It happened to me at the McDonald’s on Bass Road two weeks ago. I was in the drive thru at lunch time on a school day. In front of me two high school boys were in a Corvette. Clouds of marijuana were pouring out of the windows. The lady at the window looked at me and shook her head.
Last week, I was in the Kroger parking lot on Zebulon. Two rows over were four teenagers in a BMW with the windows rolled up passing something between them. It was hard to make out what with all the sfoggy moke in the car. Downtown the other day, two college-aged guys bound for the Rookery were both smoking marijuana as they walked down the street. And just this morning, two guys in the turn lane headed from Forsyth Road onto Tucker Road had their windows down as the passenger looked at me before releasing his cloud of pot.
I have noticed this more in Atlanta, but now here. High school and college-aged young white men have given up cigarettes for marijuana. This is common out west as legalization laws crumble. Take a trip to Denver and it gives a new meaning to the “Mile High City.” In California, a car service can deliver medical marijuana to your home. The company is preparing a delivery service for recreational marijuana and some areas already have it.
When I was in New York City last month on a book tour, parts of Midtown Manhattan had young men in suits standing in front of skyscrapers smoking weed on breaks. There is a serious issue about society and respect for the rule of law when something is illegal, but everyone openly engages in the activity anyway. No one thing slides society down a slope, but the combination of many laws ignored, eventually adds up.
Set aside, however, the legality argument. Increasingly, marijuana is accepted and legal. In Georgia, already medical marijuana in some forms is acceptable and the remaining barriers will fall.
What is distinct, however, is that marijuana does affect the mental state of those who smoke it. Whether it relaxes them or makes them euphoric or paranoid or sleepy, marijuana has an effect. I have several friends who smoke marijuana. They moved to smoking marijuana for diagnosed medical issues where the side effects of smoking it were far less sever than the prescribed medicines they were on. But there is something troubling about seeing kids in cars smoking a drug that will impair their mental state.
At one point, I am sure I would have been more intolerant overall of marijuana consumption. I am, however, rather intolerant of impaired drivers. I have a daughter a few years away from driving and I have a wife with a motorcycle. It scares me for them that they are or will soon be on the road surrounded by a bunch of people staring at their phones instead of the road. Now add into that mix impaired 20-something year-old boys in North Macon in daddy purchased, vanity laced vehicles.
There are a few things that strike me about this. First, I have a sneaking suspicion it is easier for white teenagers to get away with this publicly than black teenagers, and that’s a whole bigger issue. Second, whether Atlanta, here, or elsewhere, it’s never the boys in trucks with hunting stickers who spend time outdoors seen smoking the devil weed. It’s always boys in expensive cars. Makes you wonder as much about their parents as about them.
Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.