Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | May 25, 2017

Empty Nest: Marijuana

By Curt Swarm

Last month I wrote an article on marijuana use.  I cited information from the American Institute of Drug Abuse and a nationwide coalition of high school students.  To summarize the report: Marijuana is a highly addictive substance and the most common illegal drug involved in auto fatalities.  It can have negative effects on attention, memory, and learning.  It is linked to depression and anxiety, and can lower an individual’s IQ.  
I received a barrage of feedback, both positive and negative, by phone, text, and e-mail.  The negative feedback was, of course, belligerent and threatening.  I got the distinct impression that the negative feedback was coming from actual marijuana users who may have been high at the time.
While this was going on, I made a whirlwind trip to Colorado to visit a sick friend.  Along the way, I picked up the sick friend’s brother here in Iowa, and took him along.  
Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado.  The brother, who rode along with me, has a number of health issues involving pain.  So, he was looking forward to the trip to Colorado for more than one reason.
The first thing the brother wanted to do upon arrival in Colorado was find a “head shop.”  I was curious, and tagged along for the experience.  I was amazed by the whole scene.  Non-Colorado residents are allowed to purchase a small quantity of marijuana.  The head shops have “marijuana advisers” to assist in the purchase and make recommendations.  Just the aroma in the head shop alone was enough to knock me out.  
After the visit to the head shop, the brother decided he needed a new pipe.  We went to a paraphernalia shop.  I stayed in the car.  While in the car waiting, my mind raced.  “Aw, go ahead and have some weed.  What’s it gonna hurt?  No one will know.  It’s legal here.  Yeah but, you know the craving will start, and when we get back to Iowa where it’s not legal, you’ll turn to alcohol for the high.  You wanna blow 25 years of sobriety?”  I reached in my pocket and pulled out my sobriety medallion.  The first thing I saw was “To Thine Own Self Be True.”  Ah, I had my answer.
We visited my sick friend.  He has a roommate who is on disability and has a medical prescription for marijuana.  The roommate smokes pot all day long.  That’s all he does.  He doesn’t work, he doesn’t do anything except zone out in front of the TV and smoke pot.  The brother and this roommate got along real well.
It was time for me to come back to Iowa.  I had spent the time I needed with my sick friend.  The brother decided to stay.  Shock shock.  He would take a bus back.  I drove home alone.
The next week I called the brother to see if he had made it home.  It was the middle of the day.  The phone rang and rang.  Finally, a groggy voice answered.  It was the brother.  He seemed confused as to why I was calling.  Yes, he was still in Colorado.  No, he didn’t know when he was coming home.
That was six weeks ago.  The brother is still there.  In weed heaven.  His wife and family back in Iowa are fit to be tied.
I rest my case.
For people with differing opinions, please organize your thoughts and submit them to the newspaper.  In America, we have something called the free press.                       


Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.  Curt also reads his columns at www.lostlakeradio.com.