Still tokin' after all these years ...

In a highly personal piece, a dad in his mid-50s asks why he shouldn't carry on enjoying the occasional spliff

So it's official: the over-fifties are still enjoying a purple haze. Researchers say illegal drug use is on the up among my generation of ex-hippies: we're still rolling joints or snorting the odd line, four decades on.

Londoners are the most likely to have a puff – almost one in 10. And if you're over 50, but under 65, the odds are even higher. Being a 55-year-old from Muswell Hill, north London, I am guilty on both charges. I started smoking weed at university, after going to see the Grateful Dead at the Rainbow Theatre in 1981, and have carried on almost ever since.

After uni I had to hide it from my parents. Then my wife and I had to hide it from the kids. Now the kids have flown the nest, and we don't have to hide it from anyone. We smoked more often back then; nowadays, it's no more than once or twice a week, maybe at the end of a dinner party, or to help us get to sleep.

We have friends who grow their own, which is reasonably tame, but much of the stuff you can buy these days is far too strong. Most of our friends have given up cigarettes, but pass round a joint and most people will have a toot. I haven't known it lead on to debauchery or crack addiction, but I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm advocating drug use, particularly among the vulnerable and impressionable. I suppose it is simply that, having reached my mid-fifties, conceitedly or not, I think I have a goodish idea of what will do me harm and what to avoid.

Not many people in their fifties are into dance drugs and clubbing, but we do go with friends or even with the kids to festivals, where party pills make the whole experience a lot more fun. If I was to get on a soap box, I'd say that the meow meow (mephedrone) that was popular and legal a few years back was great fun, and except for a couple of highly publicised incidents, did very little harm. It was a disappointment the Government didn't leave it legal, instead of which hundreds of thousands of people end up doing things like ketamine that are illegal and less fun.

Buying good-quality drugs that are not too strong is always a problem. I don't see why there shouldn't be a dispensation for the over-fifties to buy weed from their pharmacist. Something for the weekend, sir? Yes please: an ounce of weed, a couple of Viagra and a pack of Sanatogen. Bliss!

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

    Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions