I was introduced to marijuana by a white, a black, and a Mexican - proving all races do it the same. The D.A.R.E. Program made me curious about marijuana in 5th grade, and by the time I was in 9th grade, I wanted to try it. It wasn't a shady figure behind a dumpster introducing me to drugs... It was my friends.

I finally had the chance to try marijuana, and I'll never forget it.

It was a spring day in Draper, Utah. The catfish smelling trees were in bloom, and I had just passed all 57 of them on the walk home from school. The moment I got home, I laid on my bed and the door bell rang.

Ding Dong!

My dad yelled, "Valerie!"


I ran downstairs and was surprised to see 3 boys from middle school! We were cool at school, but I didn't know they knew where I lived. My dad left as I stood there perplexed by their presence. "What's up guys?" I asked. The boys looked around all shifty eyed and asked: "You wanna smoke weed?"

"Yes, I've got the perfect spot!"

I didn't give it a second thought.

We trekked across an open field (that is now) Honeybee Park in the most Mormon suburb of Draper, Utah. We hopped a fence, and nestled beneath a willow tree on the banks of the East Jordan Canal.

The boys pulled out a bag of what looked like herbs and spices, and a pipe fashioned out of tin foil. They were ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the "red hairs and the crystals!" "Bro, the crystals!" I'm pretty sure I got more high hitting the tin foil pipe than the marijuana, but I did it, and no doubt, something shifted in my perception.

I went from thinking a million thoughts a minute, to taking a deep breath and noticing the beauty of nature all around. I took another calm, deep breath and saw a mother duck stroll by with 7 baby ducklings. The clouds were the perfect puffy cumulonimbus I've always dreamed about living on. The sun was gently shining on my face and reflecting sparkles off the water. I couldn't believe it! The moment was so perfect I could have cried. This was real life happening every day. Have I always noticed these details?! No. In fact, for the first time ever in my life, I'd never been more conscious, and more grateful to be alive.

I instantly had an appreciation for nature, and a sudden consideration for my parents. Prior this moment, I was acting like God's gift to them. High, I realized they were God's gift to me, and I wouldn't be here without them. I could be more of an asset. I could do more chores. I could help around the house. I could take initiative to make their lives easier.

The only thing that made me paranoid was the fact that it's illegal. Knowing I was with these boys, and that I'd have to answer the simple question of "what'd you do?". As much as I wanted to be honest and tell my parents that I just smoked weed, I couldn't.

It's illegal.

The D.A.R.E. Program taught us that a Schedule 1 Controlled is "the most dangerous", "with no medical benefits", lumped in the same category as heroin, meth, and crack cocaine. Using a Scheduled 1 Controlled Substance is harshly prosecuted in America. People were in jail just for trying it. And even though it's banned, it was easy for my peers to get? And even though I knew this much about it, it didn't stop me from trying it. All it made me want to do was quietly pursue this incredible drug.

I instantly realized the bad in marijuana came from it being illegal, banned, and harshly prosecuted. I had such a pleasant experience, I wanted to share it with my parents, but I was scared my parents would call the cops!

Feeling what I felt,

With all the positive, motivating thoughts, I wondered: "Why would America ban marijuana? Why on Earth would any one ever ban a plant? This is God's creation, and I've never felt closer to God." I didn't even feel "high", but instead, a positive shift in my thoughts.

Marijuana is a calm revelation.

Clearly, the people against marijuana have never tried it. If they did, they wouldn't be spreading such WHACK information. I did not risk my life or end up pregnant. I smoked and felt a deeper appreciation for life.

Because marijuana is lumped as a Schedule I Controlled Substance with other drugs, I began to wonder: What about the other drugs? Clearly, the people against marijuana have no idea what they're talking about.

If this is what marijuana is like...

I wonder what other drugs are like...

©Val Douroux 2022