Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Very Scary Night: In Which I Rant About Our Countries Drug Policies

Last night I was getting Sadie out of the bath tub and ready for bed when a strong smell filled the room.  I turned and glanced at the window and then struggled to turn the fan around so that it would be blowing outwards.  Sure that meant that the temperature in the room instantly approached 85 degrees but it was better than the pot smoke that was wafting into our upstairs from a neighbors house.  I turned back to Sadie and saw that her entire back was rapidly becoming covered in hives.

I know some of you have been around long enough to remember the Great Pot Smoke Drama of 2010, which makes the drug policies in our country extremely interesting to me.  For those who don't and want to know what I'm talking about the story of the very scary night when we discovered that Sadie was allergic to pot (thanks next door neighbor!) and I stayed home with a newborn Maggie while Paul took one very frightened and sick little girl to the hospital, is here.  I'm pretty sure I can't even go back and re-read it after finding it because it would be a near occasion of sin.  It still (especially after last night) makes me that angry.  Mama Bear angry.  The deputy-who-refused-to-come-out-would-try-to-commiserate-with-my-husband-over-how-crazy-I-am-every-time-he-saw-him-at-work-after-talking-to-me-on-the-phone crazy.

I turned her around and saw that her breathing already sounded thick as she said:  "I think there's a kitty in here!"

The hives though, combined with the breathing, had me struggling not to freak out.  I slathered her with lotion and raced downstairs and grabbed the "purple kitty medicine" (kid diphenhydramine tablets) and gave her one.  I grabbed my purse off the stairs and carried it upstairs and sat it next to the bed, with the multiple inhalers and epi-pen juniors and "kitty medicine" in the front pouch, just in case the hives and breathing problems turned into something worse.

Then she wanted to know why she was getting sick if there wasn't a kitty and I tried to explain smoking to her, except she couldn't remember every having seen anyone smoke in her entire life, and was baffled about why anyone would want to breath in the stuff that was making her feel so miserable.

Instead of working downstairs, I ran down the steps and put away the things that needed to be put away to ensure that mouse-a-gedon didn't occur and then sat in the room with her last night and listened to her breath.  She was still sniffly and she woke up in the middle of the night to tell me that she was itchy, but the medicine definitely helped.

But I have to admit, it makes me angry, so, so very angry every single time it happens.  I just can't even think rationally about the topic because I see red.  I picture the sign outside an office I saw earlier in the week proclaiming that they sell marijuana medical cards.  I think of the coupons I used to see for the cards in the newspaper when we lived in California.  I think of people holding signs by the rode that the traveling "doctor" who writes cards was in and that you can buy one if you have $250 in your bank account.  The reality of medical marijuana doesn't match what the people who originally proposed the bills promised.  It is very much a free for all. If you have the money you can get a card.

And it bothers me so much that a federally illegal substance is making my daughter have a frightening allergic reaction, and yet if I call the police they'll tell me that nothing can be done because "I'm sure he has a card" they assured me last time.  It bothers me that the department of justice has announced that they won't do anything about the marijuana issue in the states, while going after homeschoolers who have had their international right to educate their children violated. I'm furious that they're spending money and time to go to court and have a homeschooling family deported back to their own country, because apparently that's a great use of their resources, but they've decided that their own drug laws don't need enforcing.

I'm actually calmer this morning than I was last night.  I don't feel like throwing anything or yelling.

Last night I kept thinking back to one of my political science classes where we talked about how a man has a right to do a thing until in encroaches on another's right.  We have a right to swing our arm only until in encroaches on the space that another's nose inhabits.  Somehow with these mixed up state laws people have a right to smoke, but that right over shadows my daughter's right to be able to breath.

I've got to find a state where marijuana is still illegal and move there.  Or at least find a house without neighbors who are so close that their drug use is being breathed in, in our home.


  1. Liberal ideas always seem to have unintended consequences or gee, don't work out quite as they expected... ie. Obamacare, welfare, "medical" marijuana, etc.

  2. My thoughts on the whole process are mixed. At the risk of drawing aggro from Mama Bear (for whom I have maximal respect), I'm not in favour of blanket bans on marijuanna unless we can blanket ban cigarettes and alcohol too - that mirrors my opinion on the draft, which you may recall.

    Having said that, when I drink, I have a responsibility to keep my drunkenness in my own space. When I smoke legal substances, there's an expectation I do so in an area where I won't aggravate the allergies or sensitivities of those around me. The same should go with any atmospheric contaminant. If I was smoking in my livingroom and the smell/second hand smoke was bleeding over into the next apartment, that'd be legally actionable, not to mention really crummy manners.

    I used to be a little less firm on that rule (being of the belief that one's home is one's castle), but your ongoing problems with Sadie's allergies have taught me otherwise.

  3. Though, having said that, it always amuses me how all issues automatically become political.

    We certainly wouldn't want to think about the unintended consequences of Stand Your Ground Laws?

    It also amuses me that the people who rant about the lack of liberty inherent to medicare reform but are in favour of the restriction of things on other medical grounds... such as drug use.

  4. To be fair (and I'm saying this as a staunch conservative) liberals are not the only ones advocating for legalizing marijuana. Ron Paul is advocate in chief of that line.

    A few years ago, friends of mine went skiing in Breckenridge, CO and all the oxygen bars doubled as pot bars after hours. People kept asking my friends if they brought their med cards.

    The problem with anything you smoke is you can't control it when someone is allergic as it gets "in the air." My neighbor smokes cigarettes but she knows my son has asthma so she doesn't smoke around him even out doors out of consideration. Unfortunately, if they can legally do it, most people are not that considerate.

    I agree, the medical marijuana bus has de-railed majorly.

  5. isn't pot illegal in Michigan? why didn't you call the cops?

  6. Michigan's like California unforunately... "Medically" it's legal here now... which pretty much means that it is legal.

  7. Anonymous, I'm all for restricting things that affect other people. I wouldn't mind it as much I'm certain if any encroachment on other's rights (ie my child's right to breath) meant that that action had to stop immediately and couldn't be done in that vicinity. Or, you know, if it were actually restricted to people who had serious medical need for it, rather than being handed out if you have enough money to buy the card.

    But I'm not a libertarian and I think that's abundantly clear if you've read this blog much.

    And yeah, this is a political issue because there's a federal law on the books that should be protecting my child and the federal government and states are not protecting her. I've hand numerous conversations with everyone from law makers to sheriff's to deputies about it and honestly, it's alarmingly political.

    My personal wish is that the law on the books would be enforced to protect my child. I guess I'm with you in being disappointed that this has to be political, but it is, since lawmakers and those who have the power to protect her are selectively enforcing the laws and refusing to do so.

  8. So sorry you are going though this.
    I live in Texas. I don't think it will ever be legal here. Even with my pain and medical problems, I am ok with that.

  9. I can understand your anger; the whole situation just screams, "Not fair!" I wonder if a doctor's note about the seriousness of your daughter's allergies would hold any weight with the police--or with your neighbors? What a scary situation!

  10. I am SO sorry you;re going through this!

    Your poor little girl.......

    xoxoxoHang in there.

  11. Pot is still illegal here in Utah :) It's a beautiful state and we've found a wonderful Catholic niche here.

  12. I'm torn on this one, honestly.

    Marijuana is an allergen and migraine inducer to some people, yes. So are:

    -tobacco smoke
    -perfumes and fragrances
    -certain cooking oils (a friend of mine had to be rushed to the ER because the fumes from cooking peanut oil caused a potentially fatal reaction)

    So it's hard for me to say that pot should be illegal due to allergy concerns. I don't enjoy the prospect of potentially failing a drug test because I was sitting too close to the smoking section at a concert though.

    For medicinal purposes, there are methods of ingestion that do not cause secondhand smoke-tinctures, edibles, heck I think even pills are in the near future. Even devices like vaporizers can reduce the effect on bystanders. We even have nicotine patches, why can't pot be consumed in the same manner?


  13. To be honest Catherine, I'm not sure why (other than the obvious fact of it helping Sadie) but I think a pill form would make me at least see it as more legitimate and I wouldn't argue that at all. Maybe it's because doctor's seem more careful about prescribing pill these days than they do the cards to pot? I would totally be all for that.

    It's probably also because the area I'm from is a wash in this stuff, so back home we're breathing it constantly... at least in pill form it would have less of an effect on other people!

    So I guess my big problem with it is with the method of delivery!

  14. I totally understand that!

    I don't have any moral opposition to pot use, I just don't particularly like it when people do it around me. Same with cigarettes.

    I know in Washington (or at least in Seattle), if you have a prescription you can get various types of edibles-candies, brownies, cookies, etc. A pill would at least be less fattening ;).

    It does affect how quickly it can get into the bloodstream though, so I understand that for chronic (heh) pain patients, a more immediate relief is preferred. I've known people who use it medicinally, and I've found that the people who truly need it for pain management are the most considerate about it.

  15. From B.Thomas

    I feel your frustration.........as once a nurse. There is a pill form of this that is man-made and works wonders for those who fit the " medical marijuana" criteria. IT IS NOT THE SMOKING kind. When we started administering this in 2001 to our patients receiving chemo for cancer, MS, ACLS patients...(I freaked out I wasn't giving my patients marijuana)! I've had nothing to do with drugs other than living with the pain of others who have.... One of our doctors was big into research and here is the thing. The marinol pills are man made thc.....no need to have health grad pot farms...etc. The pill form helps with all the side effects of the diseases it was intended for WITH OUT THE POT SMOKING HIGH.......(and encroachment of others).Its maddening and frustrating that people can not see the harmful effects of drugs.....sadly there are so many adults that think it is not a big deal and so many shows on tv that glorify this behavior....sorry for the rant but this gets me irate as well. Especially when I hear from nurses still working, hospital administration trying to ok smoking pot in the hospital rooms...with asthma patients and RSV babies around the corner....urrrgghhh....are you freaking kidding me? Don't even get me started on cigarette smoking....... So sorry you have to go through this.....I will pray for your little ones and family (and this crazy world).

  16. As someone who is a medical marijuana candidate who plans on using it for my health issues it's things like this that are inconsiderate. I would never smoke in my house for one, but to know I'm making a neighbor sick doesn't sit well with me. Have you tried talking to your neighbor and explaining the smell is going into her room? It's possible they are unaware of the smoke going in.

  17. Hi Lexie (and it's great to hear from you!)! The hardest part here is that I can't figure out where it's coming from. In the past I thought it was one of three houses across the street, but for it to be this strong in our house I think it's got to be closer. But since I'm not sure which one it's coming from I haven't been brave enough to go up to any doors to ask.

    Last time the people were informed and their solution (which didn't work) was to burn incense at the same time and say they weren't doing it anymore... which was why we had to move.

    I think it would probably be perfectly fine if whoever it was wasn't opening their windows to clear out the smoke (at least that's my guess!).

    It's definitely one of the problems with being in the city! I'm hoping we'll at least be able to move someplace where we'd have more space surrounding us next year when Paul's done with school because it seems like we're experiencing this more and more!


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