4:20 4/20 2017

Police and parents demonized Marijuana during my youth. Reefer smokers were condemned by the courts. John Sinclair, the MC5 radical, was sentenced to ten years of prison for the crime of ‘giving’ an undercover agent two joints. The severity of his punishment did not deter the millions of marijuana smokers of the 60s from becoming disciples after the Summer of Love.

I remained straight.

Drugs were for someone else.

I liked beer. It was almost legal, if the police ignored the drinking age. My friends drank beer too, but they were also converts to marijuana. We had met two years ago at the Surf Nantasket, a dance club on the beach. That evening we had just seen the Rockin’ Ramrods, the South Shore’s #1 band. My three friends wanted to smoke marijuana on the way home. I told them no.

“I don’t want to get a contact high.” My drugs of choice was beer, wine, and any other form of alcohol. Marijuana was against the laws of the state. No one in my family had ever gone to jail.

“Pot is better than alcohol and safer than cigarettes.” John was a head. He smoked every day. His grade average at high school was a straight D.

“You smoke both.” The radio in my VW Beetle was tuned to WMEX. The DJ was playing the Zombies SEASON OF THE WITCH. It was a groovy song.

“Girls like smoking weed.” Frank E had been in the Marines for six months. A broken leg had earned him an honorable discharge. He brandished a joint between his fingers. “It makes them horny.”

My girlfriend was straight. Kyla was a cheerleader with a divorced mom. We had come close more than a dozen times that summer.

“Smoke it.” John lit up a reefer. He attended Catholic Memorial. It was my school’s arch rival. “You’ll feel good.”

“Smoke it.” Thommie Gordon played hockey for Archbishop Williams. He had long hair. His sister was cute. “It won’t hurt you.”

I opened the sunroof of the VW. My window too.

“Smoke it.” Frank E sucked on the joint. “Girls like it, especially that hippie girl from Weymouth you like. Susan Finn.”

“She does?” I had spent the entire afternoon trying to get the petite brunette out to the beach. She had a reputation for being ‘easy’. I was frustrated from Kyla’s refusals. She wanted me to wait until after college. Four more years was an eternity for a teenage boy.

“Yes, she does.” A match flared before John’s face. He inhaled off the joint and then passed it to the front. I grabbed the joint from John. I inhaled like a cigarette. I had smoked one of those in 1964. I suspected the same result from the joint. Harsh fumes and coughing.

I was wrong.

I was a long-distance runner. My lungs sucked in a big hit of smoke. I didn’t exhale for 30 seconds. The plume exiting my mouth filled the VW with a cloud. At first I didn’t feel anything. The light turned green. I watched the color. It was so beautiful. I said the same to John. He agreed. Frank did too. The Misunderstood played CHILDREN OF THE SUN. We didn’t move for the entire song. A horn finally broke the trance. We were holding up traffic. I shifted into first and we drove to John’s house in Wollaston to smoke another joint. I was no longer straight. My life was different from before.

My friends laughed hysterically.

I joined them.

I was ruined for society and have remained FTW, especially on 4/20, National Smoke Day.

420 wasn’t the original choice for this holiday, however 4:20 was the mythical time that these pothead from San Rafael High School in California would meet at Louis Pasteur Statue to get high.

Hence 420.

Not much else to say other than I’m going out to break the law.

It’s time to free the weed.

If you got it, smoke it. I will.

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