From PotHead to Pot Educator

By Bart Bright

I once was pure Libertarian, an ally of Dennis Peron, and especially a Libertarian when it came to marijuana. Here’s how I transformed from a PotHead to a passionate Pot Educator.  My love of children makes this urgent.  ……

 It was in the 1970s, growing up in Marin County, that I became a pothead.  I went to college in San Francisco. My roommates and I grew pot in our apartment. It wasn’t so unusual at the time. 

We even had a wild “Harvest” Party to celebrate our successful pot-growing agricultural experiment. The party included an amateur light show. Every light switch was turned on and off to a very loud Almond Brothers Song. The only problem was that one of our guests, in the kitchen, was so stoned they didn’t realize they were flipping the Garbage Disposal switch on and off! I found them staring at the ceiling light…not being able to figure out why it wasn’t working. Wow! 

I was also the president of the Libertarian Alliance at San Francisco State University. Our group sponsored a speaker series that included Dennis Peron. He had a Pot Supermarket inside his San Francisco home. Before his speech, Dennis gave us free joints to pass out in front of the Student Union. About 100 students showed up for his Pot Talk.  (Editor’s Note – Dennis was a key activist responsible for getting California to pass a medical marijuana ballot in 1996.)

Fast Forward to 2004

 My youngest son Kevin, opened up to my wife and I about his secret cannabis use. He was 15. We did our best to help him with his addiction to THC, getting him into treatment.  He did experience some periods of health and sobriety in-between months, and sometimes years, of active addiction. Kevin would often refer to cannabis as his “medicine.” As he built up more and more tolerance to THC, he used higher and higher amounts of the drug. Then he started experiencing bouts of Cannabis-Induced Psychosis. Kevin died by suicide on August 14, 2018.

He was 29 years old.  Read more of the story on the Moms Strong website.  Or read an excerpt of his story in Smokescreen, as reported in the Vallejo Times Herald.

I know what you’re thinking………..that I never quit

I had lots of fun smoking low-THC weed, at first, back in those days. We thought it wasn’t addictive, but I eventually became addicted to THC.

As I became addicted, I found myself lonely and depressed much of the time. I was usually able to convince people I was happy because I was able to hide behind my smile and my friendly personality. 

Eventually, I quit, at age 25, got married and went on to have children. The time period and social situation supported those who wanted to quit drugs!   

Looking back about 50 years, now I realize my THC habit interfered with my developing brain. I stopped doing stuff I enjoyed like racquetball, tennis, soccer, etc. I got to the point where I was only surviving, not thriving. My pot use contributed to my bouts of depression and anxiety.    Yes, I was addicted to marijuana when I was young, but I quit when I was 25. 

Kevin’s California childhood was typical

Over the years and now

Over the years Kevin used marijuana with higher and higher amounts of THC.  The last articulate words I remember from Kevin were: 

“Cannabis has ruined my life.”   He said that about two years before he died.

Kevin loved helping others. To honor him and his final message to me, I do my best to educate others about today’s very high THC marijuana products, and the damage it does to the brain, especially to the developing brain, to those under 25 years old.