At long last, recreational marijuana is legal in some U.S. states. As more and more states recognize the changing times and the relative safety of marijuana as a recreational drug, you can expect more and more states to join Colorado, Washington, and the rest. Massachusetts is on its way thanks to a voter referendum, and other liberal states seem likely to make the switch in the coming years. That’s great news for just about everyone: we all benefit from taxes (Colorado and the rest have seen huge revenues from the newly legal industry), even if we don’t smoke marijuana ourselves. And for those of us who do smoke, the changing laws are welcome for other reasons!
Of course, like any fun activity, marijuana needs to be enjoyed responsibly. Longtime users are probably familiar with the rules of thumb, but as marijuana becomes legal in new places, others may try it for the first time. If you’re not sure how to safely enjoy marijuana, here’s your guide!
Step one, of course, is knowing the laws surrounding marijuana in the state that you’re in. If it’s legally, naturally, you’ll want to steer clear (plan a vacation to Colorado or another legal-weed state, and show lawmakers that making the right decision helps state economies!). If it’s legal, familiarize yourself with the laws surrounding its use. These laws tend to be pretty simple: you’ll have to be of age, buy the drug at a dispensary, avoid using it in certain places, and avoid doing dangerous things (like driving) while under the influence. It’s all common sense, really: don’t trot around elementary schools with pockets full of weed, don’t drive high, don’t buy it for others or try to get a ton of it and re-sell it. But it never hurts to take a quick look at the laws in your specific state to familiarize yourself with the rules!
Driving while high is illegal for a reason. Do not, under any circumstances, do it. For that matter, avoid anything that requires reaction time and has consequences. Losing at laser tag is no big deal, but this probably isn’t the best time to go skiing or mountain biking – the stakes are a bit higher there! Yes, people do this, but that doesn’t make it wise. Be smart and safe, whether you’re new to the drug or not.
It’s also a good idea to not smoke in public. State laws vary on where you can legally smoke, but they’re all pretty strict. Restrictions are alright tight thanks to cigarette smoking laws, and there are extra consequences to smoking marijuana near schools and other protected areas.
The easiest way to stay comfortable, happy, and safe while high is to make your plan when you’re sober. So look at the things you want to do, compare it to our list of things you can’t do, and plan accordingly. Want to go to the movies? Great! You know you can’t smoke in public or drive, though, so you’ll want to make a plan: call a car service (or a taxi, or an uber) to get you from your private smoking area to your destination (and back).
Having a plan is great for first-time smokers, too, because it creates a nice comfort zone. Marijuana is very, very safe, but it can cause paranoia in some people. The security and familiarity of a good plan can prevent some of this fear.
First-timer user? No problem! You’ll be fine. But just as a plan will help you feel more secure as you try out a new drug, so will doing a little research into what you’ll be feeling. Get a sense of marijuana’s effects and read about the experience of being high on marijuana. Knowing what you’re getting into will help head off any feelings of paranoia.
And don’t forget to have fun! Remember, marijuana is perfectly safe. New users will benefit from making a plan and knowing the rules, because these things can help prevent feelings of paranoia. But if you do get a little paranoid, remember that this is just an illogical feeling! Marijuana is legal, you’re following the rules, you have a plan, and the drug you’re on is perfectly safe. You can’t overdose on it and it isn’t proven to have negative health effects. So kick back, relax, and enjoy yourself!