Dear Mary Jane

Love letter encompasses decades of experience with cannabis and the adventures it inspired along the way

My darling cannabis,

Have we really been together for 50 years? It seems like yesterday that we first met. I was hanging out with friends, playing soccer and you seemed so mysterious.

Before long, the two of us were getting acquainted in a ravine behind the school. But your charms didn’t work that day and I kept my distance for months. Our teachers said terrible things about you—and I believed them at first. I even told friends they were fools to like you.

When we met again that April, it was like magic. We laughed in the afternoon sun until you quietly slipped away. But we found other moments to share, whether it was at a concert, along the riverbank, or camping in the Sierra. After a while, nothing could keep us apart—not parents, doctors, nor teachers.

OK, the cops separated us a few times.

I’ll never forget watching you waft through the air the day Jimi Hendrix performed at Cal Expo. As his notes flew by, it felt like I could reach out and touch you both.

Amsterdam in the 1990s was delightful. Walking down cobblestone alleys, you had me bouncing off the walls before I found my flat. After the Iron Curtain came down, I shared you with friends in their East Berlin tenement. And did we really run from police that night in Barcelona? It was foolish, but I would have done anything to find you.

Whether standing on mountaintops or below waterfalls, you showed me things I never completely saw before. Yet, my favorite times were riding the Harley, or sitting at home after work. As day lingered into night, you took the world’s worries and sent them flying.

Of course, you got me into a lot of trouble. For years you made me feel like a criminal. You could be distant, expensive and unpredictable, vanishing into thin air. My mother never understood you, that’s for sure.

But to me, cannabis, you will always epitomize California coolness. Your creativity is endless. You reinvent yourself again and again. You are thought-provoking, funny and I’m still crazy about you.

Some day we will part for good, and I suppose critics will say, “He became the fool he warned others about.” But after 50 years, I would grasp you in my hand, take that deep breath and fall in love with you all over again.