So this title’s origins come from the obvious colloquialism, along with a term that I had not encountered before. ‘Getting wonky’ came from a Tinder profile biography that was seen shortly before the beginnings of this post’s writing. I instantly knew that it was a euphemism for getting high. It had all the scent of a younger person’s slang; mixing drug use with an odd adjective. Now, the person on this Tinder profile stated “If you are against weed or getting wonky don’t swipe right.” As if online dating apps didn’t have enough problems and factions that put people into distinct categories. The person in question was attractive and would be designated ‘hipster-status’, but other than the pictures and the reference to weed, there was no really biography or self illustration. This isn’t an anti-Tinder post (that will be saved for another day). But it occurred to me that it has now circumnavigated all sense and become a personality trait rather than a vice. Cannabis has become such a powerful force in society that being high is now not frowned on or even rigorously condemned. This is a sad feature of modern society that a recreational drug has transcended its illegality, and become natural and common.

There’s a personal reason for my hatred of weed. Both my parents have smoked weed in their lives and my remaining parent still uses the drug every day. My father tried to keep the vice hidden from me and my sister for years, but we both knew about his addiction. The smell was obvious enough, even if you have the window open all day and night to purge the stench from the carpet. We told him we knew and he wasn’t surprised by our finding out. He still continues to hide the use to this day. The drug is in every part of my life no matter where I turn. When I went to university, one of the first ‘flat chats’ was about who smoked weed and who didn’t. Such was the immortal quality of weed that it infects education and home life. Disgusting as it is, I even decided in a drunken state to try the hideous carcinogen. It was dry, stale, and smelled much stronger than the scent I was forced to smell at home. I don’t know what I was thinking when I smoked it; probably some sort of blind action of trial and error. I decided to never smoke it again, even when drunk. I suppose university is about trying things and finding yourself, but I didn’t enjoy any house party where people were smoking ‘the herb’ outside the property. From what I’m told, the smoking dulls your sense and makes you into a harmless zombie. Control is not a feature of smoking weed.

The drug has sabotaged politics as well. The legalisation of cannabis is now a political issue for many people. It even has its own single-issue political party dedicated to shaping society around its legal nature. The inclusion of it as a political issue must mean that it is important to people and there is a will for it to become legal and promoted. The issue was in the background of liberal manifestos for parties trying to attract a youth vote. The Liberal Democrats have now released their wish for the drug to be legalised and widely available. They have stayed true to their ideology and in their political twilight, have supported a policy that will attract and repel the electorate in different measures. Like the intoxicating scent, it will be welcomed or derided by members of society. Like many liberalisation policies, it has a controversial edge to it.

Soylant green is people

So like every rational argument in policy, the antithesis must be understood in order to create a reasonable thesis in support of maintaining its illegality. Many purport the medical benefits of cannabis and its properties. There is definitely an argument for medicinal cannabis to be prescribed to those who would receive a benefit from the drug. The reduction of nausea and vomiting for those going through chemotherapy, reduction of chronic pain and muscle spasms, as well as increasing appetite to HIV/AIDS sufferers. Those are all positive changes for those with medical problems, for sure. Many claim that more rigorous testing needs to be done using the drug to see a benefit for medical cannabis. However, short and long term effects have been noted from the use of cannabis and cannabinoids. The psychological effects are the most obvious concern. Schizophrenic symptoms, paranoia, and memory and cognition problems are all known effects of prolonged and even short-term use of the drug. Hearing voices and visions as a result of feeling mellow for a little while are probably not worth the effort. Also, giving the drug or derivatives to children is a questionable ethic. It is not fully known, supposedly, the effect of cannabis oil or derivatives on children. I fear that many parent are claiming the medical benefits of the drug not to better their child, but to politicise and even use the drug themselves. Sorry for being the devil’s advocate. But, children are already being prescribed derivatives today it seems, and it is looking like a strong lobby for its medical testing and use are becoming stronger.

The lobby is a strong political force that will continue to grow until medical cannabis is legal and widely used. I would like to be proved wrong on this issue, and for mass positive effects of the drug’s use to be seen throughout the country. If I’m in chronic pain or suffering with a medical problem that could be solved by testing the drug’s properties on me, go for it. This is not one of my stronger political beliefs due to this medical argument.

The worry I feel comes from the psychological effects that have been proven by its use. As a suffering paranoid maniac with a depressive illness, the act of overthinking and fearing others because of your thoughts is a very frightening thing. I’ve never been ‘high’ from any drug. But I’m sure that the ‘low’ that comes after the drug wears off must be horrendous. I can’t speak for everyone, but if that low was to consist of psychotic thoughts and further paranoia, I would not like to experience the high. My psychosis is fairly minimal compared to others, but I would not like to be a sufferer of harsh and destructive thoughts that happen as a result of smoking a doobie. I’m sure many people put strong restrictions on their actions after the use of cannabis to ward off side effects. Addicts of the drug must be used to a situation filled with uncertainty and fear. But if your world revolves around being in control of your mind, then cannabis is probably not your drug — no recreational drug should be your vice.

Rockin’ all over the world, or Status Quo

A major argument I concur with is the fact that the drug is illegal. Using the drug and trading cannabis is an illegal act in society. Now, I’m not a respectful law-abiding citizen to its highest level. I don’t think anyone can be an 100% legal citizen. But if governments of old and the current administration believe in its illegality, then we should follow that rule. I’m not talking about the politicians themselves, not the Members of Parliament who sit on green leather. I’m talking about the lawmakers, the courts and the civil service who serve politicians and polity as a profession. The judiciary and civil service administer and protect law, whereas politicians change and create it. The act of law administration is well-researched and incredibly rigorous. Think tanks are formed. Research councils and academics are contacted. Even public opinion and focus groups are considered. A lot of preparation and research goes into the creation of public policy, especially that which is related to health and society. While civil service does this at the heed and call of politicians, the judiciary read the law and judge actions because of it. Political administration 101. The courts are there to protect the people and convict those who act against the state’s health. While I am a strong believer in the concept of the General Will and even revolution against harmful law, the political consensus is against cannabis. If a revolution were to occur with purpose of legalising cannabis, I doubt it would be a revolution that would last longer than the toke of a strong joint. Plus the argument about conflict creation in favour of cannabis legalisation is not strong. Keeping its use illegal is performing as a protective legislation. However positive the medical benefits can be, or enticing the effect, the law is protecting people from harm — cannabis use is there to protect from harm. I doubt the weed smokers would be stable enough to arm a revolution, seeing as they’re all off their faces.

And I’m gonna be high as a kite by then

It must also be said that the culture surrounding the smoking of weed is surprisingly toxic. I’m sure there are smokers who are ‘normal’, civilised and have the air of dignity. But a majority of weed smokers are young and defending illegality and the breaking of the law. I recently went into the nearby city of Bournemouth with all its touristic charm and student population. I hadn’t been into the city in a long time, and when I walking into a gift shop to look for a bit of touristy tat for a friend, I noticed a whole wall of shelves dedicated to smoking. There were bongs, t-shirts, lighters, weed flavour vaping cylinders, and even weed flavour rolling paper. The sheer amount of novelty bongs was staggering. There was a rainbow of colours and shapes, I really couldn’t believe that the legal selling of this was allowed on a high street. We left the shop and sought out another to find a magnet or some stupid novelty. Sure enough when we entered another gift shop, surrounded by national symbols and paraphernalia, there was a shelf of bongs and marijuana leaf flavoured condoms. I was with my sister and her girlfriend and we debated its legality. We all agreed, including a former weed smoker, that it should not be legal or even promoted by the selling of articles such as the bongs. I’m sure the police turned a blind eye to its selling but secretly questioned the capitalistic tendency to sell the narcotic. Students of the city must be lapping the culture up. I know that a task of weed smoking students is to find a local seller of weed when they arrive on campus. I even asked a student at a house party why he smoked it, he replied with a political rant about how stupid it is to prohibit a popular vice. He compared the use of weed to paedophilia, which is when I started doubting his political intentions. Ironically, he was smoking a joint when I was speaking to him, and he was wearing socks that were suitably adorned with marijuana leaf symbols. He was a right stoner.

I thought after this engaging act of being yelled at by a wonky stoner whether the smoking weed was really all that bad. Does it really affect you that much? Is it mind-altering or changing? It has to affect everyone differently of course. But weed culture is an irradiated scene it seems, turning the users into mindless zombies hellbent on a path of drug legalisation and in my random stoner’s eyes, an equal to legal paedophilia. In student social circles, weed smoking is common to many. Maybe it is smoked a lot by students due to the specialty of students to discover their likes and dislikes before they start life formally. I’m sure many politicans were smoking the herb when they were at universities. Mo Mowlam famously claimed she was a weed smoker in her youth. Mowlam was an incredible ‘voice of the people’ and I’m sure she was speaking with the voices of many politicians behind her. Maybe it should stay at universities and not infect polite society, if that even exists anymore. But it seems weed will continue to grow (ha ha).

Toking the strong stuff

A stupidly basic reason for hating the drug use is its smell. It just reeks. It is such a unique smell that is comparable to cigarette smoke in some cases, but stronger and more infectious than basic tobacco. But you can’t make something illegal or hated because it smells bad; or else we’d be firmly against trading some pungent cheeses. It is, at the end of the day, down to personal taste. Your choice of poison is different for everyone. Some choose alcohol or cigarettes, a huge global business. Others go deeper with weed, more a cottage industry. Some even inject horrible brown liquid into their arms. But as illegal drugs go, cannabis has to be the most common and most revered as a popular drug. It may become medically available and even sold in high street shops and a taxed commodity. I will never understand its use or support an ideology that protects it. It just stinks.

Originally published at thegeneralwill.com on September 15, 2017.

Writer. Regularly irritating. Moans about politics, Brexit, mental health, and culture. All views mine.

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