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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Civil Rights Of Mary Jane

Tom Petty - Last Dance With Mary Jane

I was listening to an interesting call on the Len Tillem (“I’m a lawyah!”) show on KGO Newstalk radio today.  A man called in wanting to know if he could sue a company (PG&E) for refusing him unemployment for being a prescripted pothead… er.. for using medical marijuana.  He felt, as everyone does these days, that this was worthy for him to cash in on a lawsuit because his civil rights to inflict his fuzzy-minded self on the workplace had been violated.

It posed an aspect to this issue I’d not yet thought of. 

See, here’s the thing – my husband doesn’t partake in the happy weed, nor have I ever.  I also haven’t had a drink in over a decade and have never dabbled in recreational drugs.  My badgirlness erupted in other ways, trust me.  But I have a lot of chronic physical pain that keeps me down more than up, am not a surgery candidate (never know whether to be thankful for this or not), and tend to lean more toward homeopathic methods (ongoing physical therapy, narcotics are a last resort).  But he has been researching hydroponics for his new business venture, and this is an industry closely associated with marijuana growing. 

In his research, he has become convinced that medical marijuana is not a bad way to go.  It’s organic and relatively safe (as in, despite the convictions of Reefer Madness does not come with a thousand side effects), therefore isn’t exactly the wet dream of a pharmaceutical corporation.  He has yet to convince me that this will be my miracle drug, for a multitude of reasons, but this puts me one step further away.

I work for the local school district as an adult education instructor, and while they didn’t drug-test upon hiring (which surprised me, actually), they could at any time.  And I like what I do – I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that, or any new opportunities that may come along.

Medical or not, the buzzweed has a stigma attached.  It’s not a sign I’m looking to hang around my neck.  What perpetuates the negativity for me is that there is too much irresponsibility running wild in the world.  We all make a huge deal over drunk drivers, but little is said about the stoners who are out driving around, or performing work tasks that they likely shouldn’t be.  I can’t help but wonder how many “accidents” in the workplace (that then result in workman’s comp or civil suits) are caused because the saw wasn’t the only thing buzzing.  It’s not a figment of my imagination – it’s been seen right up close in my own crowd.  My friend’s brother is set to stoned 24/7, drives all over hell and back, works with the public, and the only thing the family responds with is “but if he didn’t, he’d be too psychotic for society.”  Yep, self-medication is absolutely the answer.  Take his homicidal urges away for the day and send him out into the world.  Let’s hope he doesn’t plow into anyone or cause some other harm.

Just seems to me that, like with any other body-altering substance, care should be taken, and usage should be sparing.  How do you expect, honestly, to drive, work, etc when under any kind of influence?  So maybe this is what we need to heavily consider before going all willy-nilly overboard with medicating ourselves in any way.  Companies have every right, by law, to deny employment based upon drug tests.  And we are a seriously unemployed nation already – why add to the deck that’s stacked against us?

© Kymberlie Ingalls

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