By Jared Allaway, Washington State cannabis activist
Waking up and thinking, “why do I have a catheter?”
Man this is irritating. Aren’t humans silly? Here I am waking up after a night of flat lining and being brought back to life and I’m complaining about discomfort. I should be thankful that I can still experience discomfort. I was just dead a couple hours ago.
That was the morning I woke up at the Hospital in Kennewick Washington. I actually started racking my brain for ways to just slink back in to the shadows, like I could just brush it under the rug and act like it didn’t happen. Get to school and take that test for which I have been studying. No one will ever know.
But everyone did know. There was no way out. I was stuck there in the hospital bed on my back, dried charcoal on the corner of my mouth because I had recently overdosed on alcohol and aspirated my own vomit.
That’s what they do when you come in to the hospital having recently consumed a lethal dose of alcohol. They pump a charcoal milkshake into your stomach, let it absorb, then they vacuum it back out. This is the legal option. This substance that is used by many as a way to relax after work can cause death if not handled with caution. I’ve been dead from alcohol. The doctor’s pumped my stomach, they used the defibrillator, they brought me back to life.
As I take that first step out into the sun and into my second life what do I see? Not far from the hospital there is an advertisement for a particular type of alcohol, outlining the ways in which purchasing and consuming this product will improve your social life. This is the legal option.
If you know the author of the article you are reading you are probably on the edge of your seat about now, waiting to hear the famous catch phrase. “Marijuana is safer than alcohol” is a true statement, but it is also a rally cry. After reading the book Marijuana is Safer so why are we Driving People to Drink? by Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, Mason Tvert, and Norm Stamper I thought about my career in Safety and Health Management. But on a deeper level I thought of that cold night years ago when I consumed too much alcohol. I thought of how there is no such thing as “too much marijuana”. And I thought of how society is steering me back toward my murderer. When I buy my murderer they ask me to show ID and I’m on my merry way. When they catch me with safe herbs they take my fingerprints and hit me with mandatory minimum sentences.
I told this to the Centralia City Council meeting recently when they were considering a moratorium on collective gardens and I think it needs to be repeated. If you are looking at two substances and one of them has to be consumed cautiously because if you consume too much it might make you die, and the other substance will never make you die no matter how much you consume, the second substance is safer. Adults who make the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol should not be punished.
Society should not steer me back toward my murderer.