The Poet’s Eye always gets a tear when confronted with the tragic problem of marijuana abuse. It makes me sad when I see it in the same way that I get sad when I see environmental pollution or any needless cruelty. I’m talking about the crass and barbaric practice of pressing the harmless vegetable into small packages called bricks. It should be a crime.
As a person who has smoked pot every chance he got for the past 45 years, I have seen many bricks. The first one I saw was sitting casually on a newspaper spread out on a kitchen table in a hippie pad in San Francisco circa 1967. This was a particularly egregious case of abuse because not only was the pot pressed into a kilo brick about the size of a shoebox, it was also damp from being soaked with Pepsi Cola mixed with sugar. It was a common practice among pot dealers to take 100 lbs of herb and add ten pounds of sugar, mix it up, and by the miracle of Mexican economics you have 110 lbs of sellable pot. It made the smoke very sweet and thick as caramel. We didn’t know any better then and were glad to smoke whatever dope was available on the underground market.
When a pot plant grows in Mexico, it can be twelve or fifteen feet tall and twice that big around. It is reasonable to assume that some process of compression is necessary to move great amounts of this light vegetation across the Rio Grande to eager consumers in the markets to the North. Not only does it need to be transported but it has to go undetected in the false floor of a semi trailer or carried on the wet back of a smuggler. So it is understandable that those engaged in such commerce would want to take the air out of the product for easier transportation, but it’s a shame to see what it does to the poor marijuana.
As I write I am smoking some of this sad, unfortunate tea. It was bricked so tightly that the seeds are flat as confetti and couldn’t sprout if the species depended on it. I’m thankful to have the herb but I can’t help but being lonely in my heart for fresh, well-treated and loved marijuana like what I see on the television from Oakland herb boutiques. It’s like watching pot pornography. It sits openly, languidly, legally and unpressed in well-lit showcases. My problem is that I live in Texas.
The pot laws in Texas are about as likely to change as the Pope’s patience with pedophiles. It has long been a tradition here to use them for purposes of Messican and hippie control and to harass political enemies and in general to keep the lower classes in line. At this late date The Poet’s Eye sees no sense in re-listing the many good reasons why pot should be legal. Anybody with a pulse and the interest to research the subject can see both the positive potential of Indian Hemp and the negative and harmful results of our current ill-advised legal policies. It is these stupid and archaic laws which create the atmosphere and breeding ground for marijuana abuse. To get their product to market in Texas, the Mexicans have to brick it. If you ever heard the plaintive vegetable cries of tender young buds being crunched by trash compactors and even hydraulic car jacks in Jalisco, you would know what a real third-world tragedy the wanton crunching of pot into tiny bricks represents. It’s as awful as big-eyed starving babies or leftover landmines or foot-binding or female genital mutilation, archaic practices that shouldn’t be allowed in a civilized modern world.
Don’t think I’m getting all lofty on you. I’m not about to suggest starting an organization dedicated to Vegetable Rights or anything. It’s for my own selfish purposes that I speak out. I know what a joy it is to smoke a fresh flower of the hemp spice picked with my own fingers and sticky with its glistening resin smelling fresh and vernal as honeysuckle kissed by pepper. Mary Jane is a magic plant. Its power fades quickly if it is not carefully prepared and stored. To see it abused because of cultural backwardness just grieves me. But The Poet’s Eye is laughing through the tears and has a gleam of delight when it sees the smoke signals from California where the voters will decide soon whether to end the foolishness of trying to ban such a useful and beneficial and profitable agricultural product as hemp. The operative word is ‘profitable’ of course. California’s economy stands to profit nicely from the invention of a new tax base and also the birth of a new industry which could be bigger than the wine business. It would be nice to think that social enlightenment and spiritual tolerance etc. were the reasons for pot to be legalized in the Golden State but, in a pinch, money is a good enough reason.
But I live in Texas. I can only hope and smoke this Mexican dirt bush that crumbles like sad compressed compost between my fingers. I can hope that my fellow Texans will see how much money the folks on the Coast are making and their greed will overcome their native backwardness and prejudice and one day I will be able to cultivate a prayer patch in my backyard and never have to witness marijuana abuse again.
Coming into Los Angeles
Bringing in a couple of keys
Don’t touch my bags if you please
Mister Customs Man–Arlo Guthrie