC-laced candy while trying to kick it in her hotel room. She ate an entire pot candy bar that should have been divided into 16 parts. She took 16 doses at once! And she did it because the edible pot didn’t kick in for an hour. What a rookie mistake. Welcome to being 17, Maureen Dowd.

This is why you should never get stoned alone and this is part of the problem with legalized marijuana. Any lady can just walk into a store, buy a pot candy bar, and then think that she’s turned into a glass of orange juice and someone is going to drink her. Back when I first ate pot brownies, I couldn’t go into a store and buy them, I had to make them. And this was the early ’90s so there wasn’t even an internet to give me a recipe. I learned by asking an old stoner friend (she was probably 22, but to a 17-year-old she seemed like a sage). She told me how to put the pot in butter and then use the butter in brownie mix. She told me to eat one and then to wait because when you eat it, it takes a lot longer to kick in.

That is what we will miss once pot becomes legalized, the folklore of how to do it, the shared community one has to descend in to not just to get a supply, but to learn how to do just about everything. There needs to be someone there to tell you to take out the seeds and not to pack a bowl too tight or it won’t work. There has to be someone to teach you the difference between a head high and a body high and someone to teach you the dark arts of how to roll a joint that won’t canoe. Hell, someone needs to teach you what a canoe is.

And it’s not strange that Ms. Dowd didn’t like her high. That happens to a lot of people the first time they get stoned. Some people don’t like it and some people might not be biologically made to handle it (just like some people can’t hold their liquor). That’s fine. It happened dozens of times when introducing straight friends to smoking weed when I was in high school. The difference is those people had their friends there to help them, to calm them down and tell them that the world isn’t ending and, no, they are not dying. You have to walk someone through a bad trip, to see them through to the other side, but there is no one there if you alone, nibbling on pot candy like it’s a Whitman’s Sampler.

Yes, eventually getting stoned by yourself is a great time – getting your giggles on with a big bowl of cheese popcorn watching 4 episodes in a row of Orange is the New Black before falling asleep with your head in the popcorn bowl. But pot is a social drug, bringing people together and bonding them through shared experience. To do it alone, especially for amateurs, is asking for a world of hurt. The problem isn’t weed, as Dowd and countless other old scolds would like us to believe. The problem is ignorance and we need the oral history of the great union of stoners to combat it. I would never tell anyone to Just Say No, but when you’re saying yes, maybe it’s best to have a bit of supervision. We get high with a little help from our friends.

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