Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat, But it Sure Got Stoned
by Brodie Hunter (he/him)
Picture this: you’re in year 8, lining up outside the Life Education van waiting to hear Harold the Giraffe talk to you about a strange-smelling plant and why you should stay away from it. Afterwards, you promise yourself and Harold that for as long as you live, you will never go near it. Fast forward a few years to your first party and someone hands you a joint. Curious, you take a hit while knowing deep down just how disappointed Harold would be. This is the case for roughly 80% of teens in New Zealand - who by the time they turn 21 will have smoked weed, according to data from the University of Otago. I am one of them.
Although people around me were experimenting with drugs, I was still a bit apprehensive and didn’t try them until I was a bit older. I grew up in a police family - my mum was in the courts and my dad is a police officer to this day. He’s actually the head of road policing for Tauranga, which made me very popular at school, not. So, it's safe to say that drugs were a hard no in my house. I also attended a heavily Christian school *makes the cross sign on my chest*, where they seemed to really hammer home the evils of marijuana, the devil's lettuce (I always thought this made it sound so much cooler). My upbringing gave me a very anti- drug stance; to the point where I was afraid if I took more than two Panadol at once I was going to start chomping them down on the side of the street, with police sirens blaring in the distance. But as I got older, my developing adolescent brain became curious - surely it must be good if people keep using it? My favourite films Harold and Kumar, and Cheech and Chong probably didn’t help either. With my curiosity growing larger and the heart-breaking failure of the referendum 48% - 51% - thus went my only chance to try it legally without my dad arresting me. So I decided to give it a try.
Let's set the scene: I'm with some friends, chilling out on a hill behind one of their houses. Suddenly, one of them whips out a joint and a few puff puff passes later, it comes my way. With everyone waiting to see what I do - I put it to my lips and give it a good drag. Pretty soon the world became less overwhelming, everything seemed to move in slow motion and I had the unstoppable urge to smile. “Now,” I think, “I'm officially breaking the law and it’s not actually that scary.”
The joint goes around a few times, and each time I take a hit. Don't worry, I definitely didn't double over in a coughing fit.
That afternoon, I was dropped home by my friend who was our sober driver, (very responsible!) only to find a bunch of police officers in my house. In my smokey haze I forgot that my dad was hosting an afternoon tea for the staff in his section, and I had just walked in on them, stoned out of my mind. For the next hour, I had to socialise with these people - focusing on every word to make sure I sounded normal. I sprayed almost a whole can of Lynx on me to hide the smell and squinted the whole time, to not give away my red eyes. I felt like I was walking through a minefield, where any wrong step was going to land me in some really deep shit. I'm not sure if I managed to play it off, or if they just didn’t say anything because I’m the boss’ son.
Although I'm still not a big smoker unless someone offers me a hit (I'm a broke freeloading student, after all), my attitude to it has definitely changed. When it comes to weed, I have come to the conclusion that it’s pretty harmless, and seeing as everyones going to come across it at some point - we should make sure people are using it safely.
Anyway, that’s my little story about my experience with weed. I'm looking forward to my parents reading it and giving me a lecture.