One of the holidays that is most notorious for the consumption of alcohol is St. Patrick’s Day, but celebrating with alcohol is de rigueur for many other holidays as well. Considering all the problems that alcohol causes, the practice of celebrating holidays by binging on it is ludicrous—especially when considering how cannabis is a great substitute for alcohol.
Alcohol can cause life-threatening health problems, from cirrhosis of the liver to cardiovascular disease, with almost 90,000 deaths a year, making it consistently one of the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S. Intrinsically linked to domestic violence, sexual assaults, homicides, anti-social behavior and property crimes, violent aggression is twice as likely to occur with the use of alcohol than with any other drug. Add it all up and alcohol abuse costs the U.S. almost $250 billion a year.
One thing for certain is that the answer to alcohol abuse is not prohibition—the U.S. tried that in the 1920s and 1930s and not only did it not lead to any significant decrease in consumption, rather it was responsible for the rise of big-time organized crime with a 24 percent increase in criminal offenses, 78 percent increase in murders and the corruption of public officials on a national scale. To top it all off, poisonings from dangerous moonshine skyrocketed with arrests for drunken driving increasing by over 80 percent.
The failure of alcohol prohibition to stem the problems associated with alcohol consumption calls for a more rational and realistic approach. For starters, we need to recognize that very large numbers of people like to alter their consciousness. Wanting to alter one’s consciousness seems to be so intrinsically a human behavior that it could reasonably be hypothesized that there is a genetic predisposition at its base. Logic and common sense dictate that another solution to the problems caused by alcohol be found.
Cannabis contains properties that can alter one’s consciousness, and it is one of its greatest attributes. Rather than being maligned, prohibited and criminalized, cannabis consumption should be encouraged and extolled. Cannabis is the very definition of what holidays stand for– fostering camaraderie, socialization, connectedness and tolerance as well as promoting mind and body consciousness expansion—to bring individuals, families and communities together in peace and goodwill for joyful and celebratory events.
Cannabis is communally shared with the passing of joints, pipes, hookahs and vaporizers. Although a person might momentarily wince from a germ point of view from passing around a glass of wine or a bottle of beer, hardly anyone turns down a hit from a joint because someone had it between their lips a moment before. Cannabis kindles an extraordinary bonding experience.
Part of the communal experience of cannabis is sharing one’s prized stash. People may bring store bought wine and spirits, but few bring their own home made brews. With cannabis many bring their own home grown crop, proud of their cultivation skills and wanting to share their bounty with family and friends.
“Rather than being maligned, prohibited and criminalized, cannabis consumption should be encouraged and extolled.”
Sumptuous meals is another aspect of holiday celebrations bringing to the fore another aspect that is unique to cannabis—its ability to be incorporated into foods. For St. Patrick’s Day, serve infused corned beef and cabbage, mix hash into burgers for the July 4 barbeque, blend cannabutter into the stuffing in the Thanksgiving turkey, and use kief as a glaze on Christmas ham.
Like alcohol, cannabis comes in different strengths, so for those who want a mild celebratory experience, there are strains perfectly attenuated for that experience while those seeking hallucinogenic psychedelic experiences and who really want to a good kick, there is dabbing.
For the upcoming celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and for all holiday celebrations throughout the year, now that cannabis is legal recreationally and/or medically for over 200 million Americans, health agencies should be urging the substitution of cannabis for alcohol.
Not only will the celebrations be more fun and communal with a far less likelihood of brawls and incapacitation, celebrants will be more prone to return home safely and wake up the next day bright-eyed and bushy tailed even if they had celebrated by consuming vast quantities of cannabis and communally dabbing until the cows came home.