Gone to Pot in Seattle

Gone to Pot in Seattle, by Christopher Sanford.

The acrid smell of pot, and a thick haze of the stuff … has become one of the distinctive characteristics of our street, and indeed of much of Seattle, that environmentally obsessed city where all is decorous, the sidewalks are immaculately swept, the parks rigorously trimmed, proverbial for its snow-capped mountains and sparkling lakes, and now, too, for its odoriferous and pungent residential neighborhoods, where musky clouds roll through the homes of rich and poor alike, and an ordinary householder can become quietly stoned, regardless of his or her economic status or social prominence. That’s the great thing about this new epidemic we’ve unleashed on ourselves here. Just as its host society was originally meant to be, it’s completely egalitarian. All drugs are morally neutral. They will destroy your life, and the lives of your neighbors, quite irrespective of your race, creed, or religion.

How did we get here? By popular demand. In November 2012, the voters of Washington passed into law Initiative 502 by the impressive margin of 56 to 44 percent [which legalized marijuana smoking in private places]. …

“We have seen marijuana involvement in serious crashes remain steady over the years, and then it just spiked in 2014,” says Dr. Stali Hoff, the WTSC data and research director. … “The largest increase in THC-positive drivers were [sic] among males ages 21-25, from only 6 in 2013 up to 19 in 2014.”

This is what the “marijuana debate” has come to in my state. We’ve become a land all but free of politicians or others who might dare to challenge the stoner consensus. Our newspapers seem as disgusted at the idea of “anti-pot” readers as they are of pro-life ones, doing all they can to shake them off. They run endless stories and editorials about such people being “traditionalists,” or—as if there could be anything worse—“wanting to turn the clock back.” For me, late middle age in the Emerald City increasingly consists of the odd feeling of being the only sober person in a room full of drunks. …

And the stench. Everywhere. And, actually, strongly reminiscent of that toxic industrial-smokestack reek hanging all over town in the old days — except that at least served a productive purpose. There are whole neighborhoods of Seattle glorying in names like Meadowbrook or Cherry Hill or Laurelhurst where the ambient stink almost physically knocks you out. … You can get whacked just by walking around the residential streets of America’s “most livable city.”

hat-tip Stephen Neil