The One Where Derek Writes a Post about Marijuana

On this episode of Friends, Derek decides he’d like to tackle the extremely complex topic of marijuana. He, however, cannot decide how to discuss marijuana. Should he talk about the health issues associated with marijuana, about the possibility of legalization and the outcome of such legalization, or about the cult-following atmosphere that surrounds this little weed. That’s all it is, after all. A plant, yet it causes so much controversy in the news. Rather than just read a lot of articles and then form a half-guessed opinion, I’d like to look at the benefits and risks of smoking marijuana legally and illegally from several different standpoints.

1.) High School Teacher

I admit, I smoked a couple of doobies back in the day, but hey, that was the early 70s. Everyone was doing it then. These days, kids aren’t even trying to stick it to the man. They’re only smoking this stuff because they think it’s cool. So, as a teacher, I do think that marijuana can affect a child’s education. While some may argue it does not actually affect the brain’s long-term health, I would counter-argue that by smoking marijuana, kids waste hours of time that could be instead filtered toward some other, more productive activity. Like studying.

But not just studying. If a kid smokes for the sake of creating a social setting, perhaps he could instead undertake a sport or join a band. These sorts of things create a stronger character and healthier lifestyle while also providing a social circle that does not involve smoking pot.

While I don’t directly oppose the recreational use of it and teach the health-related uses in my biology class,  I do have a high consternation for those students who choose to come to school high. One cannot learn if he is so mind-addled, and therefore, he cannot come to a school for his own benefit. This is utterly ridiculous. Not only is it bad for a teen’s education, but the stoners usually disrupt the class with their antics. I don’t care about it, but I don’t want it at schools.

2.) high school stoner

I want to prelude this argument by stating that there is nothing really wrong with weed, and yes, I know the word “prelude,” man. But that’s not the point. I want to talk about legalization. Now your normal liberal American talks and blabs about how marijuana should legalized because it could help cancer patients or whatever. But if we make weed legal, we’re putting the herbs into the hands of the MAN. You see, if we make weed legal, then pot won’t be grown by the creepy guy up the road, carefully and beautifully. It will be mass-produced as a cash crop by the GOVERNMENT, man. And this wonderful plant will be filled with pesticides and such until it will some highly taxed lesser-quality crap sold with Frappes at Starbucks.

Also, if sick and old people use it, it will become totally UNCOOL.

3.) Pharmaceutical Representative

The funny thing about marijuana in the drug industry is that it could actually be a very healthy alternative to most painkillers. Think of the codeine-based medicines you know, and now here are their side-effects:

  • shallow breathing, slow heartbeat;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • cold, clammy skin;
  • confusion;
  • severe weakness or dizziness; or
  • feeling light-headed, fainting.

Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • nausea, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite;
  • dizziness, headache, tired feeling;
  • dry mouth;
  • sweating; or
  • itching
Now, no doubt, these are some truly bad side effects. One left off, obviously, is death from an overdose, which is very possible. Most people underestimate how much drugs prescribed by the doctor actually affect your long-term health. So, why do doctors not prescribe marijuana? Because it would probably destroy the painkiller industry. All those pills they make you take would be replaced by a single smokable herb.
So now, compare the side effects above to those a person experiences while smoking marijuana:
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Sleepiness
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Altered time perception
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Tremor
  • Decreased coordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Altered pulmonary status
  • Altered body temperature
  • Reduced muscle strength
  • Decreased cerebral blood flow
  • Increased food consumption
Sometimes, also, but in very few cases:
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Aggressiveness
  • Hallucinations
  • Sedation
  • Altered libido
  • Depersonalization
  • Derealization
  • Poor sense of time
  • Worsened short-term memory
  • Addictive behaviors
  • Amotivational syndrome
I don’t know about you but increased appetite definitely seems better than vomiting and fevers.
4.) Pot Dealer
You realize I have a family, right? So, if you arrest me just for doing my job, I’ll be in jail and my kids will be starving. I’m making an honest enough living. I really am a great sales person, but could never scoop enough money together to get a degree. And this world, everyone needs a degree.
Anyways, what if pot is legalized and suddenly, me, the best pusher of pot around– he’s out of a job to some millionaire doctor. Not to mention how much more unhealthy it will be after the government gets its dirty hands on the herb.

5.) View from a suburban American

Look, anything against the law should not be done. I don’t care how much you argue about how it might be healthy or enlightening or whatever… Until they make it legal, take your hippie arguments elsewhere.

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About Derek Berry

Derek Berry is a novelist and spoken word poet. Derek is the author of Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). He co-founded and organizes The Unspoken Word, a literary non-profit based out of Charleston, SC, which provides an intendent home for the poetic arts through regular readings, workshops, and community fundraisers. He is on the Executive Board of the Charleston Poetry Festival, the inaugural production of which will be Fall 2017. His work has appeared in The Southern Tablet, Cattywampus, Charleston Currents, Illuminations, RiverSedge, and other journals.He has performed in venues across the United States and Germany. He has worked as a photographer’s assistant, busboy, and bookseller. He currently works at a curation facility for Cold War History.

Posted on December 9, 2011, in Controversy, Random, Word Salad, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Interesting to look at it from all sides. I never thought about how government control could mess it up. I hate the smell, so even in the seventies, I wasn’t into it. Though it isn’t my thing, I don’t understand why it’s illegal. I know a couple of people who have had cancer, and they said it was the only thing that helped.

  2. Never smoked anything (not even smoked bacon), so I can’t speak to any effect (side or otherwise). I, like Diana, don’t understand why alcohol is legal and pot is not. I loved your take on the pot-users’ argument that making pot legal will put it government hands and ruin the whole experience. That was funny!

    • Yeah, I just did some research into what people were saying about it. My opinion is sort of seed-spread throughout each of the opinions. I’m a teenager, so I can afford to change my opinion based on mood and instance.

  3. You really will write about anything, won’t you?
    Interesting take.
    I saw that photograph, and thought, “Oh, no, he is NOT….” but of course, you did!

    • Yes, I really wanted to write about it at some point, but kept trying to figure out how to do so without coming off as a pothead. I think I subjectively managed objectivity through over-the-top caricature and maybe I made some sort of point.

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