Smoke It If Ya Got It

Jenny Scarborough

Today is the twentieth day of April. It's 420. 

If your mind's voice read that as four hundred and twenty, a bit of education is in order. 420 is a time of day, a calendar date, and an attitude acknowledged by people who enjoy pot, weed, ganja, bud, grass, satan's seaweed, all that. Nothing more or less. 420 is specific to cannabis compounds that attach to receptors in the human brain and body. Those chemical bonds can cause feelings of relaxation, drowsiness, anxiety and euphoria, as well as the munchies. High people can be easily distracted, and stoned people can intensely focus on tasks.

Smoke It If Ya Got It

The origin of the term 420 is surrounded by myth, as makes clear. The true story is apt, and a quirky way for a word – a word made up of numbers – to enter the American lexicon. Read it and learn, stoners.

The analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-psychotic properties of cannabis have proven useful to the medical community. Twenty four US States and the District of Columbia recognize its efficacy. Physicians are keen on the drug, and hope to study it further. There is a huge sample group. Almost half of all Americans admit to having lit up at least once, and ten percent of the population habitually self-medicates.

Photo credit goes to Reddit user iron_flutterby, who posted from the island last year. Thanks, brotha!

Ocracoke Commissioner John Fletcher has been vocal in his support of marijuana legalization in NC while serving on the Hyde Board of Commission. He thinks that his late wife, Jean, could have benefited from medical marijuana while being treated for cancer, and that it's "backward" of North Carolina to oppose its use for medical purposes. 

"It should be legal; there's no reason for it not to be legal," he said many times when Sundae Horn interviewed him last year. John added legalization as a county commissioners' agenda item. The discussion was tabled, but John told the Current that Hyde County should set aside some FEMA lands for growing marijuana. 

"It's just like gay marriage," he said in 2014. "It's going to happen eventually, and the state just looks backward. We might as well be ahead with marijuana, and Hyde County should be out there saying we want it to be legal and make some money for our farmers."

When asked if he'd partaken of some kind bud, he said he had, and inhaled, too!

However, John doesn't think pot is a laughing matter. He takes very seriously the potential relief that medical marijuana could provide for those suffering like Jean did. 

Medical marijuana legislation for NC was rejected in early 2015. Fletcher was defeated in the March 2016 Democratic primary.

Marijuana legalization "is not an issue that would come before the commissioners," said Tom Pahl, who, barring exceptional circumstance, will serve as Ocracoke's next elected representative on the five person board. Hyde Commissioners have limited jurisdiction, Pahl said, and "basically oversee the budget of the county, and manage the county." During his campaign, he was approached by voters who had concerns about those issues, he said. No one asked about his position on marijuana, he said, as it's not relevant.

So what is your position? Ocracoke Current wanted to know. Tom laughed. "It's an absolutely silly thing for marijuana to be outlawed," he said. "It's a waste of resources." In addition to the expense of enforcement, the costs also come in the form of lives spent incarcerated or criminalized for a substance that "is no threat to our society," said Tom. There is no evidence from any medical, or sociological, or psychological researchers that marijuana is bad for you, he said.

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In unrelated news, 420 is the birthday of James Barrie Gaskill, Herbert F. O'Neal, Javier Trejo, Tree Ray, Frank Brown, and Luke Harrington. Today is also Amy Howard and David Tweedie's 14th anniversary. Congratulations all!


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