By Mikel Miller
On August 21, 2009, Mexico decriminalized personal possession of less than five grams of marijuana. Boomer–an expat living on the Baja Peninsula–decided to try some pot right away.
He says his first experience was sharing a joint, and most of his friends in northern Baja were stunned to learn that he had never tried marijuana back in the USA because he feared being arrested. They coached him on what to do, and tried to help him avoid coughing.
“Not too much,” he says they told him. “Hold it in. Now, let it out slooowly.” He says the high began in a few minutes and lasted about two hours.
Boomer’s next hits were from a pipe people passed around at a neighborhood party. He says the pipe wouldn’t stay lit, and he burned his thumbnail with the lighter flame. He managed to inhale enough to make him seem funnier than usual, and told people at the party he might write about the experience.
“They laughed and told me everybody else already knew what it was like,” he says.
In northern Baja, part of the marijuana culture involves the price difference between pot sold in the USA and the stuff Mexicans sell on the street. According to Boomer, some users in Baja say high-quality homegrown marijuana in the USA retails for around $400 per ounce in California. The same users say the asking price for Mexican pot is just $40, with plenty available at $25 per ounce.
Boomer couldn’t tell if the USA stuff in the pipe at the party was any better than the Mexican joint. Friends told him that the high from eating pot lasts longer than smoking it, so he gave $25 to a user friend to make a batch of brownies and arrange a little focus group of neighbors to test the premise.
All the testers said they had experiences with marijuana in other places. One person was at Woodstock. A second said he smoked pot once in an Amsterdam cannabis cafe, and had trouble finding his hotel for a couple of hours afterward. A third said she smoked her first joint in high school, and smoked a lot more in her twenties while riding bare-breasted on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle. A fourth bragged that she did a full Lady Godiva at a small hometown parade back in Oregon, after borrowing a horse from a friend in the sheriff’s mounted posse.
The 8×8 glass baking pan produced brownies almost an inch thick, and the baker cut them into sixteen 2×2 squares—each with slightly less marijuana than two medium-size joints. The group started watching a DVD movie and nibbling the brownies.
“After eating a whole brownie, I felt the effects in about an hour,” says Boomer, “and I was still wide awake at 5:30 a.m.” Most of the others told him a few days later that they had similar experiences. Apparently, based on Boomer’s focus group, Mexican pot is good enough.
I’m not suggesting people should try marijuana, or that people should never try it. Those are individual choices. Most people I know are aware that some studies show it contains carcinogens, just like tobacco products. In addition, some U.S. authorities still insist that marijuana use can lead to other drug use. Boomer says his friends in northern Baja laugh at that.
“The only drug it leads to is Viagra® to help you follow up on those mellow feelings,” one friend told him.
It’s a significant law enforcement milestone that Mexico reduced penalties for personal possession of less than five grams of marijuana. However, Boomer soon realized he was an outlaw because his batch of Baja brownies with an ounce of pot equaled twenty-eight grams.
You Idiot, he says he finally realized. You finally realized that you are in Mexico, where possession of more than the new limit still means mandatory time in a Mexican jail for at least a few days, maybe weeks, or months. He says he could imagine la policia knocking on his door and asking him, “¿Que pasa, señor?”
So, after his three marijuana experiences and understanding the new Mexican law better, Boomer decided to just say no. No more shared joints, puffs from a party pipe, or yummy brownies for dessert. No mas. Nada. He figured he would sleep better, both literally and figuratively.
And he says he implemented his new policy in a few weeks, right after he got rid of those leftover brownies in his freezer.