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Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Wonderland Burlesque's Cannabis Quiz

Wonderland Burlesque's 
Cannabis Quiz

April is National Cannabis Awareness Month.

Okay? Where's the party?

Looking all around me, because... where there's smoke... wink, wink.

It's legal in 15 states and Washington D.C. It's been decriminalized in all but six states.

Today, I thought we'd take a look at your experience with marijuana and your thoughts about its use and decriminalization.

I don't know why this feels risky... but it does! How uptight am I?

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1/ At what age did you realize there was such a thing as marijuana?  What were the circumstances? 

So, there are three stages to learning about marijuana. First, it is an abstract idea about something that happens somewhere else. 

In this case, I was in fourth grade and we had something called Drug Awareness Week. The big deal was creating an anti-drug poster. And in order to do that you had to learn all about drugs. So, in fourth grade, the week after we finished reading Charlotte's Web in class and I sobbed like a three year old who was told Xmas had been canceled, we proceeded to learn all about shooting heroin, mixing speedballs, packing a bong, and dropping a tab of acid.

Surprisingly, some of the other kids were way more informed than I was. One kid in particular, we'll call him 'Jack', because that is his name, knew all about drugs, so much so that he could have taught the class. Jack knew so much about drugs because he had a much older brother who was a drug addict. Now, I, on the other hand, was such a naïve country mouse turned city mouse that when Jack told me his brother was an addict, I thought he said 'attic'. And, given my limited knowledge of drugs, I could not figure out why his parents would allow a bunch of dirty hippies to live on the upmost floor of their house and do that sort of thing. 

Because, in fourth grade, I may not have understood the difference between 'addict' and 'attic', and I may have sobbed like a little girl when I learned a fictitious spider who knew how to spell better than I did  would be dead at the end of the damn book, but I did know all about how to place a sugar cube of heroin in a common table spoon, place a lighter beneath the spoon until the cube melted and bubbled, take a syringe and draw the bubbling liquid up into the syringe, wrap a rubber hose around my arm and inject the needle into a vein in my arm in order to escape the messed up world we lived in. 

So, I knew exactly what those dirty hippies were doing under the roof at Jack's house. 

The reason why Drug Awareness Week suddenly became an important thing in my hometown was because drug culture had invaded the Pamida store in a neighboring town. 

This was accomplished by taking a single aisle of the store and creating an entrance on both ends by using beaded curtains on one end and grass curtains on the other. Also, for some reason, they chose to forgo the flattering glow of the institutional fluorescent bulbs lighting up the rest of the store and, after placing a grass hut roof over the top, instead chose to light the space using lava lamps, and black lights. Inside this aisle were candles in the shape of toadstools, velvet black light posters featuring seductive women and mythical castles, incense and incense burners also in the shape of seductive women and mythical castles, t-shirts featuring a fern leaf and  Captain Zig Zag, exotic grinning Buddhas and an assortment of glass vases with one large hole at the top for most of the flowers and a tiny arm that jutted out at an angle that would hold a single flower.  At least that's what my mother told me when I brought it over to her in the lady hosiery aisle to ask her what it was. 

Imagine my surprise the following week when it was explained to me that it was really a bong, which I thought was a musical instrument, because it rhymed with gong, and that the little arm that jutted out at an angle was where you placed your lips to blow into it in order to make a sound. On our next trip to Pamida, I tried to do just that and the sales clerk who saw me do it told me to "put that down" and to take her to my mother immediately. When I tried to explain to my mother what I was doing, that is when she and the clerk learned all about Drug Awareness Week, and, since I had a captive adult audience, I decided to also explain how shoot a cube of heroin into your arm using a hypodermic needle - because even back then, I loved an audience and never knew when enough was too much.

The next day my mother decided to pay a visit to my grade school dragging our priest, old Father McNally, with her. I proudly pointed to my poster depicting Jack's dirty hippy brother and his friends doing smack, dropping acid and overdosing in the attic of Jack's parent's house. I was very proud of it, especially the pool of vomit I drew leaking from Jack's brother's dirty hippy mouth. All the posters were taken down the next day and I do believe that was the last Drug Awareness Week my grade school ever participated in. 

As for Pamida's dirty hippy aisle, which I continued to sneak into each time we visited the store (because there were boobs on some of the posters and I knew that one day they would be important), it was dismantled and replaced with an aisle of religious figures, plaques, and plastic Virgin Mary lawn ornaments after some stupid little kid pooped on the floor in there. I'm not saying I was the stupid little kid that pooped on the floor, but I do take partial credit for ending the seductive terror of the dirty hippy aisle at our local Pamida. 

My personal theory? It was Jack who pooped on the floor in the Pamida dirty hippy aisle - because his brother was a drug addict, and those people will poop anywhere. (I saw Woodstock!)

The second stage of learning about marijuana is the day you actually know someone who smokes marijuana. My older brother, we'll call him 'Jack', because that is not his name, was a starting varsity football player and state wrestling and track and field contender. Your typical midwestern jock, he was big, strong, handsome and dumb as a box of pet rocks. In the summers he would work for various people. One of these people happened to be a distant cousin of ours who was crushed between two railroad cars, paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. There was a lawsuit and a lot of money awarded. 

Jack would serve as this man's caregiver, wheeling him about, driving him. One of this man's hobbies was... *gasp*, marijuana. And who could blame him? I mean what else did he have to do? He was a grown ass man, he could do whatever he wanted. However, somehow, Jack got it into his head that he could also smoke marijuana. And so he did. And he got into trouble for it when my mother, who had the fear of God beaten into her and was therefore terrified of everything, found out. 

So, suddenly... I knew someone who smoked pot. My brother was a dirty pothead. Yes. my dad's golden boy was looking a little tarnished. Jack's senior year in high school was a total disaster. Oh, he still played football and wrestled and ran, but now his coaches yelled at him... a lot. And when it came time to cast the school musical, I ended up with a larger part than he did and he didn't like that idea because he'd expected he would be cast in the lead, so he quit. Then his girlfriend, who we all adored and expected him to marry, up and dumped his dumb azz and the dirty pot-smoking douchebag barely graduated high school. 

On top of all that, my mother never let up on him. So to escape, he joined the army. Now he's a staunch Republican living in New Mexico and a total asshole. So, see kids? That's the real danger of drugs. You get yelled at, your girlfriend dumps you, you join the army to escape your mother and you end up a Republican living in a state that smells like a pile of dead cows. 

I should also mention that I actually accidentally purchased some pot when I was in the sixth grade. When we would visit my grandmother in Albert Lea, MN in the summer, it was not uncommon that we would all pile into vehicles and go to rummage sales. At one sale, in a part of town I had never been in, I came upon a scratched up copy of The Doobie Brothers The Captain and Me. It was only 30 cents and I was dying to own some grown up rock. I got it home and discovered that in the gatefold there were all these bits and pieces of of some kind of dried up plant. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but in retrospect, I am pretty sure I had unwittingly made my first (and only) score. 

And, an aside, the album was terribly scratched, but still played. It remains one of my all-time favorite albums. 

2/ In high school, there was always that one crowd referred to as the stoners. Did you interact with them? What did you think of them?

As one of four gays in my graduating class (That I know of.) (Brad, if you're reading this, it's okay, you can come out now.) (And when you do? Call me!), I was very fortunate. Because of my musical and theatrical abilities, the jocks all protected me and never bullied me. 

The stoners, on the other hand... despised my existence. Things were said, a lot. Things that, in my state of total denial, caused me to simply smile harder and pretend they were never uttered. 

You see, I was that guy who made it all the way through high school without realizing that everybody else was drinking, smoking pot and having sex... like they were supposed to be. There were keggers every weekend and I... never found out about them until years and years later. Needless to say, because of my Family Variety Hour demeanor, no one bothered to invite me to these keggers because they knew I wouldn't come (or because they were afraid I would tell an adult!) So, I had 90 percent of the school fooled. 

The stoners were the only ones who knew what a sick little perv I was... because I think a steady diet of Mary Jane, free love, 3.2 beer and self loathing gives one extra sensory perception when it comes to the goody-two shoes hiding his boner with a three-ring binder between classes. 

Oh, and by the way, guess who was king of the stoners? That's right! It was Jack the Pamida Pooper. Proof that drugs ARE bad.

3/ Have you ever tried it?  Circumstances surrounding your first use? What did you think?  

The third way you gain knowledge of marijuana is to try marijuana. 

This would occur shortly after I turned eighteen. I was in a motel in Minneapolis, with my 36 year old boyfriend, an actor from NYC, who was in town working at the Guthrie. He decided that I should try smoking some weed to reduce my anxiety. 

That was not a good idea. 

For the next two hours I laid on the floor flitting between a state of abject terror and crying hysterically. I was terrified because I kept thinking I was going to shrink until I disappeared. You know, like how in the super hero comic books they draw those graduating silhouettes around someone to indicate they're shrinking? That's what I kept seeing in my head, so that's what I was convinced was happening to me. And then, when I was not thinking that, I was sobbing my head off  because I was so insecure and terrified of everything, but I was especially afraid that my 36 year old boyfriend would dump my stupid 18 year old ass. 

Well, that alone demonstrates exactly how naïve I was at the time. I mean, we actually met when I was still 17, so... yeah, he wasn't going to be dumping my ass for at least another year or two.  

4/ Do you smoke on a regular basis? When was the last time?

Gawd, no. Are you kidding? I mean, I like the idea of it. But no, I am not wired that way at all. I wish I was. But even when I can, I rarely do.

The last time I smoked was when I'd arranged my schedule so I could stay overnight at this massage therapist's apartment. We'd fooled around a couple of times and I always thought he was a lot of fun. I also suspected he wanted more than just a some time thing. I... did not. He always smoked a little pot when we got together, which I refused because I knew I had to drive home. He convinced me to arrange my schedule to spend the night at his place so I could imbibe, and I thought that sounded fun. 

It was not. 

Pot now is not the pot of my youth. Pot now is like taking a horse tranquilizer. Here, I thought it would make me all good to go and feeling sensuous. It did not. All I wanted to do was sleep. I knew not to smoke too much, so I only took one hit. But even that proved too much.

My companion, on the other hand, had built up quite a tolerance. He kept rousing me, making me do things with him. On and on and on. See, I had also made the mistake of taking 10 mg of generic Viagra, so he took my constant hard on as a sign that I was always good to go. 

I was so not good to go. 

In fact, after a point, the only thing I did was sleep. 

In the morning he was very sweet, bringing me orange juice. And all I could think of was the sight of him from the previous night, lying in his leather sling with this stocking sock on over his hair and me thinking to myself... he looks like Weezy Jefferson from Good Times in that sock. Damn, I'm fucking Weezy Jefferson in a sling with a sock on her head. Where my keys at?

That was a good four years ago.

I ran into him during the beginning of the Covid pandemic at the local gay store where I went to purchase my first dildo. He was very friendly.

 And I was very polite. 

Throughout our conversation, the theme from Good Times kept playing in my fool head.

5/ If you're at a party and someone offers you a toke, what do you do?

If I'm driving, I tell them thank you, but I'm driving. 

If I am not driving, I will take the tiniest of whiffs and then move to the other side of the room before it comes back around. I don't want to be offered a second.

Of course, I don't know what the etiquette regarding the passing of a doobie will be post-covid.

And, of course, I no longer go to parties, so... I guess that whole thing is moot.

6/ What do you think about people who drive past you with a car full of smoke, reeking of weed?

I am amazed at their bravery.

Not because I think they are brave to smoke pot so openly, but because I marvel at how they are able to drive and smoke at the same time. That's a mystery to me; a skill not in my wheelhouse.

See, I did that twice. Both times driving back to my house in North Minneapolis from St. Paul. It's a straight shot on 94, but you have to manage to find an entrance onto 94 in order to do that. 

Finding that entry? Nerve wracking. I was terrified of entering the freeway going the wrong way, so it took me several attempts before I committed to actually entering the freeway.

Needless to say... pot makes me super paranoid. You put me behind the wheel? And you are looking at someone you never want to be on the road with. I spend a fourth of the time trying to figure out if I am going the right direction - looking for anything that looks vaguely familiar, a fourth of the time worried that I am going too fast and will catch the attention of police, a fourth of the time worried that I am going way too slow and will catch the attention of the police, and a fourth of the time cursing myself for getting behind the wheel of a car after smoking weed when I GD know better.

Now this was a good 25 years ago. I have since adopted a no drink and drive policy. If you have one drink with a full meal, you may drive. But otherwise... no. That's what Uber is for. And smoking pot and driving? That will never, ever happen again. 

7/ What do you think of the film industry's commonplace/casual take on cannabis use?

I am always amazed. Like it's just part of their everyday life and everybody is cool with it and it's no biggie. Nobody protests. Nobody is looking around to see if it's okay... it's just accepted. 

I mean, I am so out of touch. For instance, I have no idea how some of you are going to react that I am even bringing this topic up! I feel dirty looking for pictures of naked men smoking a bong.

I realize it's legal now in California and and 14 other states (and D.C.), but is it widely accepted? I mean, what if you have to take a drug test? 

It does not feel like a natural part of life yet, so I am always taken aback when someone whips out a doobie and lights it up. I suppose it's no different than having a martini. 

But, based on my experience? I'd rather have the martini. 

8/ What do you think about the argument that it is no worse or better for society than alcohol? 


We put up with a lot because we love our precious booze. There are clinics and dry houses and programs. The same would be there for those who can't handle their weed.

And if it were legal, it would create revenue and could be totally legislated the same way alcohol is currently legislated and monitored. 

And also, if we did with pot what we did with the casinos, it could be a means of making reparations for the black community. Let their community profit from it. Let them control it. The state would still rake in revenue based on how highly taxed it would be... the same tax currently levied on alcohol. 

The only people who lose in this situation are the Republicans, because suddenly they have one less hot button issue to terrify old people with. 

At this point, with 15 states having already legalized it without any repercussions - I mean have you heard any stories about crazed mobs of potheads storming the local 7-11 and stealing all the Cheetos and Slurpee machines? - it is a non-issue. Grow up, grow a pair and get out of the way of change. 

9/ Is it legal in the state you live? If not, and it came up on a ballot would you vote yay or nay? Have you ever done any work to make it legal in your state? Would you move to a state where it was legal? 

Medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota. And pot use in general has been decriminalized, but is still not legal. 

I am all for legalization and would definitely vote in favor of it. However, it's not a cause I feel compelled to work for. There are those who are already very passionate about it. In fact, there is a whole political party whose sole goal is to legalize marijuana. One of the reasons I would like to see it legalized? That party is currently siphoning off votes from Democratic candidates in my state - which pisses me off, because the last thing I need to live to see is Minnesota become a red state. 

I would totally move to a state where it was legal. 

Except Montana. 

Those assholes terrify me. 

10/ Has the war on drugs been a huge waste of time? What do you think about Oregon decriminalizing all drugs?

A huge waste of time and money and man power. The priority should be getting dangerous drugs off the streets - which would not be a problem if it was all legalized, legislated and monitored by the FDA. Only safe products would be sold and there would be accountability. 

Right now? It's the wild, wild west... which I know appeals to stupid Americans who love running around with assault weapons and 'winning', but it's a dangerous shit show that's resulting in the death of thousands of people a year. Not to mention all the resources that are being wasted on this ridiculous effort.

So, Oregon is smart. And I think it's time we all got smarter. 

11/ Do you own a t-shirt, stocking cap or other clothing that sport a marijuana leaf? What do you think of such clothing?

I would never own or wear such clothing. But to each their own.

I laugh when I see someone so dedicated that they parade around with a leaf on their clothing or have a tattoo of one. It all still strikes me as 'dirty', as in dirty hippy crap. I know, I know... judgmental much? It's something I'm working on. To each their own and if that's what's important to you? Go for it. 

I mean, I once collected beanie babies, so I am hardly in a position to judge anyone's passion. 

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Well, those are my thoughts. Share yours in the comments section or post them on your blog and leave a link here. 

I have to say, it is so ingrained in me that drugs are bad, that I hesitated to actually write this quiz. I looked up blogger's photo policy and it doesn't say anything about photos depicting drug use, but I am still terrified that this post will get cited. Smoking weed is legal in 15 states and D.C. - so how is it any different than showing pictures of people smoking or having a cocktail? 

Anyway... this has been an interesting experience for me. I hope it hasn't offended anyone. 

Thanks for reading!

Mary Jane - Rick James

One Toke Over The Line - Brewer & Shipley


Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Oh, yes!
Let's see: I first heard about pot from older kids. Fifth or sixth grade. I had no idea what it was but it sounded like fun. Some of my classmates had already tried it. I first tried it years later when I dated a guy who was a pothead. He tasted to me very particular and I discovered that he smoked pot before dropping to see me. I took a toke and that was enough. I do not like the feeling of my lungs burning (yes, I've tried a bong too, and it's better but still..). The stoners in high school were actually pretty chill. Never really had much to do with them.
The first time I tried pot it didn't live up to the hype. I inhaled, I coughed and then I wanted to take a nap. Like you, pot relaxes me and all I wanna do is chill and sleep. And my head feels like it's encased in cotton and I feel there's a two second delay to everything I do or hear. Or say.
I don't smoke on a regular basis. Last time was during the xmas break. It's fun. And it helps me sleep. I do like edibles, though.
I only smoke with very close friends. I'd never smoke something somebody offers me at a party. It's not 1975! LOL
I've driven next to the Cheech and Chong ride. I'm with you: I have no idea how they drive because I would not be able to. I know highly functional stoners. You could never tell they're high as a kite.
I think it's good cannabis use is being de-mystified. Reefer Madness no more. It was an argument to incarcerate Black and Brown men. Weed and alcohol? Same ballpark. Alcohol is legal cause it brings money. They have discovered weed brings money too. Give them some time.
Medical marijuana is legal in Illinois. Yay. War on Drugs is war on BIPOC. I have a ring that has little cannabis leaves in it. You have to look very close, but once you see them, that's it.
I cackled at that huge bong in the shape of a dick. How awesome is that? Could I also have the naked guy with a beer in his hand and a doobie in his mouth? Kthnxbi.


Jimmy said...

I was in my early twenties when I became aware of pot (keeping in mind I was a band nerd). At parties, I would take ONE puff to be 'cool' and sociable. I haven't smoked a joint since 1984???? and the last thing I smoked was hashish given to me by a friend that I still have today.
Pot makes me very paranoid and is why I don't use it. I feel like other prescribed drugs, there are people who can and cannot tolerate it. I have no judgement for those who use....My all time favorite blog from years ago was written by a guy who was a 'functioning' heroin addict.
Very bright and talented person.

Bob said...

1/ At what age did you realize there was such a thing as marijuana? What were the circumstances?
I don’t recall how old I was but it had to be about ten, maybe. Just hearing it on the news, on TV, around the town, from people,’
2/ In high school, there was always that one crowd referred to as the stoners. Did you interact with them? What did you think of them?
I had some friends who were stoners, but that was their thing not mine. So, I didn’t interact with them as a whole, but I knew some.
3/ Have you ever tried it? Circumstances surrounding your first use? What did you think?
That would be a No, and here’s why. As a young kid, my family visited relatives in Southern California. My mother and Aunt Donette decided to take all the kids to Disneyland for the day and it was a muggy, humid, SoCal morning when we set out. My Aunt Donette drove, with the AC on and the windows up, while she and my mother smoked …cigarettes, of course. That smell of cigarette smoke filled the car and hot me so hard that I never even tried smoking; never had a lit cigarette in my mouth.
Same with pot; the first time I was around it, it smelled acrid and awful and took me back to that carried, and I thought, ‘I won’t smoke something that smells so awful.’
So I never did.
4/ Do you smoke on a regular basis? When was the last time?
Asked and answered.
5/ If you're at a party and someone offers you a toke, what do you do?
Nope. That smell.
6/ What do you think about people who drive past you with a car full of smoke, reeking of weed?
I hope they stay outta my way.
7/ What do you think of the film industry's commonplace/casual take on cannabis use?
I guess they think they are mirroring society, but I wonder about that.
8/ What do you think about the argument that it is no worse or better for society than alcohol?
While they are those who say liquor makes you do crazy things and pot makes you wanna stay home and munch, I wonder about, like you said, the person driving under the influence of pot. Are they being safe, and would they know if they weren’t?
9/ Is it legal in the state you live? If not, and it came up on a ballot would you vote yay or nay? Have you ever done any work to make it legal in your state? Would you move to a state where it was legal?
South Carolina???Oh honey!
10/ Has the war on drugs been a huge waste of time? What do you think about Oregon decriminalizing all drugs?
It’s hard to fight a war on drugs when your government is helping the drug flow into the country.
And I’m not sure about decriminalizing all drugs because, again, I wonder about people being high and driving, flying a plane, operating machinery, caring for children. And before people say that employers have policies against people being drunk on the job, I will remind you that people still do their jobs drunk, so they will still do them high, no matter the company policy,
11/ Do you own a t-shirt, stocking cap or other clothing that sport a marijuana leaf? What do you think of such clothing?
I don’t like clothes with images or sayings on them. I do however, own three such shirts with sayings: one is from Cape Foulweather in Oregon; one is from Wicked: The Musical [I also have many concert T’s from back in the day]: and one says ‘Unfuck the Oceans’ from an environmental group. I bought the first because I like the name, the second as a souvenir, and the third because it was a donation.

anne marie in philly said...

1 - college, early 70s, somebody had a joint to pass.

2 - no one in the late 60s at my high school was a stoner. I avoided everyone cause bullies.

3 - one puff and ICK! booze was my drug of choice in college.

4 - no

5 - politely decline

6 - their choice, man

7 - I don't watch many movies, so...

8 - no worse than alcohol or cigarettes; something's gonna kill us sooner or later

9 - no; the GQP rulers say HELL NO. on a ballot question, I would vote yes, not for myself, but for my fellow citizens.

10 - HELL YES!

11 - no; to each his/her own

SickoRicko said...

After high school I was heavy into pot and a frequent user of acid. For a short period I got into shooting up speed and even cocaine once. I knew then why people would sell their mother for more. Eventually I settled into pot and alcohol for many, many years. But no longer. I'm with Jimmy: it makes me paranoid anymore.

whkattk said...

Well, now...
1. Heard about it in Jr. HS. Solidified with the Hippie - Free Love - Make Love Not War movement. I didn't know anyone who had tried it.
2. Nope. If that crowd even existed in my HS, I didn't even know about it. Sheltered life, I guess.
3. Oh, yes. I did try it. Once I was on my own. In the military of all places, where I could've been jailed and then tossed out. The guys in the barracks handed me a joint. It didn't do anything. I mean, nothing. Never smoked it again, until...
4. A friend told me it would help with my M.D. so he scored me $100 worth. He gave me the pipe and everything. I lit up, and...nothing. Evidently, my body doesn't react to the THC.
5. I decline, or take it and pass it on.
6. Smoking weed and driving is just as bad as drinking and driving. No. Just, no.
7. It's fine by me. I really don't think it's any different than alcohol. The gaming commission won't allow it so an employee could be fired. But drug tests to gain employment have ceased. And they are now looking to place specific areas along the main corridor for smoking pot.
8. See #7.
9. Yes, it is. We were among the first to legalize it. First for medical purposes, then for "recreational" use.
10. I agree with your answer 100%.
11. Nope. But I sure don't have any problem with any of it, if that's what someone chooses to buy and wear.

Mistress Maddie said...

At what age did you realize there was such a thing as marijuana? High school!

In high school, there was always that one crowd referred to as the stoners. Did you interact with them? Where do you think we got it? lol! I think I thought they looked rough and needed a bath.

Have you ever tried it? Circumstances surrounding your first use? What did you think? Of course! I don't recall it doing anything for me except to really calm me down.

Do you smoke on a regular basis? When was the last time? No. The only time I seem to smoke it is when I'm glamping, and my good friends hubby smokes it, so he share it with his cool Aunt Maddie! We sit around the nightly campfire before turning in very late.

If you're at a party and someone offers you a toke, what do you do? Depends my mood and who it is.

What do you think about people who drive past you with a car full of smoke, reeking of weed? Like drink, probably not a good idea.

What do you think of the film industry's commonplace/casual take on cannabis use? I don't mind it. Its just another vice like drinking to me...and they show everybody and their mother having cocktails.

Is it legal in the state you live? No, recreational weed is still not legal in Pennsylvania yet only for health purposes.

The last two- no.

Cannabis is about the only drug I do. I have done coke a few times back in the early NYC days.

Xersex said...

it's not for me! For me there is only sex. I have no other vices. I'm so serious!