WESTLAND, Mass. In this affluent suburb of Boston, marijuana use has historically been limited to rebellious youths, according to Police Lieutenant Jim Hampy. “We could spot ’em by the eerie purple rays emanating from basement windows,” he says, as he takes a sip of his Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. “The kids with their Jimi Hendrix posters that they would set glowing with black lights, which could also be used to cultivate Cannabis sativa.”
But with the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes in 2012, an entire new group of users came on the scene whose taste in music and interior decoration were more traditional; suburban housewives afflicted with TWO, an acronym that stands for “terminally well-organized.” “The first tip-off is the alphabetized spice rack,” says psychologist Marcia Evers-Bennett, who maintains a solo practice out of her den for women afflicted by the syndrome. “As I like to say, ‘If the first one in line is thyme, she’s fine.'”
In violation of professional confidentiality restrictions, Evers-Bennett has allowed this reporter to view a marijuana therapy session using a two-way mirror that provides a view of her and Melinda Bliss, a busy mother of two who still finds time to save receipts for a six (6) year period, keep a dust-ruffle maintenance and replacement log, and monitor the location of sixty decorative coasters throughout her house in order to prevent unsightly water rings from glasses left carelessly on tables.
“How did you do this week?” the psychologist asks as she fires up a “doobie” and hands it to the analysand for a “toke.”
“Pretty well, I think,” Bliss says as she inhales and holds the smoke in her lungs to maximize the beneficial effects of the drug. When she exhales, she says “I threw away a bunch of expired coupons and I neglected a dust bunny for two days.”
“Good, good,” Evers-Bennet says as she turns on her aging phonograph and watches the needle drop on the first track of The Steve Miller Band’s “Sailor” album. “How about the kids?”
“I allowed them to have a half-hour of free time between school, U-12 soccer, full-immersion Mandarin Chinese ping-pong lessons and water polo.”
“Excellent–and did you allow yourself to fully lose track of them during that period?”
Bliss blushes a bit, then responds with an abashed tone. “I kept their GPS ankle-bracelets on, so I guess the answer is ‘no.'”
The two finish the joint, then stare off into space as the psychedelic drug often referred to as “Mary Jane” by hippies in episodes of “Dragnet” works its magic on them. Soon, they hit a silent “groove” in which the dates on the pocket calendars in Bliss’s purse seem to have colors and flavors, and she dreams of a world where homeowner’s insurance policies have no deductibles or expiration dates.
“And how about Ted?” Evers-Bennet asks, extending her diagnostic inquiry to Bliss’s husband.
Bliss thinks for a moment, then lifts herself up on one elbow from the chaise lounge on which she lies, turns to her doctor and asks “Who?”