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I’m 67 Years Old. I Smoke Pot. And It’s Time to Make It Legal, Period.

| October 9, 2014

The author in West Virginia some time back. (Thomas O'Hara)

The author in West Virginia some time back. (Thomas O’Hara)

I smoked some marijuana the other day and went to the beach in Fort Lauderdale.

I eased back in my chair, looked up and saw a lovely formation of wispy white clouds. The late-afternoon air had a hint of Florida autumn. The water was warm. The sounds of the beachgoers were soothing.

I was in paradise and I was stoned — again.

I’m 67 years old. I’m one of the most mature and stable people I know. I’m a high achiever and I almost never honk my horn at clueless drivers. I am an asset to society.

That’s why all this to-and-fro about legalizing medical marijuana makes me nuts. If anyone thinks that passing Amendment 2 is not a step toward legalizing recreational marijuana, then you’re been ingesting too much of the wrong kind of drugs.

I’m going to vote for Amendment 2 because it’s a step toward legalizing recreational marijuana. Everyone knows the reasons to make it legal, but I’ll give you the highlights:

– we’ll have fewer knucklehead “drug dealers” serving time in our prisons, which will save me and the nation’s moralists lots of tax money.

– we’ll piss off lots of Central and South American drug dealers who won’t be able to profit from our insatiable appetite for pot.

context florida– we can control the manufacture and distribution of the stuff and  tax it– just like we do with booze. And it willcreate jobs, which will please the GOP governor and legislators, who are very, very concerned about the middle class. The poor people too.

– we live in a free country. We can drink ourselves sick. We can kill ourselves with cigarettes. We can carry assault rifles into Target. Lots of us want some pot from time to time without a lot of hassle. Like my free-market friends say: “I want government off my back.”

Almost half of the adults in the U.S. have smoked pot, according to Pew Research. And that percentage is going to go higher and higher despite the best efforts of America’s morality police.

And as that number rises, there are going to be more and more voters who know from experience that smoking pot does not make them crave heroin.

Smoking pot doesn’t make you crazy, as alcohol can.

They’ll know from experience that smoking pot does not make them want to get a gun and kill a spouse or a bar patron — like alcohol does with some people.

They’ll know from experience that it’s much easier to smoke pot on Sunday and get up on Monday and perform well at work than if they drank a case of Miller Lite while watching Sunday Night Football.

They’ll know from experience that alcohol seems to be far worse for the body and mind than smoking pot.

Americans ended Prohibition because it was a preposterous and Quixotic enterprise to begin with. Americans ended school segregation and many kinds of racial discrimination because Americans, for the most part, are good, fair and sensible. Americans are accepting same-sex marriage for the same reasons.

So, recreational pot will be legal sooner or later.

Sooner or later, smart Americans will simply overwhelm the morality gang with facts and logic and votes.

Now, back to my afternoon at the beach. When I got home, I had a wondrous plate of spaghetti and meat sauce and a salad that tingled my taste buds.

Even at my age, the munchies are still a thrill.

Tom O’Hara is a semi-retired newspaper editor who edits Context Florida and lives in Fort Lauderdale.

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27 Responses for “I’m 67 Years Old. I Smoke Pot. And It’s Time to Make It Legal, Period.”

  1. AUSTIN (17YRSOLD) says:

    Yes! This is my kind of old dude lol, keep tokin gramps! VOTE YES ON 2!

  2. rickg says:

    What a refreshingly great piece thanks Mr. O’Hara.

  3. Ed Travers says:

    Since I’m not as successful as you, I could no longer risk the illegalities associated with cannabis – buying, transporting, consuming and being randomly tested (not for intoxication, but) for having consumed sometime in the previous two months. It’s been nearly 30 years since I quit, but I want to change that. But this time I want to change it because of my health conditions – chronic pain from conditions that required multiple spinal surgeries. The physical and mental stress that builds up as a result of dealing with extreme pain is intolerable. So there truly is a medical application. And as I fondly remember, I won’t mind the pleasant side effects either. Your two statements that begin with “They’ll know from experience” are truths that if the naysayers really understood, they would switch sides. I believe that the majority of the folks that argue against legalization do so out of “lack of experience”. I don’t want to use the word “ignorance” because I find it divisive in a time where every vote is needed. But something that I can’t emphasize enough is that this is not, and should not, be presented or suggested as being a partisan issue. All that accomplishes is driving a wedge between folks that agree on something, but disagree on other things. Although I’m not a Republican, I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life because I know they don’t understand economics and freedom and how rare and precious the rise of a society such as ours is. But my issues are defined by my common sense and not by national or local politics. So as I urge you to vote yes on amendment 2, I ask you to look to your heart only and not what some political party says is the right position. I wish I could proceed like you Thomas, and not have fears. But I can’t do so without passage of amendment 2 – I really can’t.

  4. Say What You Want says:

    One can have a drink of alcohol and get not get drunk, but can one smoke marijuana and not get high? Wine tasting is different than smoking weed and changing the chemicals in your brain.

    • barbie says:

      This is so tiresome, having to have this discussion over and over again, when so many insist on hiding behind “opinion” when it is nothing but ignorance. Those of you who don’t have a clue about this subject need to keep your ignorance to yourselves. It’s time to get out of the way and let common sense lead the way here. It’s a PLANT. God put it here for a reason and man was smart enough to figure that reason out. So I’ve had it with some of His children, thinking they have the right to second-guess Him.

  5. Jason Driggs says:

    I don’t understand why drug offenders (those caught possessing) are sent to the same criminal jails as drug distributors (those selling and transporting).

    Shouldn’t the offenders be sent to rehab instead of jail? Why does the law make them instant criminals?

    The vast majority of pot smokers I ever came in contact with were very mellow, creative people. I think the government should stop being afraid of them. It’s not fair to compare a pot smoker with a heroine addict and to punish them both as common criminals.

    • Brian says:

      If you ever have a chance, find out how much money the local municipalities/counties get for jailing people. The same for prisons. The federal government pays a lot of money to house and feed prisoners, transport them and attend to their medical and school needs, etc. And local governments are in it for the money as much as any prison is.

  6. Just Curious says:

    Hey Tom, You claim to be a mature and stable person, and a asset to society. You also seem to be very proud of being stoned. I also remember those days. The big difference is that I was 16 and grew up and you are 67. In your article you do not mention a wife or children. As a matter of fact you do not mention any family or friends. How do these people in your life feel about your addition? Please do not get me wrong. I do believe that Pot has some valid place in our society. An example is a cancer patient, or some other valid medical reason.

    • barbie says:

      And Tom has a byline on this website, featuring his full, real name and a forum to speak his mind to the public. And he spoke in coherent sentences and presented a specific straightforward case with facts to back him up. And you have…a letters posting section where you hide behind a made-up screen name and float insinuations that have no basis but that of your own frightened mind. That doesn’t seem terribly “grown up” to me.

    • familyguy says:

      As most anti’s you are making too many assumptions. Because he does not mention family it does not mean he does not have family or friends. This is an internet conversation not a biography.

  7. Joe says:

    Time to grow up Tom

  8. John Smallberries says:

    To add to the above article, this quote:

    “the illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”

    That quote was from someone that smoked cannabis almost every day, and it was Carl Sagan. You know, the guy who wrote the Cosmos series, who had over 600 articles both scientific and non- published, and who wrote a number of nonfiction books on science as well as a few fiction ones.

    You see, potheads are useless people that add nothing to society and just mooch.

  9. Groot says:

    Hi? Stoned again! I would love to play that golf course! It looks a bit like Oglebay Resort but I have not played there in years. Regardless, beautiful golf course. Yes, weed is a healthier alternative than alcohol and stoners are normally much less aggressive than drunks. It would be easier and less costly for us all to just legalize and regulate and of course, tax the heck out of it.

  10. Rocky says:

    Remember back in High School, there was that one kid who was always “red eyed” smiling and paranoid the teacher was going to call on him ? Well, here he is all grown up and still a “stoner”. Sad isn’t it ?

    • barbie says:

      Remember back in High School, there was that one loser who got belligerent when the teacher called him out for being obnoxious yesterday in class and he verbally abused her and told her she didn’t know what she was talking about? Well, there he is now, sitting on a barstool, ogling old ladies and yelling at the television behind the bar. Sad, isn’t it?

  11. Seminole Pride says:

    I agree. I for one who was diagnosed with Epilepsy five years ago and had to take early retirement am looking forward to an alternative. from having to take prescribed medication that puts a tremendous toll on me, because of the side effects., It has been scientically proven that marijuana is very helpful to those that have Epilepsy.

  12. barbie says:

    Those of you trying to make this about the mental age of the consumer are just sad. Sad and angry. Why, I don’t know, because you’d be the first ones to complain if you couldn’t buy your 12-pack of Miller Lite at Publix. So hypocritical. Go on with your tired old selves–beer never helped restore my appetite after chemo ravaged my body.

  13. DisgustedinPC says:

    I commend you for the story. Most media outlets are so afraid of this subject from the pro side. People need to be educated on “pot:. The negative ads are disgusting. Marijuana has many medical benefits. I have worked with Hospice and also took care of my Father, who passed from lung cancer. If you could see what it does for people that are terminal, you would understand. It is not the taboo it is made out to be. I recently lost a fired who had prostrate cancer. Marijuana tincture was very beneficial to him. Pharmaceutical companies are killing us all with chemicals. The THC level and content in “pot” can be altered and even removed. It is not the only beneficial aspect. People need to do research. Other states have legalized for medical and recreational purposes. Check out their policies and see what it means for patients and the economy. Look at what it does for children with neurological disorders. I would rather a kid use a form of “pot” for ADHD than allow the government to feed them full of chemicals only to have them, as adults, not be able to afford those chemicals and become a menace on society!! Grow up people!!!

  14. Rollbamtide says:

    I work in the field of addiction, and this Amendment 2 scares me. For some, especially the young (under 24), marijuana is a dangerous drug. It is not as subtly as many think. Research has shown that marijuana does have some medicinal value, and I believe that it should be treated as any other prescription medication. It is highly addictive. I know people who smoke a 1/4 ounce or more per day. This has a tremendously negative affect on the brain, especially for those under the age of 24. If Amendment 2 is anything like the California law, it will have a negative impact on a lot of people.

    • John Smallberries says:

      “I work in the field of addiction, and this Amendment 2 scares me. For some, especially the young (under 24), marijuana is a dangerous drug.”

      For some, food is a dangerous drug and they are unable to reduce their eating habits to healthy levels.

      “It is not as subtly as many think. Research has shown that marijuana does have some medicinal value, and I believe that it should be treated as any other prescription medication.”

      Which is the goal of amendment 2, so why are you scared of it?

      “it is highly addictive.”

      No it isn’t. Assuming that you are a professional in “the field of addiction”, then you know that the above statement is patently false, because you’ve educated yourself through journals and other reputable sources of information in order to stay on top of your field.

      “I know people who smoke a 1/4 ounce or more per day. This has a tremendously negative affect on the brain, especially for those under the age of 24.”

      I know people that drink a case of beer a day. I know people that eat far, far too much in one sitting and really can’t help themselves. We all know people that indulge in things excessively. You could legislate away everything that can be abused, which means literally everything, or you can teach people to be smart about their excesses.

      “If Amendment 2 is anything like the California law, it will have a negative impact on a lot of people.”

      And a hugely positive impact on many, many more people.

  15. I AGREE says:

    I would much rather deal with a pot head than a junkie I know lots of people older generation that smoke pot
    and are an asset to society

  16. citizen says:

    God put pot on this earth. Could GOD be wrong?

  17. Uncle Ben says:

    The winds of change are blowing. (love that cliche)
    I loved reading Mr. O’Hara’s article. He’s a riot!

  18. Mo Money says:

    Yes, by all means….Legalize medical marijuana…Please hurry. The more intoxicated people, the more “stoners” I can scam. Oh hell yes, EVERYBODY MUST GET STONED !!!!!

  19. Mike says:

    Hello Tom,
    I’m sixty-seven today, never thought that I would ever get to be this old (yet I don’t feel I am old) Didn’t start smoking marijuana until I was overseas in the ARMY (Go ARMY), in any case, as a child, I was taught not to see race, just people, respect women, fight for human rights, or that I would see the Berlin wall come down, a black man able to become president, relations with China or US states allowing marijuana. However, even in my worst nightmare did I ever once think that the country would be this f***ed up, self-entitled rich assholes buying our senators and representatives off, in order to change our country to suit their needs and f*** the rest of us, that new immigrants entering into America would bring all their old age antiquated baggage with them into my neighborhood and expect me to believe same, I really thought I would get to see world peace in my time, never thought some bullshit made up god would keep us from world peace, that some asshole kid would be threatening the world with nuclear weapons, or that China would own our asses, not to mention all the bullshit that spewing from the republican party on a daily bases and by their sarcastic, misogynistic, self-important, drug addicted radio and tv hosts, and their other party assholes preaching their rampant misinformation bullshit, as the voice of America, such as, that race issues are made worse because we have a black president, I’m so sick of seeing 9/11 victim families on television because they’re always complaining, Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties, Some girls, they rape so easy, If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator, it’s a legitimate rape, it is something that God intended to happen, they just keep shoveling bullshit down the throats of Americans and that so many people believe, repeat and argue as truths. The problem is not bullshit gods, corrupt politicians and f**ked up political parties, or sick misogynistic media assholes, its people, just people, ignorant frightened people. The previous generation was called the greatest ever, what are they going to call us? Well, diaper up America, quit watching so much tv and playing video games, kick out all your asshole kids still living at home, get rid of all republicans (let god sort them out), it’s time to get out and vote, we need to take America back, more real jobs, free healthcare for all Americans, keep social security, get rid of automatic weapons, make free education for all Americans and obtaining a PhD a given American right, oh yes, and legalize marijuana.

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