Monday, January 13, 2014

Nipping a Problem in the Marijuana Bud

Let’s apply time-management techniques and
to control a potentially chaotic situation
The thing I like about blogging, aside from having a great excuse to avoid doing chores around the house, is that I get to dream up bizarre ideas and run them past you, my readers, to make sure I’m not totally crazy.
This past week, for instance, an idea came to me as I listened to news that Colorado and Washington legalized pot use for pleasure, nudging the nation into uncharted territory. Already two dozen states allow medical marijuana, and New York State may not be far behind.  Taken as a whole, these moves could open up the floodgates to millions of new weed smokers. And therein lies the conundrum.
Sure, state legislators are treading carefully. They’re debating how to measure people’s blood levels if caught driving stoned. But they’re missing the larger impact of potentially millions of Americans losing their grip on reality. Which is what could happen when inexperienced users get high for the first time – or existing stoners smoke far more regularly because they no longer have to sneak around.
It’s not hard to imagine America taking a major hit to productivity and the efficient functioning of society. It’s not hard to imagine stoned CPAs messing up on tax returns. A truck driver delivering sausage to a shoe factory. A plumber forgetting to install the flush mechanism in toilets. A resort operator with the munchies deciding to build a Dunkin Donuts in the middle of the advanced slope at Vail Ski Resort. Insanely smiling cops telling New York City drivers to stop on green and go on red, traffic backed up for miles. Stoned spouses too spacey to have sex.
And that’s where my idea comes in – a corporate-style solution with potentially broad appeal that applies high-level organizational standards to a chaotic situation.
Here’s what I propose: a pot-smoking group that uses time management techniques, role playing and sweat lodge retreats to help stoners live more fulfilled, productive lives through weed. (Devoted readers may recognize this as the plot of a future novel of mine; click here).
A bit extreme, you say? Well, bear with me. Unlike alcohol, which drink by drink makes you louder and less coordinated and less careful, just a few hits of pot can distort our spatial perceptions and wreck our short-term memory (so I’ve read in several scientific journals).
Granted, the examples of potential problems I offer are extreme. But now’s the time to act before they get even worse. Shouldn’t we nip the problem in the marijuana bud, so to speak, before stoned bureaucrats at the Social Security Administration mail out disability checks to several million deceased Americans? Before NASA sends the next multi-billion dollar Mars Rover to Venus by accident, where it abruptly disintegrates upon entering the boiling hot atmosphere?
Before a wasted president of the United States, God forbid, mistakenly presses the button instead of the letter “T” on his keyboard?
As its first major activity my group – tentatively titled, Pot Smokers Unanimous — would dispatch a nationwide network of marijuana coaches to help stoners create pot-smoking schedules, built around times during the day when they must function normally, and other times they can “check out.”
The schedules would be enforceable. Errant pot smokers who go “off schedule” would lose their weed privileges. Those who adhere would be rewarded with more flex time.
PSU would offer group therapy meetings for members to practice memory exercises and visualization techniques to teach them how to act normal while wasted. How to keep a coherent conversation and tell a joke without forgetting the punchline. How to give a lecture, say, before a Computer Programming Conference on how the forces of genericity and indexing balance each other, simultaneously promoting and controlling generality in programming. Without cracking up in the middle.
During PSU therapy sessions, joints would get passed around, clouds of smoke drifting across the room, as mentors test participants’ ability to counter-argue and keep track of talking points, all while incinerating lungfuls of weed
It’s a tricky situation, for sure. Intrinsic in the THC experience is chaos — the opposite of order. We all seek the mindful blur but are hard-pressed to see past it.
But my corporate-style approach, I believe, could have broad bi-partisan appeal – especially with Tea Party conservatives pissed over the electoral swing toward a drug they publicly despise. They’re in a bind over not wanting to take sides with liberals, but clearly wouldn’t want to miss out on millions of stoned voters.
By uniting in a coherent fashion behind this contentious issue, let’s find a solution before it’s too late. The time to act is now.
What do you think? Am I totally crazy? I’m eager to hear your comments.
David Kalish is the author of the comedic novel, The Opposite of Everythingwhich will  be published in March.

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