Marijuana is never ‘just’ anything

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In my day-to-day work life, I often find myself talking people into doing things for my organization. Sometimes I catch myself saying, “It’s just three minutes of live news,” or “It’s just a speaking engagement with 50 middle school students.”

I will make a concerted effort from this day forward to stop saying “just.”

In this powerful piece by Robert Charles, who grew up in Maine and served as assistant secretary of state under Colin Powell, he recounts hearing from a father who is haunted by a comment he made to his son years ago: “everything in moderation … it was just marijuana.” The father admitted he didn’t want to create waves. He wanted to maintain his relationship with his son.

So, as many have and still do, he minimized smoking marijuana because of the information we have all heard: It’s no huge deal; it’s a rite of passage. It’s just pot.

But, as Charles put it in his column:

“Then things changed, he got distant. Other drugs, heroin. He tried to stop.” The father started to ramble. The law’s fault. The criminal justice system. His son had been stealing. Treatment. Friends who weren’t friends. More treatment. Profanity. Exasperation.

I listened. Sometimes that was all I could do. He had come to tell someone. He was looking for something, and I sensed I could not give it to him.

“So, you see, that was three years ago. I was a good dad, said everything in moderation … it was just marijuana.”

He looked up at me sharply. I knew there was more. Finally, it came.

“Last month, I went up there, top of the mountain, where he always skied. I took the ashes of my son, in a shoe box. I held him in a shoe box. The same son I had held 21 years ago as a baby. And I sprinkled his ashes there…”

Twenty years ago we lost 14,000 kids to overdoes; last year it was 52,000. There’s nothing JUST about it.

Click here to read the entire article. And if I ever ask you to do something for me and say the word “just,” remind me that you would have done it. However you JUST don’t feel like it.