Profile of a Pothead…

4f20e8f3c6eb990bcd9e1e1893b90068As I stand in line at Wal-Mart, staring blankly at the conveyer belt move my kids juice boxes closer to the cashier, the woman in front of me makes a declarative statement.

“Wow…you’d think he’d have enough sense to spray some axe…” She growls with a disgusted look towards the African-American gentleman behind me. She continues “…he just reeks of marijuana…have enough sense to hide it, this isn’t Colorado”. She huffs and turns away. I smile politely, but on the inside I’m sweating bullets. Luckily, the gentleman hasn’t noticed this woman’s rudeness. Especially since that smell isn’t him, it’s me.

That’s right, it’s not the urban man…it’s the suburban Mom. I stood there in my khakis and polo pondering the moment, exempt from judgement because of the color of my skin and preppy appearance. Prejudice is alive and well. Yes, it worked in my favor, but not really.

The perception is that it’s the minorities, it’s the poor, it’s the uneducated. But it’s not. Studies show that while whites and blacks smoke weed almost equally, African-American smokers are 3.5-5 times more likely to be arrested for procession. So one of two things is happening, either cops see pot on a white person and don’t prosecute them…or… more than likely, they search African-American folks far more, and when the pot turns up, arrest them. I think the average police officer doesn’t think, I won’t search whitie, but they do look at the fella with dark skin and profile him as part of a high risk crime group, which then perpetuates the false perception. Which is wrong. So wrong. It’s not just the police, it’s this snooty woman in line in front of me in Wal-Mart too.

I started smoking weed in college. I had tried it before that, but until college, not consistently. I was always described as a hot head, too much hubris and never knowing when to keep my mouth shut or let an argument go. When I started dating my husband, that changed. He smoked weed. A lot. We started to smoke more and more often and I noticed I started to chill out. No more drama, I was calm and for the first time in my life, I could live in the moment. I had been taken to psychiatric counseling as a teen and diagnosed with everything from manic depression to attachment disorders. No medication ever curbed my crazy. Except pot.

In the fifteen years my husband and I had responsibly smoked, eaten and in all ways enjoyed marijuana, I had calmed down and figured out, peace was more important than the battles I would create. At 19, I had moved out and sworn I’d never be back. At 34, I was holding down a job, raising three kids and have a solid and constructive relationship with my parents. Some may say I just grew up, but without the calming that came with smoking, I would have alienated myself into a lonely corner.

It had been a long week at school, lots of activities and obligations, typical. My husband and I had put our three children to bed and sat on our back porch to smoke a joint. We went to make lunches and discovered the missing drinks. I volunteered to run to Wal-Mart because I secretly wanted to stare at cosmetics without my kids bugging me to leave. I had completely forgotten to brush my teeth and put on a little perfume. And because I didn’t look like a pot head, had subjected some poor man to prejudice.

So let’s change that. I’m white, blonde and quite Mom looking. I always have snacks, baby wipes and bandaid’s in my gargantuan bag. I’ve been a room mom, a coach and a PTO Volunteer. And yes I’m a pothead as well. All at the same time…high functioning pot head if you will.

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About Emmy Lou Warren

I am a strong supporter of the legalization and regulation of marijuana. I live in a small quiet Midwestern town... I have kids, dogs and a mortgage...honestly, I'm kinda boring. I am the face of the unlikely supporter. White, preppy and privileged. I believe the hand I was dealt requires I fight for those less lucky.
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