Early this month I had a novel experience. Marijuana stung my eyes.
Innocent that I am, I’ve never seen someone so much as smoking marijuana, let alone growing it. Or at least, I’m not aware that I have. But to judge from the pictures I’d seen, it looked like either poison ivy or buckeye leaves. (That’s why some people joke that Ohio State University has marijuana in its emblems.)
And then, I was sitting at my news reporter’s desk being all reporter-y. The chief of police in my town called up a little before my lunchtime, rather randomly I had thought at first, and asked if I had a minute to come take a picture. He could hardly disguise his glee—they’d found an in-home grow, he said. I wasn’t sure, but I thought that meant marijuana.
I walked in the police station and the chief met me at the vestibule. Then, leading me down a short corridor, he began to descend a stairway. As I neared the stairway I could smell something.
It reminded me of spearmint. You know how, if you have a huge clump of it overtaking a section of your yard, the smell of mint overwhelms you—and you can nearly taste it, with all the sap in the air? Especially after you’ve mown over the extra? This was that same sensation—like breathing in sap. Bits of the sap-filled air seem to settle on the tip of my tongue, and it stung my eyes too, like Vix VapoRub.
It turned out the police had executed a search warrant that morning, taking marijuana and its growing equipment from a house in town. 38 plants, still green and wet, were bagged up in garbage bags or stuck in a large plastic tote in a room in the police station’s basement. It wasn’t a small room, really, but it wasn’t big enough to handle all that concentrated sap floating from the plants into the air. And the leaves were sticking to the officers’ hands, like so much sap oozed from them that it acted like glue. No wonder the air was saturated.
I snapped my pictures, got the pertinent information, and skedaddled. My eyes were starting to water, and nobody was even smoking anything!