We have a show on KMUD called “Cannabis Consciousness.” Kerry Reynolds hosts the show, which covers cannabis related news, pending legislation, and reports on the cannabis industry in the Emerald Triangle. That’s not what I mean by “cannabis consciousness.” Personally, I don’t like to think about any of that shit when I’m high. When I say “cannabis consciousness,” I mean, “how I think and feel when I’m high on cannabis.”
That’s why we smoke cannabis, right? We consume cannabis because it alters our consciousness in some way, and the way cannabis alters our consciousness differs from the way in which alcohol, or caffeine, or nicotine, or any other drug, for that matter, alters consciousness. In all my explorations of altered states of consciousness, I find cannabis unique in its ability to predictably produce this unique state of mind, which I call, “cannabis consciousness.”
It’s funny, I think, that for as much as people around here talk about cannabis, and people do go on, and on, and on, about cannabis, around here, I hear very little talk about “cannabis consciousness.” It surprises me that so few people around here seem interested in cannabis consciousness, even though they smoke a ton of weed. Instead, they prefer to talk about cannabis as a commodity, or a product, discussing how it looks, how it smells, its genetics, how to grow more of it, and especially how much money they can get for it. I tire quickly of that kind of talk, and it has nothing to do with cannabis consciousness.
Personally, I don’t like to think about money when I’m high. When I smoke cannabis, I realize the wisdom of following my natural inclinations, and the importance of distinguishing between what comes naturally, and conditioned behaviors, cultural expectations, and media projections. When I’m high, the high-tech trappings of modern life lose their appeal, and reveal themselves as traps.
Instead, when I get high, I identify strongly with the natural world, and feel a deep connection to every living thing. That feeling of connection to the rest of creation provides tremendous comfort. It’s a comfort people desperately need, especially in our capitalist society that alienates and exploits us so thoroughly and heartlessly. Feeling like part of the natural world imparts a subtle change of aesthetics as well.
Mass produced consumer products seem especially ugly when I’m high, and I become acutely aware of the environmental damage they cause. Cars seem impossibly destructive, and insanely dangerous, when I’m high. Mass media comes across as crass, manipulative and offensive when I’m high, and watching it often leads to feelings of paranoia and dread.
Listening to music, on the other hand, becomes a profoundly moving experience. Listening to music while high reminds me of the amazing sensitivity of the human ear, and leads to a sense of wonder about why music feels so much more satisfying than random incoherent noise. Listening to a good band, while high on cannabis, reminds us of our amazing capacity, as human beings, for collaboration and communication. It reminds us that we have a long history of working together in small, egalitarian groups with almost magical coherence. Getting high reminds us of who we are, and what makes us human. That’s why people like getting high on cannabis so much, and why we feel so righteous about it.
That’s also why cannabis has become so popular, despite prohibition, and why cannabis users, even heavy cannabis users, don’t suffer the debilitating health effects associated with other so called “recreational drugs” like alcohol, or methamphetamine. Cannabis doesn’t just help sick people; cannabis is a natural part of a healthy lifestyle. Everyone needs cannabis whether they know it or not, and the people who think they don’t need cannabis, probably need it the most.
Cannabis prohibition is cruel. Prohibition forces people who recognize the benefits of cannabis consciousness to violate the law, take undo risk to their health and safety, associate with undesirable people, and pay ridiculous sums of money to buy it on the black market, while those who do not know the benefits of cannabis consciousness, simply do without.
Doing without cannabis consciousness leads to a whole slew of maladies, like depression, obesity and drug addiction, which plague us in epidemic proportions, and at enormous cost. The culture that dominates our lives today, treats greed and exploitation as sacred, and relies on increasing levels of human suffering to maintain economic growth and political control. Living this way takes a tremendous toll on humanity. Without cannabis consciousness, few of us would survive in this meat-grinder for long. Even with cannabis consciousness, we know it’s killing us all.
In truth, cannabis consciousness is antithetical to our culture of greed and exploitation. That’s why cannabis consciousness poses such a real threat to our educational system, our political system, and our economic system. For capitalism to endure, people must necessarily remain sick, helpless and vulnerable. Nothing threatens this system more than healthy, aware people, who feel a strong connection to each other, as well as the natural world.
Politicians, cops, banksters, and drug dealers alike, fear abundant, cheap, legal cannabis. They know their greed, not cannabis consciousness, sickens humanity. Their greed, not cannabis consciousness, impoverishes society, and their greed, not cannabis consciousness, destroys the environment. They know that the rest of us would be better off without parasites like them, but they also know that if they can wedge themselves between us, and cannabis consciousness, they can use that leverage to manipulate us.
The battle over the legalization of cannabis is a war between two opposing world views. We have cannabis consciousness promoting health, freedom, creativity, and a strong connection to the natural world, on one side, vs greed consciousness, which shamelessly exploits people and the environment for profit, on the other side. Cannabis consciousness says “safe, legal and cheap marijuana will do the most good for people and the environment, so plant it everywhere.” Greed consciousness says, “OK, prohibition doesn’t work, but we can’t afford to lose this valuable piece of our horrifically destructive economy, so instead, let’s concoct a new gentler way to exploit people with it.” Put simply, it boils down to this: Which do you value more, your money, or your life?