I was sitting in the backseat of the car with my 13-year-old brother, his face illuminated by the smartphone he'd gotten for his birthday this year.
He was watching Netflix's Big Mouth, a show created by Nick Kroll about the growing pains of puberty. It's very funny and clever and, though it's about middle-schoolers, fairly mature. Part of me was surprised to see my little brother watching it—after all, the scene I glanced at over his shoulder was about a kid jerking off to his friend's older sister's bathing suit and getting caught by the older sister mid-wank. But, for the most part, the show has good messages—stuff about body image, consent, masturbation—that a confused kid could benefit from.
Today, a story broke about a 12-year-old boy in Florida who brought "marijuana-laced gummy bears" to school. He handed them out to his peers during gym class. When I read the story, all I could think about was this scene from the most recent season of Big Mouth:
It's a scene where Jesse, a 12-year-old girl, swipes some edibles from her stoner father in an act of rebellion and coerces her friend, Nick, to take them with her. Basically, the kids get high, one of their parents finds out, they're scolded and grounded, but everything is pretty much fine. Kids do stupid shit all the time.
The boy that brought pot gummies to school in Florida, however, didn't have the same experience. Since he lives in the backward-ass, DeSantis-voting Sunshine State, this kid is facing several felony charges.
"He faces felony charges of one count of possession of THC or marijuana resin, six counts of distribution of THC within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of paraphernalia."
What the fuck! Ground him! Take away his iPhone! Set a parental control on his Netflix if you have to! But don't slap him with multiple felonies!!!
What would have happened if he'd brought a fifth of vodka to school to share with his friends? Probably just a suspension! (But it's also Florida. Maybe Floridians are cool with drunk kids? I don't know! I don't fuck with swamps!)
It's good that Big Mouth is normalizing weed instead of scaring kids straight in D.A.R.E. programs. Taboo clings to weed almost as much as its aroma does—I recently made an offhand reference on this very blog, Slog, about how my brother gave me an edible on a flight and my Californian parents grilled me about it until I told which brother it was. My dad is still referring to him as "El Chapo."
While marijuana legalization is sweeping across North America—Hey, Canada—it's easy to forget that marijuana is still an illegal substance in most parts of the United States. So illegal that a tween can face felony charges for passing out some edibles during gym class. Stupid, yes, but not enough that it should screw over his future. Seattle and San Francisco are in the midst of vacating hundreds of misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession. The sooner the rest of the country follows suit, the fewer lives will be ruined. Catch the fuck up, Florida.