By John Hubbuch
On Jan. 1, Illinois joined 19 other states and the District of Columbia, which have legalized marijuana for medical use. As of that same date, Oregon and Colorado residents don't even have to be sick, they can smoke up just because they don't feel groovy.
In my youth I did not regularly smoke marijuana. The seven or eight times I did followed the consumption of 5-6 beers, so my cannabis high was diluted, so to speak. Part of my hesitancy to toke was a fear that I would be arrested and that my legal career would be derailed before it left the station.
I made my roommate build a tent-like structure to contain his smoke when he fired up in our dorm. He called his invention the Hashtro Dome. Another time I was in a Phoenix suburb when the idiots I was visiting decided to go to a midnight Betty Boop film festival buzzed up, but the dope fell out of the car on the driveway of his parents' home. We hustled back to retrieve the incriminating evidence and calamity was avoided. The Lord must look after dopers.
Despite my historical misgivings, I've now decided that legalizing marijuana is a good idea. Life is often hard and boring. It is always terminal. So if smoking weed helps you make it through the night, the winter, or life itself, then light up. I don't see why society permits, even encourages, booze, shopping, porn, reality TV, video games and fast food to take our minds off our problems, but not marijuana.
In fact Oak Park should be in the forefront of this legalization movement. The village is crawling with baby-boomer pot-smokers. Just look around. I've gotta figure we lead the state in shoulder-length grey hair (men and women). All those weedy, prairie-preserving front yards have to belong to tokers. I bet you would be surprised how many locked Oak Park closets emit the warm glow of artificial lighting for pot plants.
Marijuana is a growth industry, and we need to position ourselves for the warm, hazy future. We should be encouraging the doctors who write the prescriptions. We will need more head shops to sell marijuana paraphernalia. I have no doubt that junk food sales will spike. We'll need more live music venues. FitzGerald's needs some Oak Park competition. Conservatives love small businesses, and liberals love locally sourced food. Win-win.
I would suggest that the village board convene a special meeting to discuss the important business opportunity presented by the new medical marijuana legislation. We can begin positioning our village as the dope capital of Illinois when this recreational drug is legalized for personal use.
I don't know if the special meeting will be productive, but it will certainly be mellow. Fritos will be served.