For the last 50 years, Catherine Hiller has smoked marijuana on a more or less daily basis. There’s been no struggle, no spiralling downfall to her life, just a few good memories and a healthy looking body to blame for her drug use.
Hiller has now recounted those memories in her new novel “Just Say Yes: A Marijuana Memoir” which comes out on the carefully chosen date of April 20th.
As a previously published author, Hiller creatively details her life in present day while using a series of flashbacks to highlight the significant moments she and marijuana had throughout the last 68 years of her life.
“I wanted to show people that smoking marijuana did not make me hit rock bottom,” Hiller said.
“My story is the story of so many people who use each day. And so what? What’s the issue? What will it lead to?”
According to Dr. Igor Grant, the evidence of any long-term effects of marijuana use in adults is weak and requires more research. Large sample sizes will also be necessary to prove any lasting effects of its use on the human brain.
Hiller is a strong example of what happens to the human body when you use marijuana. It’s not much to go off of, but at 68, she looks youthful and happy.
She started using marijuana when she was 18, when a shared joint with her friend Myles in Prospect Park in Brooklyn brought on euphoric emotions. She loved the feeling and continued to use, developing a marijuana addiction as strong as someone’s addiction to a morning caffeine kick with coffee.
She’s only stopped using during pregnancy and breastfeeding and makes it clear that she never smoked around her kids. A three-year hiatus occurred after she met her current husband, Mark, as well.
But for the majority of her life, Hiller has smoked marijuana. She’s had the same dealer for 35 years, watching his clients grow greyer and older, imagining his “office” space to become a problem as they all start relaying on walkers and knee braces in old age.
She doesn’t smoke it for medical use, but just likes the feeling of using marijuana.
With cannabis under the harsh scrutiny of politics and the law, many people have been left wondering if the legalization of marijuana as a recreational drug is a good idea.
As of right now, the punishment for minority youths in most states could be as extreme as jail time and a criminal record. It could lead to more personal losses as, as we’ve seen recently in the news when a young man fell from the roof of a Bronx building while being chased from police. His only crime was reported public marijuana use.
While drug use and possession could be a high gamble with the law for some, Hiller and other marijuana advocates shed some light on the double standards with banks. It’s already been revealed that HSBC was caught laundering drug money, which would normally end up in jail time for John Doe, but the bank got off with no criminal indictments and a small fine.
Hiller has experienced these differences in race and class when it comes to law enforcement first hand. She remembers on one specific occasion simply being waved-off by a police officer when caught with lighting up in a parked car with her first husband.
And in her essay published in The New York Times, she paints a picture of what some have claimed to be a portrait of white privilege as she writes of her ordinary marijuana grab from her old dealer.
For Hiller, the memoir isn’t about sharing her lucky dodges with the law.
“Maybe I won’t get stopped,” she said. “But I wrote this not because of my privilege, but because I think it’s absurd that anyone would get stopped for this. Whatever I can do to legalize it, I will.”
With no apparent long-term effects, why not ‘say yes’ to legalizing marijuana?
The debate will no doubt continue long after Hiller’s book tour around the United States where she will promote the benefits to legalizing marijuana use in adults.
For some, it could mean easier access to using marijuana as treatment for stress, while others may just see it as a fun opportunity to try the drug’s effects, as was the case with three elderly women in Washington.
Cut Video recorded Paula, Dorothea, and Deirdre’s reaction and short-term effects of using the drug for the first time. One recalls the experience as “just like being drunk,“ while another says, “The muscles here in my neck seem not as tight and I see a lot of benefits for it.”