cannabisnews.com: Teacher Has Story About Using Drugs 










††Teacher Has Story About Using Drugs 

Posted by FoM on June 06, 2001 at 10:18:12 PT
By Thom Marshall†
Source: Houston Chronicle †

A high school teacher wrote in a long e-mail that, up until a few months ago, he had been a regular user of marijuana for the past quarter-century. His experience provides much to ponder in the ongoing debate about the nation's drug policies. This teacher called himself a marijuana addict and said that although he seldom spent more than $20 a week to satisfy his addiction, he now is paying a steep price that can't be measured in dollars. 

It has cost him a relationship with a woman he loves, and he fears it will cost him his career. He said he never tried to sneak off and smoke pot during school hours but fired up when he got home each day and in the morning before leaving for work. "On my worst days, I went to school high," he said, "hiding out in my classroom, hoping that I could disguise my stonedness from students and teachers. And I was successful. At least I was never called on it. No meetings with the principal about abnormal behavior. The few people who I confided in were shocked that I had any involvement in drugs at all. In 25 years of getting high, I have never been caught with pot, no police record of any kind." What it took to hide his habit:He bought pot from the same person for the past 10 years, someone who lives in another city where the teacher used to live. The teacher said that even after moving to Houston a few years ago, he would drive back there when his stash ran low. He "didn't want a soul in Houston to know" that he used pot but eventually did confide in his girlfriend, asking her "to help me break my dirty little habit." She tried. One day last summer, upon discovering he had left a short time earlier on a pot-buying trip, she took off to stop him. "I was nearly to Columbus when she first caught up with me," he said. "Tailgating me down I-10, she flashed her lights, waving me over to the shoulder. I ignored her. She pulled alongside me, then began to ease over in my lane to force me off the road." He stopped, and she begged him to return home. But, enraged by her dangerous tactics, he told her to leave him alone and he drove on. She followed. "She tried to force me off the road again," he said. "This time we bumped each other, sending us both spinning down the interstate." They stopped and exchanged more words. Both vehicles were damaged but still drivable. A cop happened along and stopped to ask what happened. "I told him it was girlfriend problems, that she knew I was going to see someone else and she couldn't stand the thought," the teacher said. "After a few more minutes of lies, he let me go, no ticket, just a puzzled look as I pulled away leaving them both standing on the side of the road." The truth comes out:The teacher later learned his girlfriend provided a more factual account of the situation and that the cop started to radio arrangements to have the teacher followed and then busted with his dealer. But the girlfriend talked the cop out of it because it could have cost the teacher his job. A bit later, on his way back to Houston, the teacher was stopped by the same cop, who found a bag of pot and a bong in the car. The cop said he wouldn't arrest the teacher for the pot but wrote him a citation for drug paraphernalia, saying it wouldn't show up on his record. The teacher, however, is convinced that when he applies to work in a school district and his background is checked, "if their search is thorough enough, they will see that ticket." "Everywhere I apply, they will know," he said. "Sooner or later, they will know." Sometime after this experience, and after breaking up with his girlfriend, the teacher joined a support group and now is in his fourth pot-free month. His future remains uncertain. So what do you think? Does this story justify continuing the drug war against marijuana users? Or does the teacher's 25-year history with pot demonstrate the drug war's failure? Should we escalate the war so as to catch and punish more people like this teacher? Or should we drop the war and concentrate on education to help people understand pot's potential dangers, and on treatment for those who have pot problems? Thom Marshall's e-mail address is: thom.marshall chron.comSource: Houston Chronicle (TX)Author: Thom MarshallPublished: June 5, 2001Copyright: 2000 Houston Chronicle Contact: viewpoints chron.com Website: http://www.chron.com/ Related Articles:Treatment Is Key To Drug War Efforts http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread7754.shtmlDrug War Weak, Many Readers Say http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread7466.shtml 

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Comment #22 posted by Dan B on June 08, 2001 at 10:03:36 PT:

Thanks, Pontifex
Of course, if he does plagiarize, I hope he chooses to correct my spelling (career, not carerr).Thanks for the props.Dan B
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Comment #20 posted by Pontifex on June 07, 2001 at 10:45:42 PT:

Props to Dan B
Dan, that letter was superb. You really catalogued the truths behind Marshall's article. Let's hope he plagiarizes you at length in his next column. :)
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Comment #19 posted by Doug on June 07, 2001 at 09:13:28 PT

Another teacher
I once had a friend who was an elementary school teacher, and smoked pot like the teacher in the article, only he grew his own, and very good it was. He was a very good teacher, whom his students loved, but eventually he returned to graduate school and got a degree in computer science since he was not being supported as a teacher. He is quite productive at his job. Also, he was diagnosed as bi-polar (used to be manic-depressive) and the pot use was obviously self-medication. Perhps the teacher in the article was self-medicating as well, and now something "worse" will come out.
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Comment #18 posted by kaptinemo on June 07, 2001 at 05:44:06 PT:

No crossed wires that I can see
Seems to me the last sentence in the article points out the problem with this (apocryphal) tale. Which is worse: having a teacher whose "problem" (and you have to ask, as Mr. Marshall does, as to just who had the "problem", the user or the society) was far less debilitating than prison ever could be, (and far less of a danger than an alcohol-fueled rage would have been to his students) or having someone stripped of their family, their job, their career, their home, their bank account, their freedom and possibly their life through prison violence? I believe that Mr. Marshall is not being obtuse in any way. He is merely pointing out one more hypocrisy that society engages in...to those who are usually oblivious to them.In short, he's not addressing us. He's trying to rouse Joe Sixpack from his DrugWar progaganda-induced slumber aand get him to use the Ol' Gray Matters for more than an alcohol sponge. 
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Comment #17 posted by dddd on June 07, 2001 at 03:49:36 PT

I dont know?
I guess you could be right Dan B,,,,but if this was intended to be somespecial subtle attempt to encourage an end to the WoDs,,then I think hedid a weird job of it with the strange fairy tale about the dope feind...dddd
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Comment #16 posted by Dan B on June 07, 2001 at 03:46:01 PT:

My Letter to Thom Marshall
Dear Thom Marshall,Thank you for your recent article, "Teacher Has Story About Using Drugs." Rather than highlighting reasons why the drug war should be continued, it reveals some important truths about the drug war, namely that it causes much more paranoia, destruction and crazed behavior than the drugs it seeks to eliminate. It is clear that the man in the story had a habit of smoking marijuana, but I believe that his discomfort surrounding that habit is tied more to the social stigma placed on marijuana as a result of the drug war than to any actual harm he was doing to himself or anyone else. The article shows that he smoked for 25 years while maintaining a carerr as an educator, and nobody noticed any problems. One of the few people he confided in (his girlfriend) acted like a crazed lunatic when she found out he was going out to get some marijuana, which reveals to me that the girlfriend had more of a problem with his use of pot than he had. Anyone who would cause a traffic accident to keep another person from getting something as benign as marijuana must have an awfully flawed perception of ethical and moral responsibility and a keenly-honed paranoid streak. I recommend immediate institutionalization for this woman before she harms someone else.As for the pot-smoking teacher? Obviously, the man has been victimized by the war on drugs. He has bought into the societal myth that people who consume marijuana are pathetic, worthless, dangerous souls who will never amount to anything and deserve the harshest treatment we can legally provide. The fact is, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans just like him--people with strong moral convictions and long histories of productive service to their families and communities. Drug warriors who break down people's doors in drug raids, ransack homes, arrest and strip search those found to have illegal drugs, harshly fine and incarcerate such people, destroy their employment opportunities, seize their valuable possessions, deny them student loans and federal welfare assistance (thanks largely to drug warrior zealot Senator Phil Gramm), and encourage landlords to evict them from apartments and other rented properties are far more to blame for the harms associated with drug use in this country than the drug themselves.Because of the drug war, this productive educator has been forced to take his business to the black market. Were the stuff legal, even in small quantities, he could have spent less money buying smaller quantities, thus reducing the chances that he would constantly have a supply at home, thus reducing the chances that he would get "hooked" in the first place. Were it legal, he could have paid 25 years worth of taxes on $20 worth of marijuana per week. Were it legal, he could have sought help with conquering his habit in an open discussion with his doctor or some other respected professional without fear of legal repurcussions, rather than seeking "help" from friends who may well act as bizarre as his girlfriend did upon hearing of his problem. Finally, anyone who can smoke the herb for 25 years and never escalate use beyond $20 per week should be considered a poster child for moderation. $20 per week represents about 1/4 of an ounce of very poor quality marijuana, or an even more minute quantity of higher quality marijuana. Such use is equivalent to having a glass or two of wine or a couple of beers each night after work, something that thousands of Americans do on a regular basis, and they are considered moderate drinkers. Again, the stigma surrounding marijuana use has been far more damaging to this individual than the marijuana use itself.Again, thank you for your article. I always appreciate your insightful commentary on this topic, and I admire that you have taken the time to address the issue once again.Sincerely,(Dan B)
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Comment #15 posted by Dan B on June 07, 2001 at 03:07:47 PT:

Consider the Source; Read Between Lines
Notice that the author of this article is Thom Marshall, a reporter who has remained steadfastly on the side of ending the drug war. I think that this article is a kind of sideways attempt to get people like us to write in and show why this person's story does not justify the drug war. Consider the wording of that final paragraph:"So what do you think? Does this story justify continuing the drug war against marijuana users? Or does the teacher's 25-year history with pot demonstrate the drug war's failure? Should we escalate the war so as to catch and punish more people like this teacher? Or should we drop the war and concentrate on education to help people understand pot's potential dangers, and on treatment for those who have pot problems?"Those sound to me like rhetorical questions. To any clear-headed reader, the answers are quite obviously as follows: "I think this guy's girlfriend has a screw loose, and so does he for buying into her bigotry;" "No, it does not;" "His 25-year history with pot demonstrates the fact that the drug war is ineffectual. Also, he is likely white, so it is much easier for him to evade suspicion;" "No, we should not escalate the war. To do so would be stupid and even more counterproductive;" "Yes, we should stop the war and begin telling people the truth about all drugs, including cannabis, which is far less harmful than other psychoactive substances." I know Thom Marshall is already getting some good responses (great letter, Juan Costo!), but I'll send him my two cents as well. To be posted later . . .Dan B
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Comment #14 posted by MikeEEEEE on June 06, 2001 at 17:30:05 PT

Addiction
Cigarettes, sex, food, alcohol could be addictive, just to name a few, but the list goes on. Marijuana isn't addictive, the problem isn't with marijuana users, it's the psyhcology of this person. If they taxed marijuana like they do alcohol they could give people $$$ for addiction problems, it could be a possible solution for the addictive personality, there will always be people addicted to some non-sense, give me a break.
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Comment #13 posted by Just a thought on June 06, 2001 at 16:12:24 PT

Addicted my a**
Anyone ever hear of "Weed whores?" Ever suck a d**k to buy weed? Get off it. Go to an AA meeting and find the real meaning of addiction. This guy's girlfriend was more harmful than weed. 
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Comment #12 posted by BirdHeart on June 06, 2001 at 14:53:21 PT:

I used medicinal in Cali
before i moved over 2 months ago....now i've been dry for over 2 months...but in cali my medication cost me about a 100 a week, buying a 1/2oz of the highest grade every month.Now in virginia i see a doctor tomorrow and will probably be on darvocet and marinol, i've been on percocet for the last 2 months and i KNOW that its alot worse for me than pot ever was...i wish they would make it friggin schedule II already
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Comment #11 posted by dddd on June 06, 2001 at 14:44:18 PT

what a pile of CRAP
If some turkey is going to make up such a fable,at least theycould try and make it seem real.,,,,or,,,it's possible that thisis an actual account,,,from a mentally imbalanced wayfarer.,,,andin that case,the part of pot,could be replaced by masturbation,,twinkies,,or misletoe......dddd
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Comment #10 posted by Kevin M. Hebert on June 06, 2001 at 13:30:28 PT:

What is this crap?
If anyone thinks a $20 a week weed habit is an addiction, they should think again. It's not. Not even close. This entire article is just stupid; I don't know why they bothered to print it. Why not print an article from one of the 90 million Americans who tried weed and didn't become addicted?
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Comment #9 posted by QuietCrusader on June 06, 2001 at 13:28:36 PT:

Propaganda pure and simple...
This is pure fluff.
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Comment #8 posted by Pontifex on June 06, 2001 at 12:38:24 PT:

Bravo
Juan, that was a fantastic letter. I'd never considered how the incentive to buy in bulk might cause occasional users to become compulsive, daily users instead. An excellent point, and I hope Thom Marshall quotes it!
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Comment #7 posted by Pontifex on June 06, 2001 at 12:13:00 PT:

His only "problem" was cannabis prohibition
Billygoatfunk and FoM nailed it. This guy's problem was society's attitude towards cannabis, not the herb itself.Nobody ever suspected that he ever smoked pot, so it didn't impact his work in any noticeable way. He never got high on the job. Were it not for a meddling girlfriend and mendacious law enforcement, his cannabis use wouldn't have been an issue, according to this story.What, exactly, is his problem again?$20 a week is nothing when some people pay $50 a week to support their unhealthy nicotine habits. And with legalization, that $20 would be more like $2. So the money isn't a problem.Also, he never mentioned any of the benefits that pot smoking provided. If he was willing to go so far out of his way to get it, it must have been giving him something he wanted. What was that? It's not addiction, unless he has a severely compulsive personality.For my own part, I've been pretty much a daily smoker for years, but due to lack of connections I haven't had any over a month. Like most people on this message board, I can take it or leave it, though I prefer to take it, of course.This article argues for the legalization of marijuana, not its continued prohibition.
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Comment #6 posted by Juan Costo on June 06, 2001 at 12:12:59 PT

Just sent this to Thom
Dear Thom,After reading todayís column I feel compelled to write. Iím confident that marijuana legalization would lead to decreased marijuana use and Iíd like to share with you why. Like the teacher profiled, I too once belonged to that rare 1.5% of marijuana smokers who use the drug daily. It didnít use to be that way. I grew up in Spain, where marijuana has been decriminalized since the early 1980ís. When living in Madrid I would buy roughly $5 worth of hashish weekends, all of which would be consumed by Saturday night. I never touched the stuff on weekdays. Upon moving to the United States I no longer had the option of buying marijuana in small quantities. With the exception of dense urban areas, marijuana is typically sold in quarter ounce or larger quantities. One quarter ounce of marijuana contains enough pot to get someone high daily for weeks. Imagine if every time you wanted to enjoy a bottle of wine you had to buy ten cases. Chances are youíd end up drinking a lot more wine than intended. Marijuana prohibition has the perverse effect of encouraging daily use. Dealers are compelled to sell in large quantities because they donít want to get caught holding the bag. Buyers are compelled to buy in large quantities because they too hope to minimize the number of illegal transactions that could possibly put them at risk. No doubt the teacher profiled tried to keep his trips to Houston to a minimum. The end result is that a recreational activity which should be restricted to weekends ends up taking place on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. Thereís more. I left Spain to attend college. Upon arriving in conservative Southern Virginia I soon found that it was far easier for me to purchase pot than legal alcohol. Iím talking door-to-door delivery service. Teenagers in this country have an easier time buying pot than beer. A regulated market would restrict access to the drug by children and favor occasional use of marijuana over the current system, which encourages abuse. Granted, a few aging baby boomers who lack the black market contacts so readily available to this countryís youth might pick up the pipe, but overall use would go down. Thatís my two cents. Please feel free to use it in future columns and edit as necessary. If you have any questions Iíd be more than happy to answer them for you. 
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Comment #5 posted by Dan Hillman on June 06, 2001 at 11:51:09 PT

How lucky for him...
...that his maniac girlfriend left him.> "She tried to force me off the road again," he said. "This time we bumped each other, sending us both spinning down the interstate."
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Comment #4 posted by MDG on June 06, 2001 at 11:48:22 PT:

The story sounds like hooey to me.
It sounds exactly like one of those irritating "inspirational messages" people chain-mail on the internet; "This is the story of a sick little girl that loved butterflies, because she knew they were God's creation. One evening, while praying before bed, she asked God for the opportunity to see another butterfly before she died. The next morning, while her wheelchair was being rolled toward the car, a butterfly flew down, and landed on the sidewalk in front of her. She thanked God, as her wheelchair crushed the butterfly."Okay, kidding aside, this sounds like a fictional account of reefer-addiction.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 06, 2001 at 11:39:22 PT

My 2 cents
I found this article last night and set it up and looked at it and decided to wait to post it until today because it puzzles me. $20 a week wouldn't buy very much. That's what confused me. What I see the problem is fear of repercussion because it is illegal. That will make even the most together person seem crazy. Fear! It's Prohibition not Marijuana that is the problem.
Freedom To Exhale
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Comment #2 posted by Alan on June 06, 2001 at 11:17:39 PT

It seems to me...
It seems to me that this gentleman was a person who suffered from an addictive personality to begin with. I have smoked pot for about 16 years and I can say I don't believe for one moment that pot is addictive. I don't get mood swings when I don't have any. I don't spend days looking for the stuff. I believe some people will get addicted to anything that they try. It's built into their person. I hardly think that a person who is addicted to pot would only consume an 1/8 per week. He said he only spent $20.00 per week. Those are just my thoughts on the subject.
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Comment #1 posted by billygoatfunk on June 06, 2001 at 10:44:22 PT

Looks like...
Sounds like he was still a productive member of society and his only crime, if any, was submitting himself to the negative cannabis stigma [though I have sympathy if he felt the cannabis dependence was detremential in other ways]. If we could all speak out and let everyone know how sucessful we are, we could certainly combat this stereotype. Once again, I must remind everyone that the technology (eg sniffers- handheld detectors for seeking out bomb and drug odors, and infared sensors) will only make is easier for the police to catch you. Therefore, only sensible reform of drug laws will allow us any peace.-bgf 
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