A Short Talk With My Mom About Pot

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I think my mother’s greatest trait is resiliency. At 88, she is a two time survivor of cancer, does yoga, water aerobics, dances with the stars and keeps an open mind. Me and my brothers named her Reefer Lady when we were kids. She needed a CB radio handle and had two refrigerators at home. To her, that was great fun.

JACK RIKESS: Hello, is Etta Rikess there?


JR: Just trying to be professional. Etta, Mother, tell me everything you know about marijuana. 

ER: I never heard of it growing up. The first mention of it I can remember was long after I was married. I didn’t even know what it was when I saw it. With all you boys, there was so much washing to do. I think it was one of your older brothers. I was putting away socks or underwear in his top drawer. I saw a pipe and other marijuana equipment. There was a baggy and I didn’t even know what was in it. I think for my generation there is kind of a taboo talking about it. We don’t. I have dinner or lunch with a variety of people, and that kind of conversation doesn’t come up. And we talk about world events and personal matters, but marijuana isn’t something we talk about. I don’t even know if any of my friends’ kids do it.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if there were people here among us who smoke marijuana.

JR: You know people that do?

ER: No, but I have friends that have shingles, go for dialysis, they’re taking chemo. I’m saying, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they were.

JR: Why?

ER: Because of everything you read in the papers or on the news. I’m much more aware than I was when I found your brother’s baggy. I never knew there were good aspects of marijuana. If a person is suffering from a disease or needs relief from pain, by all means they should take marijuana if it helps. When I tell my friends that my son is a writer,they ask ‘what does he write about?’ I say marijuana. They get very interested. I tell them you talk to growers, police, politicians, all sorts of people.

JR: I’ve asked you many times if you would like to smoke a joint with me. Why not?

ER: It’s not my thing. I don’t need it. And I am afraid of getting addicted. Plus I feel it would be detrimental to my health. I take many different vitamins and minerals with green tea and other stuff. I don’t think I want to smoke.

JR: If I told you that in Israel, the doctors are treating the elderly with marijuana because marijuana is less invasive than many of the pills and drugs that older people are given, would that change anything?

ER: Hmmm. I didn’t know that. Can my doctor prescribe marijuana for me?

JR: Yes, but he won’t. As part of practice, your traditional family doctor won’t write you a recommendation out of fear, but there are doctors in Arizona that will write a prescription for you.

ER: Is eating it the same as smoking it?

JR: Almost, the difference being, when you eat marijuana, you absorb more than when smoking it. So eating it can give you a stronger dosage.

ER: They make muffins?

JR: Brownies.

ER: That’s what I read about. What makes it medical?

JR: To be simplistic, marijuana has these compounds called CBD’s and others. Many other compounds called cannabinoids that are able to work with your body to fool it into doing things. Like you’ve heard of the munchies.

ER: Of course, Jackie…

JR: Well, those are the cannabinoids telling your body that you’re hungry. But these magical little components can also tell the body not to feel the pain it is experiencing by reprograming the neuro-link between the brain and the spinal cord, even though it’s still present. And it goes on! Also there are salves like Tiger Balm that relieve itching and burns. Then there’s Simpson Oil that I’ve used to clear up skin stuff, even small cases of melanoma.

ER: No!

JR: Uh-Yeah!

ER: I don’t understand why it’s not legal. It’s not like if it was,everyone’s going to jump on the bandwagon. Cigarettes are legal, not everyone smokes them.

JR: Our government won’t allow it. They say crack, meth, heroin, opium and PCP have medical uses, but not marijuana.

ER: But that’s not true.If you had a liquor store for marijuana, there would be less crime.

JR: You got it momma. But there are dispensaries that are trying to make a go of it, the government won’t let them use banks to deposit their money in. They can’t claim standard business deductions like other businesses.

ER: It’s like they want them to fail. If they can’t deposit the money, what do they do? That must just encourage crime. I don’t get it. It just does’t seem like such a big deal. Make it legal already. Who’s it going to hurt?

JR: As always, Mother, your grasp of the obvious is one of the many reasons I love you. Thank you Mrs. Rikess.

ER: Love you, Jackie.