Getting acquainted with being high

When I was in college my Freshman year, my roommate and I decided to get really drunk for the first time. Yes, I had led a bit of a sheltered life, and, while I had consumed alcohol once or twice before, I didn’t know much about it.

Not being complete idiots, we decided to do it under safe conditions, in our dorm room, with the bathroom right across the hall, and having friends check up on us. We knew nothing about types of alcohol, and so our choices for the evening were: Boones Farm Apple Wine, Southern Comfort, and Bacardi 151 Rum! We got drunk, we got sick, and learned a couple of lessons.

Many young people have some similar kind of rite of passage when it comes to alcohol, that often seems particularly stupid in retrospect. If I hadn’t been so ignorant of alcohol, I might have avoided that particular experience — who knows?

There’s a similar introduction to getting high that’s involved with marijuana. For my generation, that usually involved getting passed a joint at a party and having absolutely nothing happen the first time, and then gradually getting to appreciate the effects in further experiences.

But now, we have legalization in Colorado, and businesses are promoting edibles. And so, idiots (like Maureen Dowd), are going in and saying the equivalent of “I’ve heard alcohol gives you a nice comfortable buzz – give me a glass of Bacardi 151,” and then are terrified when the experience seems overwhelming.

That, unfortunately, makes marijuana legalization look bad.

Personally, I think first-timers to marijuana should smoke or vaporize – edibles should be reserved for those who already know the effects. With smoking/vaporizing, you get the gradual sense of the marijuana high, while with edibles, it all comes on at once, and if you’ve accidentally consumed too much, then it’s a bad (though never life-threatening) experience.

Though Dowd’s latest column has got a lot of objectionable parts, I agree with Tom Angell:

“One major reason I got involved in the movement was so that consumers could have basic access to information about the products they’re consuming, which was totally impossible under the prohibition that created the black market,” said Tom Angell, the founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority. “So it’s particularly disappointing to see that some companies in the legal marijuana industry — which our years of advocacy allowed to exist — are falling short of those principles. It seems basic labeling and consumer information hasn’t been a chief priority, but hopefully now it’s starting to change.”

He wants budtenders behind the counter to be trained so they can give customized guidance to customers of varying tolerance levels.

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