East Meets West- The Dope Show

Like many kids, I found weed in university. (C’mon, I went to school for theatre; like I wasn’t going to be drinking my face off and smoking weed.) I vividly remember one time that things were not agreeing with me, laying flat out on the carpet (thinking I was the carpet that was blinking) with the inner monologue “Well, this is it, this is how I die. My parents are going to be so disappointed that they have to pick me up from the emergency room because of drugs.”

Fortunately, this wasn’t the norm and smoking weed evolved into some giggles and mild paranoia. Though not habitual, as beer and gin was my first love due to their extroverted natures versus marijuana’s introverted inducing tendency of the time.

When I lived in TO and then Newfoundland, plenty of people were smoking weed, but unlike the overt West Coast laid back attitude/stereotype of stoners , the procurement and enjoyment of weed was still a lot more hush-hush. Lest we forget, marijuana hasn’t even been legalized for a year in Canada. I’ve journeyed for over an hour on the subway to basements of the friend of a friend’s to pick it up. I’ve waited in a Tim Horton’s parking lot a week after moving to St John’s to meet a friend of a friend for a lil dime bag of “candy” as we called it. It’s just what you did. Scoring weed was always a pain in the ass but the favorable option over not having weed.

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Fast forward. My first 4:20 in Vancouver was a magical sensory overload. Coming from my experiences in Toronto and Newfoundland, getting high involved secrecy and privacy and back alleys. So, this was a moment to behold and revel in. Downtown parts of streets were closed and vendors galore were selling cannabis in a variety of ways. It was crowed and colourful, with people of all ages and walks of life excited to celebrate in their self-made clouds and sunshine. The edible kicked in and my friend and I giggled our way through the crowd, making our way to a Lush store, where, with giant pupils really enjoyed the melange of colours and smells and glitter and a complimentary hand massage.

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This year’s 4:20 happened to fall on Easter weekend, and what better way to celebrate than with your best babes, blunts and drag queens? Celebrate was the key word. I found myself down in the industrial part of town, a warehouse converted into a club. Glitter beaded curtains and faux plants and lots of purple and green lights and some banging tunes. (Shout out to the DJ for spinning the “Touch It” by Monifah.)

Clubs aren’t usually my jam, I don’t care for the culture, the facade, the booze. Put me in a pile of stoners, I dig it. People are considerably mellower and I’ve found, kinder; the dutchie is always passed on the left hand side, people aren’t left out. It’s good.

In the past, getting high was a way to check out, of my responsibility, nagging thoughts, even relationships, now, its’ quite the opposite. I could never handle the stimuli of the club even a few years ago, simply put, it’s because I couldn’t handle myself. I was afraid of being seen. Verses now, I ain’t hiding anymore.

I don’t profess to be someone who’s had extensive drug experience. A big component as to why has been trust; I haven’t trusted myself enough to engage in experimentation nor, in the past have I felt like I had the right people to support me should a trip go south, and I don’t mean to Mexico.  

I’m not casual about my drug use. This doesn’t mean that I don’t partake in toking and Tetris with pals on a Tuesday night, because I certainly do. I’m not casual in the sense that I’m frivolous in imbibing. Intention is really at the forefront of my mind these days, the why, and even when I’m smoking weed solo, I take a moment to be mindful and examine what I hope to get out of the high. Am I smoking to ease pain? Or is it to ease my mind and check out of reality? Delve into mediation in a different manner? It’s not like I have to speak Latin and walk counter clock wise before I spark, but the ritual, tradition, habit (which happens to be the name of a great album by Vancouver’s Belle Game btdubs), these factors are important to me in all facets of life, why would I omit this practice when I’m about to enter an altered state? Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to alter my state…