After Two Decades of Just Saying No, I Finally Said Yes! by "Sergio Reyes"

Sergio is a 35 year old male journalist who lives in Puerto Rico

I first smoked marijuana at 32 years old. I had never smoked cigarettes or tried any drugs (a product of the Just Say No era, and a good, conservative upbringing). I certainly don’t regret not smoking in my teen years. In social situations I would drink moderately. But through reading about music and the way musicians talked about drugs, it became clear to me that maybe marijuana wasn’t as bad as the government said, though cocaine, crack, heroin and other stuff could destroy lives.

After much research on the Internet, reading both pro and against marijuana arguments and with a little help from a friend, I finally inhaled. The first couple of times I did not get high. It was frustrating, so I kept trying until I got it. It was a sublime experience. Fast forward three years later, and I have gone past the experimentation process and now consider myself a wise regular smoker: I know my limit and regulate my habit. I only smoke on weekends, almost always at night, at home or at a concert. My favorite ritual is to smoke and listen to music…and sex is great, too! I have gone through a couple of weeks or a month without smoking and have felt no “cravings” or withdrawal symptoms. I have had a couple of “bad trips;” the accelerated heart rate, the dry mouth, the paranoia, but have been able to remain in control. As a matter of fact, going through bad trips have been good experiences in terms of learning how to cope with unpleasant feelings.

I’m not interested in any hard drugs (though I have some curiosity about natural psychoactives like peyote and such; I’d also like to try hashish). Certainly, the high of marijuana is much better than that of alcohol, and weed can give me a spiritual or introspective experience. Other times it’s just joy and the usual hilarity. Some good ideas for my profession have come while being high, but mostly it’s about enjoying the heightened sensitivity for listening to music and eating a special dish. I can tell that smoking marijuana does not lead to the abuse of addictive drugs when it’s done by a responsible adult who’s not trying to “escape” from troubles or past traumas. It hasn’t affected my working habits, either.

It’s frustrating to have marijuana be illegal, and not be able to smoke it outdoors, or in the presence of people who frown upon it because they’d think of me as a drug addict, and to know that even to go and try to raise awareness of its uses and to have a pro-legalization stand would mean the loss of my job. Puerto Rico has a big crime problem, mostly related to drug trafficking, so there’s not a good climate for the decriminalization of marijuana. . But I believe that legalizing marijuana is the answer, not prohibition. The key is: responsible use of marijuana, alcohol or any other psychoactive drug.

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