"You sip booze, you’re a social drinker or — if a gulper — a drunk. Puff on cigarettes, you’re a smoker. You’re never a recreationist."
Writes George Skelton in an L.A. Times piece with the headline "The problems with rushing to legalize marijuana for stoner use in California." He's trying to shape opinion against Proposition 64, which would "legalize marijuana use for anyone 21 and older." Skelton is being pedantic about language, but he doesn't notice the problem with saying "legalize" when marijuana trade and possession remain a crime under federal law.
Skelton thinks the word "stoner" should be used to refer to all marijuana use that is not "medical." He seems to think that "stoner" corresponds to drinker (for alcohol) and smoker (for tobacco smoking) and that "recreational" is an inappropriate euphemism. But "recreational" was only needed to distinguish "medical," and "medical marijuana" is the real scam — politically useful to get nice people to go along with halfway legalization and politically perverse in that it invites people who halfway care about law to cheat their way into access. Only the completely honest sticklers for truth and law are left on the outside.
Skelton wants the more negative word — "stoner" — but I think that "recreational" is too negative. It suggests that an individual's use of a mind-altering drug is — if not to treat a physiological ailment — just for fun. But drugs like marijuana can be used — non-medically — to heighten aesthetic awareness (to appreciate music and art), to open up a religious experience, to improve sexual relationships, and to alter routine thinking patterns — perhaps enhancing one's ability to see the repression inherent in laws that bar us from choosing what we do with our minds and bodies.
You need some human flesh on those bones, Skelton.
AND: If you didn't laugh at that last line, maybe you would if you had used some marijuana.