Roger Bara

When I and Mrs B first started dating, about 1,000,000 years ago, we were very anti-drugs. Both our parents had been pretty strict in their advice, and my father was worried about me becoming involved in the music scene because of the prevalence of drugs in that profession.

How right he was! In the late sixties, and early seventies, it was considered absolutely normal to have a spliff of dope in the dressing room to take the “edge” of any nervousness, and even at home in our young married lives, there was always a small amount of marijuana for use on social occasions where we had friends around. No pressure –  those who wanted a smoke went into the garden, those that chose not to, raided my drinks cabinet instead. I use to think that one spliff was the equivalent of three pints of lager, without the pressing need to empty one’s bladder all night.

So far so good. Not an important part of our lives, but always a little dope around if we fancied it.

Fast forward to our first foreign holiday away from our two boys, in Gambia in the 1990s. One day, a lovely local boy, who took a shine to us, said he would take us on a boat trip, a lovely day across the Gambia River, to the north of the country. It cost us buttons, seriously.

Marijuana Joints & Weed

After a short trip in a vastly overcrowded ferry, we were amazed to be travelling in a Mercedes taxi, which turned off the main road, literally driving through forest and jungle, until we reached a large lagoon with an island in the middle of it. 

Our guide whistled to some guys on the island, and within minutes, there was a bloke rowing a cut-out tree to collect us. After carrying me and Mrs B over the beach, which was covered with tiny crabs, we were deposited in the “boat” and taken to the Captain’s tent in the middle of this island. There, we were regaled with green tea and the best dope we had ever smoked. Afterwards, we were taken on a tour of this paradise island. The only thing they grew was cannabis. Pure, unadulterated cannabis. And here’s the rub. Outside all the shacks sat the men in their rocking chairs, stoned out of their minds. The lovely women were all toiling in the fields, cultivating their precious crop. I decided there and then that if ever I was reincarnated, I wanted to come back as one of those men, on this island.

As we eventually matured, sorry, got old, marijuana became a thing of the past, with only great memories to remind us that we once took a few soft drugs. Sadly, this was all soured fairly recently during our last visit to the U.K.  We were cajoled in joining a few youngsters for a spliff in a garden shed. I’m talking here of a couple of drags, no more. We have never felt so ill in all our lives. I became hallucinatory, and wanted to throw up. We sat on our bed, shaking and feeling we were going to die. I don’t know what they put in dope these days, but it’s a long way removed from what we remembered so fondly.

Never again. We’ve come the full circle. 

Come to sweet Jamaica

Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

The only time I’ve tried a drug, if weed could be considered as one, happened to me in December 2017 in Alaska. By the time I tried it was legalized there. My experience was awful, I had tremor, anxiety and stuff like that. Not a single pleasant feeling at all. Before I’ve eaten this chocolate chip with cannabis, I’d had a bottle of beer. The people who were there told me that my bad experiences could had been connected with mixing booze and weed. I have no idea but I prefer to believe them.  Otherwise, it would be too sad to realize that weed works for me this way. In case I ever decide to try it again. 

But my personal assessment of this situation is that I’m not going to try it anytime soon.

cannabis in jar

As to the global outlook from my point of view, I think let it fly. Weed is now legal in places as far apart as Colorado and the Netherlands. Not even mentioning the Last Frontier state. There’s an ancient tradition of consuming marijuana which should be, if not respected, surely taken into consideration.  

I’ve seen numerous research sources saying that marijuana could work as a good medical, for example, when it comes to restoring and keeping emotional balance. Plus, it enhances creativity. On the other hand, many real-life people have been telling me that smoking too much dope could just destroy your brain cells converting you into some stupid junky till the end of time. 

These contradictory issues however, don’t overshadow the big picture to me: marijuana doesn’t kill people, alcohol does. If the latter is legal, what’s wrong with weed then? 

My take on Marijuana

Photograph of Dean Lewis

I once read that if all Facebook users in the US voted, America would be far to the left of where it is today; I think that’s probably true. From the outside, we look crazy conservative but looks can be deceiving and our government doesn’t represent the majority of people.

Did you know there are only four states in the US where Marijuana is fully illegal? 17 have fully legalized weed and the rest say it’s alright in certain situations. So, we do weed. Bigly.

In lots of places, you can run down to the store, buy some, smash it up and toss it in your chicken. I like to make smoked chicken in my smoker/BBQ and that seems somehow fitting. Smoked chicken, yeah, we’ll smoke anything.

When I was young, I burned down the whole damn forest. I had a little, several days a week. In fact, I became a bit of a snob about it: I’m wasn’t a big fan of rubbish Mexican lawn clippings. 

Marijuana Plant

The thing about weed is that once you decide you don’t want to do it anymore, you just put it down and that’s that. You can’t do that with cigarettes, alcohol, or even coffee. I was in college and one day just decided I needed to grow up and so I stopped. 

I don’t toke anymore, not because I’m against it, I just don’t move in those circles. I was in broadcasting for sixteen years and part of that time was in rock radio. Many in broadcasting at the local level smoke it – at least in the US, behind the camera.

It’s been years without any at all and from what I’ve been told, I wouldn’t like it now anyway. Today, it must be difficult just to get plain ole’ bud. Apparently stupid people put stuff in it so it will have a big kick. I have heard a couple of people say it gave them headaches or even made them sick. Back in the day, the only side effect was a bad case of the munchies.

So maybe making it legal is good. You know you’re not getting something that will make you ill. By the way, it used to be legal… then it wasn’t. Richard Nixon got stupid and made it a Schedule Three drug. That means it was in the same class as Coke, LSD or Acid. Why? Because Nixon knew he could throw thousands of hippies in jail so they couldn’t vote against him. Really… that’s the reason.

So, the US went through a period where people were being thrown in jail for years for having even a tiny amount. The jails were full of people who were not criminals before being put in prison. Just a thimble full would get you years of hard time and destroy your future. 

While the Federal Government says it’s still illegal, they no longer enforce the law at the national level. You get this crazy thing where ALL politicians say they never did it while everybody damn well knows they did. Bill Clinton says he did weed but he didn’t inhale. I think he kinda’ missed the whole point.