“Of course I know how to roll a joint.”―Martha Stewart

Most of our experience with cannabis sativa came from viewing Cheech & Chong movies, so we’re not exactly high on anyone’s list of experts on the subject. We have, however, had occasion to work, play and otherwise interact with the stoned, the wrecked, the half and fully baked. It’s probably a good idea to keep them away from machinery, especially cars, but otherwise they seem harmless.

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They’re a lot more fun than their counterparts who overindulge in alcohol. If you laugh at a stoner, he’ll likely laugh too since pot seems to make nearly everything the slightest bit funnier. Standup comedians distrust stoned audiences, especially when they’re breaking in new material, because they’ll laugh at anything.

Some of you old timers will remember Vi’s on Maple Street in Munhall as purveyor of one of the great hoagies of all time. For the local blue ribbon it came down to Vi’s and Danny’s on 88 and there were vocal enthusiasts on both sides. Anyway, several years, okay decades, ago we were in line down there for a hoagie behind two stoners. One of them pointed at the popcorn machine on the counter, which bore the manufacturer’s name, “Whiz-Bang”, and they both proceeded to laugh so hard they couldn’t talk. Vi let us jump the line.

Laugh at a drunk, though, and there’s a real strong chance it’ll soon be “go time.”

What about work? We’re thinking most employers will frown on it. Drugs, not work. There’s that machinery thing, right? A lot of jobs require drug testing to screen out users, not just of marijuana but other drugs too. You don’t want your pilot finding the cockpit too hilarious, or your surgeon getting the munchies halfway through your appendectomy.

But there are probably jobs where a little buzz might actually be helpful. We read a terrific biography of Louis Armstrong (Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout) in which we learned that Satchmo was a regular user back when you could do hard time for it. Sir Paul McCartney spent a few hard days’ nights in a Tokyo pokey for possession. We’re told marijuana use is not unusual among musicians, and it appears to enhance, rather than impair performance. It’s actually kind of hard to imagine jazz without pot.

What brought all this to mind is the news that McKeesport will be the site of one of the medical marijuana production facilities, having won approval from Harrisburg. The emphasis here should be on the word “medical.”

Pennsylvania has not joined the ranks of states like Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon and now Nevada, which have okayed the sale of marijuana for recreational use. Massachusetts and Maine in the east have followed suit. Some people say it’s de facto legal in a lot more places, but I wouldn’t count on those people to bail you out when you get busted. It’s like 85 years since the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed and we’re just now able to buy a sixpack at the grocery store. So I wouldn’t hold my breath on recreational wacky tobacky here in the Commonwealth. To be blunt about it.

We don’t want to come off as party poopers, but here’s our main objection to general legalization: When we were in school we noticed that when a kid started using pot, he would drop about a letter grade. So A students became B and C students; B students became C and D students; C students didn’t some back the next year. We personally were never tempted to indulge since a “nickel bag” was worth two and a half hours work in the dining hall. That’s right, when you’re making two bucks an hour, you spend it carefully.

Anyway, they’re going to be engaged in agriculture over at the McKeesport Industrial Park. Don’t start thinking you can help yourself to some bud as you cruise along the bike trail, though, as this looks to be an indoors operation. Instead, why not try the latest drug to hit the market: Koko Loko. It’s a type of snortable chocolate, it’s legal (so far) and doesn’t appear to have any major ill effects. We don’t think it will take off, though, unless users come up with some cool underground terminology for it. Hey, man, don’t be running this Hershey’s by me. I’m Jonesing for a bump of that Godiva, man.

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