Opening for business | Chuck's World

By Chuck Sigars | Apr 09, 2014

I’m an aggressive pedestrian, which means I follow the rules, mostly, but I insist generally on the right of way.

You can run me over if you wish, but then that’s all on you. I’m about personal responsibility when it comes to walking.

That I’d become radicalized by something as ordinary as ambulation is a result of years of traipsing around my neighborhood, mind wandering but eyes on stray drivers, whose eyes are sometimes not on me.

I’ve learned to be careful, to slide carefully as far over as possible, to map out occasional escape routes, to fantasize about rolling onto the hood of an SUV and then rolling off, me without a scratch and the gas guzzler with a Chuck-shaped dent in the hood as a memento.

Mostly I’m just cautious.

But when in, say, a parking lot, with cars moving at slower speeds as their drivers desperately search for a parking spot 5 feet closer than the other one, I hold my head high and keep walking.

This is my territory, and I cede ground to no one. I’m walking here.

I’m not a fool, not all of the time. I sometimes feel as though I’m making a point about personal freedom and cleaner air, but I don’t want to be squished either.

So when I approached a driveway the other day, and noticed a minivan approaching the same with obviously every intent of driving onto it, perpendicular to a walking human, I gave her some space.

And it was a her, who we used to call a soccer mom (do we still? I wish to offend no one), a suburban woman in her 30s, probably, with a vehicle designed for kids and sporting equipment.

To be fair, she leaned out the window and smiled apologetically for the near-miss, letting me know she was following the car in front of her and didn’t want to lose track. I get that, I smiled back, all is forgiven. She seemed very nice.

And then she got out of her mom-mobile and walked into a medical marijuana dispensary.

Now. I can go a couple of ways on this.

It’s got potential for humor, or at least visual humor, like a cartoon. Here’s some perfectly ordinary mom walking into a store where cannabis and cannabis products are sold.

Maybe it’s her first time. Maybe she uses the wrong terminology. Laughs all around.

Or, since it’s a medical marijuana dispensary, this could be a very sad story that none of us really wants to think about.

There may be a child at home suffering from intractable nausea from chemotherapy. There could be an aged parent who can’t tolerate opiate-based pain medication but can eat a quarter of a cannabis-laced brownie and have it ease her pain.

Whatever the scenario, I wasn’t getting involved. I just observed, it struck me as sort of funny, and then I realized that we’re about to enter a whole new world.

I can tell you about marijuana. I was a teenager in the 1970s. I went to #college# in the 1970s. I can tell you all about it. Ask me anything.

And I voted, nearly 18 months ago, to legalize the use of cannabis by adults for recreational purposes in this state.

I voted not as someone eager to walk into a marijuana store, although when they open I surely will at some point. I’m just curious. But I didn’t vote for it because I wanted to indulge.

I voted for it because I wanted to see what would happen, but mostly because I don’t think people should go to prison for growing a plant and then combusting, vaporizing, or otherwise leeching out the psychoactive chemicals in that plant to make themselves feel better.

I understand that there are people who get addicted and it gives them pain, as addiction will. I just don’t think they should be in prison.

All of this is moot, though. I heard all the arguments. The vote has passed, and it appears that some careful consideration has gone into implementation, since we’re still a month or more away from seeing one of those carefully regulated weed stores open.

Again, I’m mostly curious.

I joked with friends from another state a while back, who were asking about the new law and its implementation, telling them that I expected that when the stores opened lines would wrap around the block, mostly consisting of people in their 50s and 60s, imagining themselves reliving their younger years when they would inhale smoke from burning this plant and then think they were funnier than they actually were.

But primarily I’m curious as to how a people who talk about cherishing freedom actually react to being handed some, heavily taxed and regulated but still available in the marketplace.

Just like those two far deadlier plant-based psychoactive products, tobacco and alcohol.

You’ve heard all this before, though, at least if you live in Washington and you pay attention.

And if you’re watching Colorado, with their six-month head start, or reading shifting public opinion polls, you might have an idea that it won’t be that big of a deal. That’s my feeling, although I certainly could be wrong.

I just watched that lady the other day, and imagined her in a few months, in a regular marijuana store, parking her minivan and doing a little shopping, and thought there might be some funny stories in the future.

Although they might seem funnier than they really are – it depends.

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