Joint Etiquette Beyond “Don’t You Bogart That Joint My Friend . . .”

medical marijuanaJoint Etiquette Beyond “Don’t You Bogart That Joint My Friend . . .” (And for Maximum Enjoyment)

“Don’t you Bogart that joint my friend – pass it over to me . . .” went the song governing ‘party’ etiquette in the 1960’s and 70’s. Now that we’ve evolved to where medicinal and social needs get fuzzy sometimes, the etiquette calls for update and refinement:

RULE #1: If you are passed you a joint at a party or my house, Don’t suck on it three or four times as hard as you can and incinerate the damn thing!

Honestly. That’s become Rule #1 by default to my repeated exasperation. After you take hit, allow it to cool for a moment, and for YOU to breathe. Then take another one. It is considered rude to take tow or three large hits in quick succession, and then cough your lungs out. This also makes the flame larger and larger and the joint smaller and smaller. Like with all natural resources, it’s about good stewardship. People who incinerate joints at parties are in the same Circles of Hades as Argentinean farmers who destroy rain forests, though the global consequences are less severe.

Rule #2 – For optimal enjoyment, resource conservation and effectiveness; take in a decent mouthful, and either inhale or hold it in your mouth a while before puffing it out.

Don’t inhale as hard as you can and fill up your lungs as full as you can on your first hit. Your WILL cough, and maybe hurt your throat. So, start out with a measured amount, and then take a 2nd hit a little fuller before passing it along. Keep in mind you’ll get it back provided someone else doesn’t incinerate it. AND it might be stronger than you’re used to. When sampling any new medications, be careful in assessing the effectiveness before biting off too much. Strong sativa buds, can set off a paranoid reaction and even hyperventilation if bad nutrition is also involved.

Rule #3 – Don’t slobber all over it.

Also don’t leave a heavy lipstick print on it, unless you also intend to plant one on my cheek. A kiss tattoo on the cheek is cool. I went through airport security with one once. That’s about it for the rules.

Let’s face it. Joints aren’t the most efficient delivery system for medicinal herbs. I’m always being lectured about that. But for being on the go, it’s the best way to go, so to speak. If you don’t happen to have your credentials, it’s a lot easier to dispense with a joint than a pipe or other paraphernalia. A dirty pipe gets you in just as much trouble in most jurisdictions where it is illegal.

If I ever ran for public office I would have to admit it. – I’ve inhaled. But I’ve also exhaled and that’s important. I have had a medical marijuana prescription in California since 2004. And I have no objection to people using it recreationally as I began doing in 1972.

The issues for my medicinal needs are personal and will be discussed in another publication. The summary is that when used responsibility, and with good nutrition and health habits, marijuana can play a role in maintaining optimal health for some people.

scott prostermannThe benefits for patients dealing with AIDS, wasting syndrome, chemotherapy and other serious conditions are commonly accepted. But it can also play a role in maintaining optimal health for some people, in a variety of ways. I’ll offer more on that another day, as well as a discussion on the varying benefits of indicia and sativa strains.

It occurs to me that this marks 40 years of my usage. The first year I didn’t really “get off”, but partook socially. The stuff going around high schools in Memphis in 1972 wasn’t that great. But in January of 1973 I was on a college scouting visit at Washington & Lee University, and spent the weekend at a fraternity house.

On my last night there, we had a group passing a pipe while sitting around reading or studying. I took several turns when it came around and the taste seemed more pleasant than what I’d had before. Suddenly while I was reading Kurt Vonnegut’s, Welcome to the Monkey House, a big “Whooooooooosh!” came over me and the thought of, “Oh . . . . so THIS . . . is what . . . it’s all about.” As it turns out, there’s been a valid medicinal need all along.

scott prostermanMedical marijuana is available to people in 12 states and counting. Colorado recently placed a legalization effort on the ballot, but my money is on Arkansas to be the first state to legalize.

Why not California? Because this state is rife with reactionary forces, and the focus of the Justice Department’s get tough policy. Hopefully Obama will “lighten up” in his second term and “lite up” again. In Arkansas , I understand most of the members of both state houses and the governor’s office on board. The race is on.

H. Scott Prosterman

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