Image of Catherine Hiller, author of ~ Yes - A Marijuana Memoir
~
As much as Catherine Hiller refuses to admit it, marijuana is a gateway drug. Seriously, after smoking more or less every day for the past 50 years, there had to be some consequences. Yet, she did not go to jail after a random police stop. She did not end up strung out on heroin, sprawled in an alley. She didn’t even binge-munch herself into obesity.
 
Her daily puffs led her to write a book, “Just Say Yes: A Marijuana Memoir.”
 
Just in case people approached her story waiting for the Lifetime movie moment of regret and picking up the pieces of a broken life, she started her book in the present day, flashing back, if you will, to the rest of her life. As a writer — she has published novels and short stories — the approach was an entertaining challenge. As a wife, daughter of an activist and proud mother of three young men, she wanted to show that her life turned out nicely.
Side Street
 
“I wanted to show people that smoking marijuana did not make me hit rock bottom,” Ms. Hiller, 68, said. “My story is the story of so many people who use each day. And so what? What’s the issue? What will it lead to?”
 
Well, in the case of minority youths, it could lead to jail time and a criminal record, something Ms. Hiller feels is unjust. Recently, a young man smoking a joint in a Bronx building was mortally injured when he fell off a roof while running from police officers who entered the lobby after reports that marijuana was being used in public view. On the other hand, she and other marijuana advocates wonder about the criminal charges attached to using when banks, like HSBC, laundered drug money but got off with a fine and no criminal indictments.
 
She has experienced the disparities of race and class when it comes to how law enforcement looks at smokers. In her book, she recounts how after she and her first husband lit up in their car, a policeman flashed a spotlight on them, told them to put out the joint and then waved them off. After an essay adapted from her book was published in The New York Times, someone accused her of living in a cocoon of white privilege.
 
“Maybe I won’t get stopped,” she said. “But I wrote this not because of my privilege, but because I think it’s absurd that anyone would get stopped for this. Whatever I can do to legalize it, I will.”
 
She had taken a dim view of marijuana when she was a teenager living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in 1963 and learned that a girlfriend got high at a party. Like someone who took her cue from the propaganda film “Reefer Madness,” she thought her friend would descend into a dissolute life of jazz and juke joints.
 
But somehow, Ms. Hiller changed her mind not too long afterward. In fact, she practiced by smoking cigarettes, waiting for her chance to get high. That came when she befriended Myles, a young man who showered her with attention. He offered her her first joint, which they shared — she thinks — in Prospect Park in Brooklyn (followed by a trip to a bar).
 
“I had the world’s best hamburger,” Ms. Hiller said. “Inside, I thought, ‘This is for me.’ Perhaps euphoria is too strong a word, but things just seemed great.”
 
Since the mid-1960s, her habit — and yes, she admits a dependency, just as she says someone might have a dependency on coffee — has continued for a half century, though she took breaks for pregnancy and for nursing her babies as well as a three-year hiatus soon after meeting Mark, her current husband. She is emphatic that she did not smoke around her boys, but did offer them a joint once they turned 18 (and were already smoking).
 
People might think she is some sort of party girl, but to hear her tell it, she is somewhat sedate. Ms. Hiller has had the same dealer for 35 years, watching as his regulars have gotten older and grayer. And there are many things she will not do while high, including driving and attending gatherings where she does not know many people.
 
Ms. Hiller is looking forward to her book tour, which will take her to at least one dispensary on the West Coast. Not that she justifies her use by claiming medical need.
 
“I don’t need it to relieve cramps,” she said. “I just like the feeling.”
 
Some of her neighbors in the New York suburb where she now lives do, too, she said. It amuses her to discover “secret smokers,” even if the whole idea of secrecy is, to her, a holdover from an alarmist and judgmental era. She hopes her book and campaign — where she invites readers to share their stories on her website, marijuanamemoir.com — will lead to a change of opinion and laws.
 
“It’s hard for people to change their mind-set after so many years,” Ms. Hiller admitted. “But look at marriage equality and how that happened so fast. That was unheard-of five years ago. So maybe smoking pot will be completely normal, and no one will raise an eyebrow when they find out somebody smokes.”
 
~
August 16, 2019

Poll Finds 63% of Americans Support Cannabis…

According to a poll from Investor’s Business Daily and TIPP, 63 percent of Americans support cannabis legalization, including 75 percent…
August 16, 2019

How Essential Oils Enhance Marijuana's Entourage Effect…

When cannabis oil is mixed with essential oils from other plants, the presence of new terpenes can also make a…
August 16, 2019

Scientific Study: This Marijuana Flavor Might Fight…

“The findings demonstrate the potential for this new cannabis derivative in the treatment of both localized and advanced pancreatic cancer,”…
August 16, 2019

Up In Smoke: Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Goes…

Starting next year, job seekers in New York City and Nevada will no longer have to worry about whether they’ll…
August 15, 2019

Report: California Cannabis Market on Track to…

After briefly faltering a year ago, California’s massive cannabis industry seems to be regaining steam.
August 15, 2019

Time to get acquainted with the industrial…

Used in Europe for more than 3,200 years, hemp today represents an annual market opportunity of $1 bn (~€692m) for…
August 15, 2019

How Does Your State Rate for Medical…

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) aims the report at lawmakers each year, prodding them to make progress relative to their…
August 15, 2019

UC Davis Partners With DEA-Approved Company to…

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have partnered with a federally compliant pharmaceutical company to analyze the chemical and…
August 14, 2019

When It Comes to Sustainability, Hemp Is…

The crop’s legalization could change the industry — and threaten cotton’s dominance.
August 14, 2019

Here’s How Cannabinoids Quell Anxiety - Cannabis…

Cannabis has powerful anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties, and when administered as-needed, can provide relief from several anxiety disorders.
August 14, 2019

Auburn, Maine made a map to help…

With new state rules on how to grow, sell and buy recreational marijuana poised to take effect in September and…