Michael Antonoff (`73 graduate of Syracuse University) writes about technological know-how from New York.
When I turned in my reporter’s notebook at a suburban newspaper approximately 50 %-a-century in the past, colleagues gave me an ounce of cannabis, a parting present they realized I’d enjoy, even share. Quite a few of us had smoked pot in higher education and we ongoing employing the drug very well into adulthood to loosen up following do the job.
Acquisition of pot wasn’t complicated. We had our possess program of immediate delivery. One particular reporter bought wholesale. He walked all over the newsroom and handed plain manila envelopes to like-minded staffers. If we weren’t at our desks, he’d only leave the envelope on our typewriters. Possession was illegal, but we have been the privileged course. We did not see the hypocrisy of harvesting names of “drug felons” from crime blotters so we could produce tales that sold papers.
Nor did my editors have a difficulty plastering a photo of a cannabis leaf on the front web site. A single headline read through “How Cannabis Is Cultivated: Pot Relocating from Swamps to Gardens.” It seemed no significant deal to my colleagues, but it garnered a storm of reaction from parents who protested that their hometown newspaper could no extended be reliable as family members helpful.
Those of us who appeared favorably on the herb envisioned cannabis to turn into authorized inside of a decade. Headshops were already spreading from Bohemian enclaves to suburban malls. These stores’ glass display screen circumstances stuffed with hand-sculptured bongs and jewelry-like roach clips gave new this means to the phrase counterculture.
Thanks to the tradition wars, politicians designed headlines battling drug paraphernalia sellers. Moms marched, police confiscated items, store entrepreneurs were being arrested. The anti-paraphernalia movement grew to become so pervasive that Congressional hearings were being held, and a type of McCarthyism prevailed in which you could be fined for the pot but jailed for the pipe. If you have been a 7-Eleven providing cigarette paper, you had been guilty by affiliation.
“Paraphernalia Digest”, a glossy magazine that I edited for headshop house owners (nevertheless read by several attorneys and narcs) thrived in the late seventies but experienced grow to be a pariah by 1980. Soon after all, the marketing glamorized bongs to make cash, but the posts cautioned that offering them could set you in jail. The journal itself would be flaunted in court as evidence of the retailer’s intent to market “drug” paraphernalia.
The marijuana reform movement did not have an understanding of that paraphernalia marketing and advertising romanticized the cannabis life-style. With pot people who smoke turning into at any time young, this inconvenient demographic was made use of as a powerful weapon to clobber the movement’s momentum. Marijuana legalization was established again many years.
It wasn’t right up until this century that adult cannabis people have found their rights place forward of adolescent abusers in states like Colorado, California and Massachusetts. Nonetheless, although healthcare cannabis is authorized in lots of states and the featuring of edibles these types of as gummies and tinctures have offered people with a much healthier, non-intrusive alternate to smoking cigarettes and vaping, the stigma remained—at least in New York.
I have experienced two operate-ins with law enforcement. Prolonged in the past, whilst crossing from Canada into the United States, I was pulled around by U.S. Border Patrol brokers so they could look for my car or truck for medications. Youthful and bearded, I suit a profile. They didn’t discover anything at all, but I wrote about the incident for my university paper.
Two many years later on, I was driving together California’s Route 101 when a patrolman noticed me gentle up and pulled me over. I realized this officer could derail my vocation since I experienced just recognized a senior enhancing position at a magazine in New York soon after passing a demanded drug examination. I’d presently quit my work on the West Coastline.
The officer reported, “Show it to me.” I was not going to lie. I pulled out the roach, now wrapped in aluminum foil, from the ashtray and handed it about. He sniffed it and deposited the continues to be on the ground. I obtained off with a warning.
Manhattan’s once-a-year pot parade is coming up on the initially Saturday in Might, and numerous of us will chant (as often), “We smoke pot, and we like it a great deal!” This time, even though, with New York State at last legalizing leisure, adult marijuana possession, marchers will not be protesting. They’ll be dancing in the streets.