Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comedian, takes the edge off of the world and explains all those unexplained things in a way that will make you either laugh or cry.

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The Best of the Past Year

Take Me Serious as a Pot Smoker, Seriously

(August 24, 2010)


As I’ve mentioned before, I almost change my opinion daily whether Proposition 19 is going to pass in November. Today I read that Facebook is blocking Pro-Legalization ads. I guess Facebook does fear user generated content. Apparently the theory, ‘by the People, for the People,’ only goes so far.  

One of the other negatives that has me slightly worried is the traditional Big Buck Pothead supporters like the legendary Giver of All Causes Liberal, George Soros, is conspicuously absent, as is his money. Also other backroom backers that have always seem to be behind Pro-Pot activities are missing, but I can’t guarantee that, if you know what I mean…Maybe the usual suspects will pony-up around Rocktober when we’re nearing the finish line.

But I have one question today, ‘How does Change happen?

Let’s just say Prop. 19 passes. Okay for the next week, it’s a Pot-O-Thon in the Malden Streets of San Francisco. Then when one of the Stoners will be reminded that the law really doesn’t take effect until the end of January, ought Eleven.

But then what? Are we then like little Munchkins in our bright, new Emperor’s clothing unafraid to come out of hiding and blaze up? How will that work?

For some of us oldsters, we’re still going to be nervous smoking in public, forgetting that we can’t get busted now. It will take some getting used to that WEED is now really legal. See, change is hard if you’re used to looking over your shoulder or in rear-views all the time for the ubiquitous Man. But if Legalization passes in November, that all changes. We will be free to be ourselves.

But how does change happen?

Here in San Francisco, the Proposition 8 is kind of a big deal. I don’t want to make a huge deal out of this but…I kinda live in a gay town, shhh.

I’ve lived among people who have been trying to come out as themselves for as long as I can remember. After the recent change in the legislative battle for the Right for Gays to marry, it’s getting close. But I assume, as with the Legalization of Marijuana, the Same-Sex amendment will eventually be brought to the Supreme Court.

I see many similarities between the wishes of these two groups of people on their pursuits of Happiness. Everyone just wants to do their own thing without fear of being bother or held up to ridicule for their beliefs. Or worse, being thrown in jail for what society is afraid of looking at.

So when do we come out?

I’m not talking about smoking a joint at a concert or sitting in the park blowing a bowl, having strangers walk through your blue haze. I’m talking about letting your boss, parents, school teacher, Aunt, baby-sitter, neighborhood cop, and anyone else you would fear that they know that you get high. To bring it all home, what my Girlfriend’s Dad thinks of me, does really matter to me. He knows I’m a competent, producing kind of guy. I hate to think that could all change when he sees me getting high.

We don’t have that problem with alcohol. In fact, sometimes you can get into many car accidents or have a few incidents at Thanksgiving while drinking, and you’re still given a few more chances. It’s ‘cause we’re cool with booze. Not so with WEED.

I came out to my family over ten years ago. I was visiting my parents and I lit up in the backyard. Why hide who you are? If you can’t be yourself around your family, when can you be yourself?

Besides, let’s face facts. When you’re high, you’re not fooling anyone. The World knows you’re high, but no one is talking about it.

“I don’t mind if some gays come out, just don’t jam that Gay Agenda down my throat.”  That is always one of my favorite sayings of the Non-Gay Front.

The Girlfriend and I was at her parent’s for a barbeque a couple of weeks ago in their big backyard. Perfect San Francisco day, wind around thirty knots. Spray pelting us from the Bay. Devil’s Towers are forming and spinning on the streets, molding swirling debris and medical samples from the homeless into small moving columns that dance down Chestnut Street. I say to the Girlfriend, “Do you mind if I light up?” Knowing full well what the answer would be.

“No way, we’re at my parents.”

        I have to say, the Girlfriend’s parents are as cool as people can be who don’t smoke Pot. Both of her parents grew up here in the City and are not strangers to the issues that happen here. Her parents know I write a Dope column and that I’m a Marijuana activist. But for me to pull out a spliff and give it power to burn, that would be pushing things.

        And I understand what she is talking about. It would make her parents, and her, uncomfortable to see me hit on a hooner. The Girlfriend sees it as me trying to rock the boat. These feelings are all very understandable.

        But when will that happen? When it is finally legal, is that when the all clear sign happens.

        Red Rover, Red Rover, send some major Bud over. I am stoking this joint and I don’t care who sees me.


No way, even if it’s legal, there’s no way the Girlfriend is going to let me smoke in front of her parents and make everyone uncomfortable.

What is the difference between now and when WEED becomes Legal? Isn’t it just a state of mind? If you know what I’m mean…

        Is it just going to be a big party in the streets because now someone said it is okay for us to be who we want to be?

        Or is it up to us?

        When it comes to WEED, I always defer to the side of responsibility. I’m not talking about blazing up in front of kids, but as adults, what are we waiting for?

        Is it are fear of not wanting to rock the boat? Or is it deeper and more insidious?

        Is it our fear that we don’t want to be seen as your average Cheech and Chong stoned out of your minds Potheads? That when someone sees us smoking Dope, we somehow also have to explain that we can still do our jobs or drive on the stuff, if we have to. Or to be more honest, sometimes I drive and work better when I’m stoned. There, I said it. I actually can do some of Life’s tasks better, if I’m stoned.

        I’ll tell you two things that are better when I am stoned, parties and boring times. If I’m bored, getting stoned can motivate me and make me do something I might not normally do. But to be honest also, it can make me sit on the couch watching ‘L.A. Confidential,’ for like the billionth time.

At parties, once I’m stoned, the people I didn’t like or were judgmental about, those immature thoughts melt away like waking up from a bad dream.

        Living in San Francisco, I’ve marched with my Gay and Lesbian friends. I was there the night the cop cars burned after the Dan White verdict. I brought coffee and warm clothes to my old roommate who was stopping traffic on one of the bridges for Act-Up while that group of activists were doing their best to bring attention to HIV and Aids to a World that didn’t want to hear it or see it.      

        I learned long ago, we’re all in this together. How one segment of the population is treated, has a direct effect on the rest.

        We’re familiar with the saying, ‘A high tide raises all boats.’ I’ve learned that the opposite can be true too. With what is going on in the news with Anti-Muslim and Arab sentiment and the Tea Party almost reaching their boiling points every day; I can see how a low tide brings us all down too.

        I tell you what real change is. It’s when you look over and see normal, regular folks with jobs and families, smoking joints like its nothing. As soon as more of us start to light up at ballgames, on the street and in the Avenues, the sooner the rest of the population is going to think that this is common behavior.

        I need to light up at my girlfriend’s parent’s house, to show that I’m not Charley Manson or that somehow I morph into Jeff Spicoli at the first hit of some Blue Cheese. That I’m just me, only slightly goofy and I might laugh at the odd moment that others might not find as funny as I do. That could be the worst that could happen.    

        Really, what is wrong with that?

        I’m all for your Hempfests and smoke-outs. I do my walk on 4/20 to Hippie Hill to see the kids at twenty after four in the afternoon enjoying a freedom that only happens when you and your closest fifteen thousand other dudes and dudettes decide it’s safe to light up.

        But what about standing alone like some thirteen-year-old in Milwaukee who realizes that they don’t like the opposite sex, they like their own. How brave is that?

        If we want Legalization to happen, we shouldn’t wait until someone hands it to us. We should take it. We should own it.

        All us Potheads, we need to come out and let the World know that they don’t have to fear us. Let’s give them the images of the Carl Sagans, the Michael Phelps, the John Lennons of our World, our winners. Let the public see you can be productive and a valued member of society and still bang the gong. Let’s bring them in on our pursuit of Happiness. Let’s be real. Show them how we get lost and laugh and return to the same spot we were just in, but now, we’re a little happier and realize, Life’s not that bad when you’re high.

        What’s wrong with that?


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