2018-01-12 / Columns

LEDGER COLUMNIST

Good gracious, weed stinks
Tim GULLA
LEDGER STAFF WRITER

The smell almost knocked me over when a young man walked past me in a supermarket grocery aisle the other day.

It wasn’t cologne or BO (body odor) that floored me. No, it was the unmistakeable scent of marijuana.

How would I know this unmistakable smell? I’m not a user. Never have been, never will. And let’s face it, my fairly-nerdy college roommates and I got our highs from overclocking computers to make computing tasks (i.e. video games) run faster. But I’m not an idiot. I’ve been around police agencies (local county and federal) for almost all of the past 25 years and have taken more than my fair share of drug bust photos.

That experience has led me to the personal opinion that, good gracious, weed stinks. Seriously, I can’t understand how anyone sniffs the stuff and thinks, “Yeah, that smells great.”

I also don’t understand how people who smoke marijuana don’t recognize how much the smell lingers.

The same exact smell had hit me at the same exact market the week before when a different man bundled up in winter weather gear made his way past me in an aisle. I think the man’s flannel coat likely trapped the smell in the fibers. Perhaps a vinyl coat would have been better if he wanted to avoid detection.

I even caught a whiff of the smell the other day at a local government building where people were coming in from off the street. I didn’t exactly know who the smell was coming from, but I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Several other people picked up their heads as well and started to sniff.

It was, like I say, unmistakeable.

So what’s the point in my bringing it up?

It seems like I’m noticing the smell more and more, especially lately. Out shopping. On golf courses. On the street.

It’s like people aren’t even trying to hide it any more.

It also seems like the social stigma of getting popped by police for possession is gone as well.

According to the most recent data, medical use of pot is now legal in 29 states and recreational use is now legal in eight states plus the District of Columbia. Pandora’s Box is open and it’s not just liberal-leaning states that are taking a peek inside.

Search for marijuana on the South Carolina Legislature’s bill tracking website and you’ll find plenty of attempts over the past few years to sanction the medical use of marijuana and to decriminalize possession in many cases.

One bill that was referred to the House Judiciary Committee last year, but hasn’t yet moved, specifically seeks to allow U.S. veterans diagnosed with PTSD after serving in designated combat areas to possess up to an ounce of marijuana as part of their treatment. What red-, white- and blue-loving American would oppose that?

For better, or worse, attitudes appear to be changing.

Indeed, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, 58 percent of American voters (and 79 percent of voters in the millennial age group of 18-34) say marijuana should be legal while 91 percent of all voters support the legalization of medical marijuana.

“Every party, gender, education, age and racial group supports legalization of marijuana except Republicans, who are opposed 62 – 33 percent, and voters over 65 years old, who are opposed 50 - 41 percent,” according to the poll, which was based on a survey of 1,106 people nationwide.

There was no word if the poll asked voters if they liked the smell.

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