When Family Turns Thanksgiving into Weedsgiving

Mason jars of homegrown flower, plans for a “bud and breakfast,” and a pipe named Zelda: How one family holiday opened my eyes to just how rapidly the cannabis-ation of America is rolling out.

In my long-sober view, the new normal now wafting across my extended family from legal and soon-to-be legal weed states is nothing short of surreal.

The U.S. is in the midst of a profound social shift. According to an October 2018 Gallup poll, 66% of Americans now support legalization of marijuana, up from 44% in 2009 (and 14% in 1969!). One in three Americans currently live in a state where pot is completely legit for adults, and with New York and New Jersey poised to join the legalization bandwagon, that number is likely to drop to one in two. National legalization is one of the more mundane talking points among the 2020 Presidential candidates, and the U.S. House of Representatives recently took a break from pondering impeachment to pass the SAFE Banking Act to ease restrictions on financing of marijuana-related ventures. The recent vaping scare notwithstanding, cannabis has gone from taboo to mainstream in the generational blink of an eye.

Are We Rolling into Post-Prohibition with a Clear Head?

It’s that generational aspect of this marijuana moment in America that is most intriguing to me. As I celebrate more than 30 years of a sobriety that very much includes abstinence from pot, it seems that every other Baby Boomer I know — from my 65-year-old Alaska-homesteading sister to high school classmates moving gleefully into Parrothead-themed retirement communities — is reliving their doobie-driven youth with medical or recreational pot. Meanwhile, my Generation Z nephew tells me that he and his college friends consider marijuana as indispensable as their iPhones.

Everyone I’m related to seems to be smoking, dabbing, growing, marketing, or otherwise celebrating cannabis. As I anticipate another family Thanksgiving turning into Weedsgiving, I have to wonder: Are we rolling into post-prohibition with a clear head?

It’s not like we’re strangers to the dangers of substances in my family. It all goes back to the patriarch, our charming drunken newspaperman of a dad, a man who always had a pint and a half-written novel in his top desk drawer. By the time he died in the mid-1980s, he couldn’t write, or walk, or remember more than 30 minutes at a time. Alcohol had taken it all away.

That was about when I got sober, having followed far enough in dad’s footsteps to know I had to stop. Our mom quit her Gallo Vin Rose and Marlboros not long after, and my sisters dialed their partying back to near zero as well. Our younger brother? He was always the straight one anyway, his only apparent vice a cigar once a year, smoked in his California backyard to avoid bothering anyone.

Fast forward to 2017. We’re standing in that same backyard a year after voters across the Golden State approved Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and 20 years after California pioneered medical marijuana. I’ve come to Bakersfield for my niece’s pop-up wedding shower, but I’m the one who gets a surprise: my clean-living little brother, his ever-sensible wife, and our earthy-sane older sister all sharing a joint amid the streamers and hydrangeas…

Check out how the rest of this family gather went, and Mickey’s predictions about what senior centers will look like in the not-so-distant future, in the original article My Family Is Obsessed with Legal Marijuana at The Fix.

Photo by Get Budding on Unsplash.

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