This year on 4/20, I want to express my gratitude for legalized cannabis

OPINION: I have been using cannabis for years. It hasn’t had a negative impact on me the way the propaganda says it will. It’s all about balance. 

legalized cannabis,
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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Happy 4/20 to all who celebrate and participate! Today is our day to shine,

Actually, every day is our time to shine, especially at 4:20 p.m.

I have a confession: I have been using cannabis since I was 14 years old. I don’t recommend anyone start that young, but I was heavily influenced by the people I was hanging around, and before I knew it, I was regularly pinching off my mother’s stash — which she kept under her bed in a yellow cigar box. 

Thanks, mom. 

She’s going to be embarrassed that I wrote that, but in her defense, she didn’t find out about me using it until four years after I started, and by that time, I was already a vet in the game. 

Because I am a cannabis veteran, I have learned to use it to my advantage. 

Sativa and Indica have different effects on the body, and both are good, but if you want to use them to your advantage the way I do, you have to understand their differences and create that balance for yourself. 

Like I said earlier, it’s all about balance. *exhales*

Whenever people ask me which kind of strain they should get, I always tell them they have to decide what type of high they want. Do you want the “head” high or the “body” high? 

Sativa is the head high. It’s very uplifting. Depending on which sativa strain you get, it can be the type of thing that will put you in the mood to clean your entire house within an hour. 

For me, sativa also puts me in a very creative mood. I do my best writing under the influence of cannabis, believe it or not. It gives me just the push I need to put words together or plot out good ideas for the content I want to create. 

It’s probably going to sound very cliché “pothead” for me to say this, but I think deeper when I’m high. I can hear the sound of my own thoughts as if they are in a megaphone directed only at me. 

It puts me at peace. 

That said, if you happen to be experiencing any type of anxiety, then you will likely want to stay away from sativas because they will also make your mind race at 1,000 mph, and you seriously don’t want that if you are feeling anxious. 

Indica is the body high. It makes you feel relaxed and mellow. I use indica when I am chilling and don’t really have anything I need to get done or accomplish with any urgency. 

Indica is my go-to nighttime or evening smoke. 

I especially love it right before I go to bed.

I keep two types of joints rolled at all times, and I always smoke the indica one, which is rolled in a different color paper than the sativa ones, before I turn in for the evening. 

It puts me in a place where when combined with my weighted blanket and my classical music sleep playlist, I am asleep shortly after my head hits the pillow. 

It slows my brain down enough that my mind isn’t racing all over the place and preventing me from falling asleep. That’s my favorite part about indica. 

Of course, hybrids are always a choice as well. 

Hybrids combine the best of both sativa and indica and put them in one strain. Within the hybrid realm, you have the option to pick a strain that is either sativa-dominant or indica-dominant or one that is an even mix. 

Although I tend to lean more toward the sativa-dominants, I do like some of the top-shelf indica dominants as well. 

The bottom line is, like Smokey said in “Friday,” weed is from the earth, man. God put this here for me and you. Take advantage. 

I live in California, and medical use has been legal here for at least two decades. Recreational use became legal five years ago, and the ease with which we are able to get it has changed too.

I used to go to the dispensary all the time, but now the dispensary is on my phone. I use an app that lets me pick not just flower, but edibles as well. I can fill up a shopping cart, and some cool delivery driver will bring a sealed bag full of product to my front door within an hour or so. 

Things have definitely changed for me and the “weed man.”

So as today is 4/20, I want to acknowledge that I am truly thankful for legalized cannabis. I’m thankful for this natural herb that helps me get through the day without stabbing anyone.

It keeps me balanced and motivated and ready to conquer the world. 

Thank you, legalized cannabis. 

Thank you.

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at

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