Saturday, February 13, 2010

Relapse/Relax (215 III)

I leave the partner on the winter solstice. Quit growing dope, quit the relationship, and move out, all in one day. I stay with friends in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles has a higher number of dispensaries per capita than anywhere else in the state. At present time this means over 500 medical marijuana establishments, more than Los Angeles has of Starbucks and Coffee Bean combined. The City was delinquent in following the 215 guidelines to set zoning regulations for medical marijuana pharmacies – and so they bloomed. Once Obama stopped federal intervention, they became a thriving market force that blocks the Mayor and City Council’s efforts to curb use in various ways. At present it’s only a city block’s walk in any direction to come across a weed shop.

Knowing that this might not last, feeling the pain of a life empty of the lover/partner/friend – and prescription in hand – I go to town. Wandering dazedly from shop to shop, buying a pre-rolled joint or a gram off of their menu of dozens of choices. Rating them, experiencing them, delving into the sativas, indicas, edibles, tinctures and more. I smoke openly on the street – so do enough others that I feel absolutely secure. I watch the sunlight glinting on the waters of the Pacific, I take photos of Los Angeles oddities, I feast on the deli section of Whole Foods, I miss appointments and lie to friends, and I am deeply medicated.

At first it is like meeting a long lost friend. That part of me that the cannabis brings out. She’s a beautiful woman, the Green Diablolita – so opposite and complimentary to her sisters in trinity – Blue Diablolita and Red Diablolita. After enough months off and a good enough relapse – I realize that addiction has robbed me of the best parts of the drug. With habitual use the creativity and sensation enhancement fades – and all I am is mildly dull. I feel it necessary to maintain continued sobriety to accomplish long set-aside goals. This abstinence leaves out that part of me that I am so used to maintaining and managing in the world, and having back the developmental under-the-influence of THC self that I have built over a ten year period is empowering and fun. I know, in the end, that the Middle Way is the only way. However, I can honestly say I’ve yet to find mine. Perhaps all life is a strife for that perfection.

After a while – all I feel is dull. So I quit again. And then relapse. And then quit again. And then, one day: I feel at choice. And I sit down … and write.

There are a range of weed shops. I enjoy the simple ones – and have noticed that often the quality of their product outdoes the flashy places. I walk up to the door. I ring the doorbell. I’m buzzed into a holding area and a security guard behind plexiglas verifies my prescription by phone (or just by my license and patient number, if it’s not my first time). Then I am buzzed in or led in to the main area where there are clerks behind a glass case. What if alcohol were sold like this?

I find myself gravitating towards the places with live plants. There are specials on a board, there is a menu on the wall with a dozen selections each under Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid – and there is a full range of edibles from ice cream and vegan gluten-free cookies to fruit-roll ups to pizza. There are lounges to vaporize, there are lounges to smoke. The prices range. I usually by $15-$25 grams or $10-$12 joints, because I can, because they take credit cards, and because I never want to try the same Kind twice. And OH is it Kind – Cali weed of the finest quality a highly competitive market can produce. Knowledgeable salespeople who can tell you exactly how it was grown, what products, where.

I flashback to a decade ago when there were none of these shops and I had to spend hours getting marijuana at first from a friend of a friend (always missing a bud for each stop down the line) – then from a string of drug dealers that connected me to crime. The sheer legality of it all is wonderful, not having to jump through hoops any more ridiculous than referring to weed as medicine and never talking about sharing in the shops – very freeing. I laugh at the accuracy of the DSM definition of cannabis dependence through the lens of prohibition. In the end – this is what it takes to get me to lose interest in getting high. Take the chase away, and I’m not smitten anymore.

After a few weeks of this I am done. It was worth it, it was great – but I’ve had my share.

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