My buddy Doc and I were talking about weed being legal just the other day. No, I tell a lie, it was just about exactly 50 years ago last Tuesday.

We were sitting in Doc’s parents’ basement and talking about the rosy future of all things cannabis in that year of grace 1969.

We had used Doc’s Zippo to heat the tinfoil from a cigarette pack and now we were warming up a lump of something organic on it, and sucking up the beneficial vapours through a ballpoint pen body with the cartridge taken out.

We shared a classic yellow wooden government pen, one of those that had predated plastic, when the government went ballpoint a decade or so before. The bureaucracy had been worried about theft of this new technology, and had ordered pens without caps so people wouldn’t be putting them in their pockets and taking them home. On one side they had printed “Misuse is abuse” and on the other, “Mauvais usage c’est gaspillage”

There’d been a rumour that summer that unscrupulous people were selling lumps of old gum from under school desks, and everything from banana peels to lawn cuttings, but we figured we had the good stuff, definitely a step up from oregano or fudge that had outlived its best-before date. We both had summer jobs that year, and cost was no object. We’d paid nearly as much for our lump of what-have-you as you’d pay for good parmesan cheese today, and we were feeling mellow.

Peace may not have been ruling the planets, but the dope stars certainly seemed to be aligning. At the Liberal leadership convention that spring, it was whispered that Trudeau (Pierre that is) was planning to put some pot in every chicken. I mean heck, the guy wore sandals. It had to be right. Doc had voted for him in the election back in June, but I couldn’t because I wasn’t 21, yet.

All summer, the federal experimental farm had been growing dope in a special guarded plot, so the Le Dain Commission would have something to study. It stood to reason that we’d be able to buy dope any day now. We figured 1970 at the absolute latest.

“You know,” Doc said, “When we’re old, our kids are going to be upstairs smoking the legal stuff and thinking nothing of it, we’re going to be down in the basement doing it this way, and remembering when.”

“It comes to us all,” I said philosophically, “Ask not for whom the bong tolls.”

We turned up Steppenwolf on Doc’s DIY Heathkit stereo and mellowed out, until last night when he called from the distant city where he lives now.

“Have you got your legal dope yet?”

“No but I’ve been window shopping,” I said.

We agreed that the government mandated packaging makes it look like no-name frozen turkeys, although much smaller and certainly not $1.99 a pound.

The health warnings seemed a bit over the top. Neither of us owns a drone so we won’t be flying high, and the heaviest equipment we operate is a lawnmower. The kids aren’t going to get into it because they moved out sometime before the turn of the century and we don’t have any pets.

Anyway, Doc says he’s coming for a visit so we’ll probably try out the new legal stuff then. He’s hunting in his attic for the box where he keeps his old paraphernalia. With any luck he’ll find that genuine antique wooden pen body next to the ZigZag tee shirt and the Rizla papers. We’ll have all the health warnings and instructions for use that we need right there.

“Misuse is abuse, bro.”

“Yeah dude. Mauvais usage, c’est gaspillage.”