I no longer smoke marijuana.   It’s not because I think it’s bad for me or that it is a menace to society- it just stopped being fun.  I went from getting high and thinking everything was hysterical to getting high and thinking I had brain cancer.  But this Michael Phelps situation has got me thinking back to my marijuana smoking days.  A great majority of which happened in Charleston, SC.

I lived in Charleston in the late 90’s.   This was the golden age of Charleston.  When Radcliffe St. was considered sketchy and Spring St. was outright dangerous.  You could still be drinking at Red Hots on King St. at seven in the morning and Marion Park was basically a homeless shelter.  Instead of an Apple Store you had Horse and Kart, instead of some shitty antique store you had Clara’s Coffee.  There were artists every where, Wentworth (now McConnell) Dorm was so disgusting girls were afraid to enter, and the workers at King Street Station were still assholes and we loved them for it.

And everybody was smoking pot.  And when I say everybody, I mean EVERYBODY.   If you met someone who didn’t smoke pot you felt like you were meeting a unicorn in the woods.  We smoked so much pot a lot of us forgot it was illegal.  That made for some awkward situations at Slightly North of Broad.  Marijuana was just a normal part of our day.  Like breakfast.  For a while, I thought it was issued.

The town was built for smoking pot.  There are fun little walks to take, interesting nooks and crannies to explore, Juanita Greenberg’s chicken burritos.  It was a smoker’s paradise.

But getting stoned in Charleston now is just confusing.  I walk into Urban Outfitters and see the Garden Theatre.  People think I’m crazy when I see young girls walking down Cannon Street and ask them if they’re alright.  And when I ask for coffee at the antique store where Clara’s used to be, they ask me to leave.

Those days are just a memory now.  A harder and harder to recall memory.  Maybe one day I’ll get the urge to smoke again.  And if it strikes, I bet it will be on a warm Saturday morning in Charleston, with nothing to do all day but wander.

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