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“A Hookah Smoking Caterpillar Calls..”
Posted by Joann Deutch on Jul 1, 2012 - 1:54:58 PM

LAUREL CANYONThe current Medical Marijuana Dispensary debate before the Los Angeles City Council has brought my thinking full circle. The canyons (and in particular, Laurel Canyon) have a well deserved reputation as the seat of the counter culture of the ”˜60s. The voice of the movement was its music, and Laurel Canyon wrote the music and lyrics that drew the world into the movement. The question then, is how has the spirit of this movement evolved and how is it represented in today’s hillside population?

A Hooka Smoking Catepillar - lyrics by Janis Joplin


Make no mistake that that generation smoked pot with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today’s canyonite adults are those same wild teenagers who had no one to govern their craziness. Their credo was “let’s try it and see what happens” and “don’t judge me, accept me as I am.”


If you had prophesied that they’d grow up to be schizophrenics, I would never have believed you. How so? Well it’s now time for that generation to take on the mantle of leadership. What have they done with that power?  They’ve voted to semi-legalize pot. Is that a big deal?


The conundrum is how marijuana became mainstream in such a sinister way. In order to curry favor with voters, the actual law sought to permit easy access to marijuana for those who were seriously ill - think “terminally ill.” The proposed California law also tempted politicians and voters with a promise of new tax revenues.


So how has our counter-culture society dealt with the ready availability of marijuana? They are now parents. They pop into a local doctor who specializes in writing Medical Marijuana Recommendations (scripts). They complain of vague headaches or back pain; the script is written; they pop into the dispensaries which are all over the place, and thank god, open until 10 or 11 p.m. for our convenience. Everyone agrees that this stuff is good “shit” compared to what was available back in the day. 


Parents and older siblings regularly share their stash with their kids and siblings, who in turn share it with their classmates. It’s shocking to consider who the new “pusher” is. The schizophrenia becomes clear with the rationalizations. “I don’t want my kids to be “on record” as having a marijuana recommendation - it might effect college admissions.” “I don’t want them busted by the cops.” “My kids are going to smoke it anyway.” 


If these are the ultra-cool parents, and true to their counter culture roots, why not let their kids free-float through life? Why is stressing you and your kid over getting into to the best private school so important? Why is getting all that community service on your resume for college admission committees so important?


On the one hand, they push marijuana, which neuroscientists maintain disrupts areas of the brain that interconnect memory, attention, decision-making, language and executive functioning skills, robbing kids of their full potential; then they push Ritalin for academic doping, at the same time expecting superior academic performance. The decision to “Just say yes” might be easier in the moment, but what will be the consequences?


Who knows what the future holds for this next generation. What will their handle be, “Gen Doped”? “Gen-D’d"?


“Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.”


Cliffside Malibu




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