Mom wants pot. Now how do I send her some?
Thursday, June 16, 2011
My 83-year-old mother in Chicago called me about a month ago with what sounded like a simple request.
“I need pot,” she said.
I thought I heard her correctly. “You need a pot? OK, you thinking aluminum, cast iron or what? You want me to order it online and have it shipped to you? How much do you want to spend?” I asked.
Her response: “No, not a pot. I need pot. My doctor says I should start smoking marijuana and he says since it’s legal in California, I should just have my daughter get it for me and send it.”
Then it occurred to me. She must have been high at that very moment, because a) for all of my foibles, the heady world of marijuana is one I’ve never dabbled in (other than to tell my older kid that if I caught him doing it again I would kill him); and b)…
Wait a minute, my mother wants me to send her pot? Like via FedEx or the postal service or something? She wants me to become her dealer? Or deal with dealers and become her middle man? Is she kidding?
“You could just bring it with you on the airplane when you come and visit me,” she said. “You are still coming to visit me, right?”
As it turns out, she wasn’t kidding – not about getting it for her, not about sending it to her, not even about bringing it with me on the plane (“Jesus, mother, do you have any idea how illegal that is? Don’t you remember what happened to Paul McCartney?”). And she was indeed high when she asked me. My cousin brought her some, rolled a joint and taught her how to inhale it.
It was fabulous, she said. For the first time in many months, she was comfortable. She could eat, she could sleep and she could take the bus to the local senior center to hang out with her little old lady gang and play canasta without the excruciating pain that comes with being elderly and ill.
My mother has a half-dozen chronic conditions, two of which likely will end up killing her. She’s had chronic intractable pancreatitis – the result of a botched surgery – for more than two decades, and it’s a miracle it hasn’t yet morphed into almost-always-fatal pancreatic cancer. She has what doctors have described as a slow-growing tumor on her adrenal gland, but it’s no longer growing all that slowly. (“They keep wanting to scan me and biopsy my lymph nodes again. I tell them to shove it.”) She has a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order on file with her doctor and her attorney. She’s irritated the pot-recommending doc won’t give her the “orange sign” for her home – a sign that would tell paramedics (if anyone should defy her request and call them in an emergency) that they are not to transport her to a hospital. She can’t take prescription painkillers, because they tear up her already torn-up stomach.
IT’S LONG PAST TIME THAT WE STOPPED MAKING IT SO DIFFICULT FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT TO OBTAIN IT.
She’s not afraid of death, but she’d rather it not be so damn painful.
I am freaked out by her request. So I proceed to nervously tell everyone I know, “Hahaha, my mother wants me to send her pot. Ha. Uh. Ha.”
A few days later, a friend hands me a package. I open it, and inside is what the friend describes to me as “the good stuff.”
Lots of advice came along with the good stuff. “You can put the baggie in a jar of peanut butter and send it that way,” one person told me. “Make it into brownies and send them to her,” said another. “Pack it in coffee grounds and put a fake return address on the package,” yet another said.
So that’s what I did – I packed it in coffee, wrapped it in brown paper and threw a return address on it from the mysterious gated community of Agrestic (fans of the Mary-Louise Parker series Weeds will know what I’m talking about).
And then I proceeded to stare at the package for days. It was like “The Telltale Heart,” by Edgar Allen Poe, only instead of a beating organ, I heard sharp inhaling.
I won’t say what happened next, whether it went into the mail or in my checked luggage last week en route to Chicago. But if law enforcement wants to come and talk to me, I am colossally easy to find and I abide by a simple code: Always keep your mouth shut and never rat on your friends (fans of the film Goodfellas will know that one).
What I do know is this: Getting a sick old woman something that I could and should be able to legally grow in my yard and that would ease her pain shouldn’t be this difficult, and it shouldn’t be criminalized. Tax the hell out of those who would grow it for profit, and, like cigarettes and alcohol, slap an age requirement on it. It’s long past time that we stopped making it so difficult for those who need it to obtain it.
“Think about the great story you can write if you get arrested for this,” my mother said.
MARY DUAN is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at email@example.com.