While the distance between consent and approval is fleeting, there is a proportion of opinion that is not objectified. A grey area, lacking the frigid disapproval that often accompanies that conceited heir of those opposed to marijuana use. However, full support is also absent. There are those who stand on the blurred lines in the sand.
Perhaps we harbor resentment for the havoc it has wreaked in our lives. Perhaps we are opinionated and opposed, yet trying to make peace with a consenting nation. This is where I reside. I oppose recreational marijuana use and its legalization, but I fully acknowledge its medical necessity.
Like many, I dabbled as a young adult and enjoyed myself. I have been on both sides of the fence, and formulated an opinion based on personal experience. I have seen it reach up from the depths and snatch people off the path of decency. I have heeded the strength of its grip and felt its dominance over decent principals. It eats away at character and integrity as it exerts its sovereign influence over people’s lives. Perhaps it doesn’t claim all who call on it, but there are many victims. No, I’m not crazy, and I’m not extreme, but I am brutally honest in a way that many aren’t. Speaking my truth without fear, I say the things that people often think but would never admit. I say it out loud.
As a young, independent female, I married my high school sweetheart before I could vote. We both smoked recreational and enjoyed the proverbial party life as married teenagers. We were high school dropouts with no direction. Like many before us, we brought a new life into the world, and two more soon followed.
Any woman wants to be a good mom; I quit smoking when I became pregnant. Although, my husband continued to smoke, and it didn’t bother me at first. After my first daughter was born, I did smoke from time to time, but it wasn’t important to me anymore. My priorities began to change, and I smoked less and less. At the time, we lived in a single-wide trailer where we could reach all the way down through the kitchen floor and grab dirt from under the house. Becoming a mom made me want to work harder for a better life, but it didn’t seem to affect my husband the same way: he didn’t see the need to change anything at all. As long as he had some marijuana to smoke, he was perfectly content.
We did love each other, and we gave it a scholars try for more than a decade. The marijuana exerted its dominance from the very beginning. At first, my husband had a lack of responsibility attributed to his young age. When he wasn’t working, he was out chasing the ominous green buzz. He would get a little for others—here and there—to keep his supply full. It was his coffee, his lunch break, and his night cap. By the time our second child came along, I had quit smoking altogether, and we were beginning to grow apart. He was always out chasing a buzz. Even on the rare occasions when he joined us for church, he had to bring his pot with him. It bothered me because I had quit; I wanted to keep that part of him away from the kids. I wanted them to look up to their dad.
Cannabis wasn’t my thing (anymore) and I didn’t care for the way it made me feel as I got older. One time, my young son found my husbands’ stash and asked me what it was. I tried to flush it down the toilet and things got physical. My husband grabbed me by the throat and began to enlighten me on how important the pot was to him. That was the beginning of the end for me, and it was the first time I was deliberately scared of my husband.
As he matured, he had no desire to be a better man. He had a desire to get stoned. He wanted to get as high as he could, as often as he could. That was all. He didn’t value being a husband or a father. He blew off birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events. Towards the end, I would sometimes smoke in an effort to connect with him. It seemed like it was the only way to get his attention. Eventually, I decided it wasn’t worth it.
Throughout our marriage, I usually worked two full-time jobs. I left the children with sitters; their father was too stoned to attend to them. I knew that something had to change. After our third child was born, I decided to go to college. I knew it would be the only way I could support three children the way they deserved, and I couldn’t count on their father. That was the biggest fight we ever had. My ex-husband didn’t see anything wrong with our life, and he thought it was selfish for me to quit one of my jobs and go to college. It took 12 years for me to see that his thinking was skewed. Perhaps he was permanently stoned.
To this day, he settles. He lives paycheck-to-paycheck. He is perfectly content to spend his days getting stoned, settling for whatever he has at the moment. That was not our dream. Our plans never included the green-eyed monster. It cost him everything, including his family.
He’s 50 years old, and couldn’t hold a regular job if he wanted to. He makes money dealing his beloved substance while supporting his new family with food stamps and Medicaid. He has no desire to be a contributing member of society, to make the world a better place, or to leave his children anything. Years of daily, heavy marijuana use have eaten away at his moral fibers and consumed the best parts of his character.
It took my family, and it took a father away from the children who desperately needed him; I despise what happened. It took a promising young adult and turned him into someone who couldn’t be trusted or relied upon. It turned him into a shriveled-up shell of a man who can’t fathom valuing anything besides himself. It took a thoughtful, decent young man and turned him into a waste of space who has no idea what it means to love somebody. It stole all the dreams we once had, and it took my son, too. It put him on a treacherous path, awakening a mother’s buried fury.
Always heard that marijuana isn’t addictive, and there was a time when I thought my first husband was just a little off. Maybe he was the exception? However, it wasn’t long before I was proven wrong and daily marijuana use claimed a second victim.
Marrying a new husband, we raised my oldest son, who has a very-high intelligence quotient (IQ). He was one of those kids who didn’t really have to try very hard in school. Turning 16, he graduated high school two years early with honors. He had always talked about entering the military when he came of age, and had begun to make plans. He had been offered a scholarship to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He was so excited.
After he graduated, he went to visit his father, who sat him down and told him it was time that he become a man. They got stoned together and laughed the whole night through. I really hoped that my son wouldn’t become a pothead. I held my breath waiting for him to go to Colorado. Although it seemed harmless enough at the time, it wasn’t long before my son was in the same state as his father. He turned down his scholarship to the Air Force Academy, and blew his college savings on pot. It took him about three years to smoke up $100,000, and I have a hard time not blaming his father; my son is following in his footsteps.
He drives an old, beat up pick-up truck and shacks up with friends—he doesn’t have to pay rent. My son typically works in restaurants to avoid being drug tested. He’s 22 years old now, and periodically calls for money. Of course, he still gets his pot from his dad. I love my son dearly, but he is just like his father. I hope his daddy is proud.
My new husband and I still have a good relationship with my son. We still pray that he changes things before he wakes up and becomes 30. My son has been on a computer since he could walk; he’s a software genius. I’ve never met anyone who knows more about phones or computers. If he would only apply himself, he’d never have to struggle. If my son would straighten up, he could write his own paycheck in the IT industry, but he’d rather get stoned. Luckily, my husband is as patient as he is kind and generous. He’s always willing to help someone else, and is constantly trying to improve. My husband is a great provider, and a better father. His work ethic is unparalleled, and he is a good Christian man. He also loves to smoke pot.
Knowing exactly how I feel about recreational marijuana use, my husband doesn’t agree. As much as I love and respect my husband, I am also well aware that I am not his mother. Somehow, we have found some middle ground. We are brutally honest with each other to a fault. We are mature enough to respect each other’s differences. We do not try to change each other, but we meet somewhere in the middle, and we always put family first.
Smoking pot two days out of the month, my husband loves to indulge. He does it away from the house, on his own time. He values his job in the tax assessor’s office, and he values his family more. It is his way of letting loose and acknowledging his individuality as a man. I never find traces of his monthly party, and I never have to answer the question, “Mommy, what’s this?”
We have a beautiful 10-year-old daughter, who couldn’t be better adjusted. Her daddy has never missed a birthday, a school play, or an afternoon to spend time with his precious daughter. There is no doubt that he would give up his recreational activities at the drop of a hat if it were necessary for any reason. I have seen him abstain for months at a time when I needed him to step up and do my part, too. He has set his personal pleasures aside to help me get through surgeries, host princess parties, and ensure he was awarded the promotion he was rightfully due.
My current partner is not living a lie. I believe that he is being true to himself; I respect him. I consent to the behavior of my husband and his approach to being a man. He is not raising an addict. If others take the same approach, I may not oppose recreational marijuana use. Until then, I can only consent under certain circumstances. I consent from those blurred lines in the sand, but I do not approve.