*All names have been changed for privacy due to the stigma associated with marijuana use, think reefer madness and minorities, mass incarceration and misrule.
“Hey, what are we doing for 4/20?”
Incredulous looks are exchanged between brown eyed boys cruising down warren avenue in a golden F-150.
“What we do every day,”
Two girls, a hijabi and blonde, hide in the back behind blacked out windows, cracked just a smidge to the outside world.
“Take over the world?”
The torpedo-like rolled paper passes between their smoking fingers.
“No Ahmad*, smoke weed,”
They all chant in unity, “evverydayyy.”
Somebody coughs in the back and the driver turns up the radio.
This is the stoning Muslims are far more familiar with. The cultivation of the crop was well before Christ (BC) but it didn’t take Muslim traders long before they boarded the bhang express. Unlike the “stoning to death” imagery borne from the Old Testament, misappropriated to and misrepresented in Islamic tradition, most Muslims opt to get stoned instead. In the 10th century Muslim scholars like the Prince of Physicians were exploring the vast world science had to offer.
Socially stoners are monikered loners and lazy losers and mostly brown, but with the war on drugs propaganda losing steam, things are changing in a blunt way.
America’s 1970’s underground phrase coined and pioneered by the hippie Waldos and Deadheads, permeated our mainstream and went full holiday. Everyone and their mothers laugh nervously at the loaded numerical date of April 20th, or commonly known as 420. The boast on Saint Patrick’s Day from the beloved, boondock saints goes something like, “everyone’s Irish on Saint Patty’s day,” and the same kind of sentiment rings true above the plumes of smoke over small circles of friends and masses of hash-bashers at 4:20 PMaround the country. But it didn’t always start out that way, misnomered as a police code for catching stoners in the act, the origin story of 420 starts as a private joke of young jocks. The Waldos are given a treasure map by a friend of a friend, navy coastguard who grows somewhere in a California forest, they meet up after school at 4:20 PM and the rest is history plastered across the clocks across the duration of Quentin Tarintino’s famous Pulp Fiction.
Medical Science: Oh My!
Currently Marijuana’s holds a Schedule One title, under our government Controlled Substance Act, take it away Harvard. Meaning it has no redeeming qualities and holds more menace than medicine in society at large, which is the highest forbidden of the land. To put things into perspective; Morphine and Codeine hold Schedule Two classifications while weed is shacked up with Heroin. Its classification is poppycock if it wasn’t obvious and contrary to not only the historical use of the drug, but current research trends (1) (2) that show things like cannabis stopping breast cancer from spreading.
The gateway drug narrative is failing us – the current health crisis in America is the opium epidemic. Prescription pills and heroin ravage across socioeconomic lines. Heroin has claimed two, too many of my friends, through a string of rehab, relapse and final overdose but there seems to be some promise with this Marijuana thing. In states that have legalized Marijuana either for recreational use and more importantly medical use, have reported drops in overdoses and general abuses among their populations. Just like Hillary Clinton, it’s the clear lesser of two evils on the substance spectrum–but more people were killed in drone strikes than from Marijuana.
Muslims 4 Marijuana?
At a restaurant once in a picturesque middle of nowhere Midwestern city, a waiter whispers about Lebanese Hashish when my ethnic fish origins are probed during conversation. A quick Google search cured me of my ignorance, but not of my awkwardness. During college, I witnessed in undergrad fellow cohorts experimenting, and those most successful with flawless four OH’s were blazing between book chapters. I’ve met more Muslims who smoke weed than own dogs outside of those who do both. There are weed dealers in the heart of brick cities who swear not to sell until the sun sets, post maghrib prayer and Iftar dinners respectively, because it’s Ramadan (holy month) [narrated by friend of a friend].
But there is also the flip-side, the siren lights flashing of the haram bolice (“b” intended). Despite medical evidence and advocacy it is seen as just as taboo as alcohol. The euphoria aspect and mantra of “altered state of mind” is scrutinized, as it was against coffee during the Islamic golden age. I asked the people who are a part of the counterculture movement that was always there despite the “west”, for their thoughts on this age-old cosmic question of haram and halal:
Hind* from Fontainebleau writes; “It’s not explicitly barred in Islamic law and doesn’t impede my moral judgement. Islam concerns me with my actions that have social, ethical and political impacts rather than dwelling on the minutiae of a non-lethal herbal substance.”
Yousef* from the Paris of the Middle East weighs in; “I smoke because it helps me calm the storms that are my thoughts. I don’t think it’s haram because I am not put into a different state of mind, if anything my processing capabilities double.”
Hajj el-hashish* says, “Why drink and drive, when you can smoke and fly,”
And the prolific Palestinian Arab American Writer and femme fatale Randa Jarrar, leaves us with: “4.20 is halal AF. It’s a gift from Allah. You can quote me on that.”
To everyone celebrating, happy 4/20 from all of us at MissMuslim.