I am an early morning walker, and have been for years. As part of my preparation for the day, I like to get three or four miles in along the streets outside my home or anywhere if I am traveling.

I have noticed many scents in the environment: A clothes dryer putting out a clean scent; smoke from a wood burning fire in the air; the aroma of a fresh cooked breakfast. All delightful.

Not so delightful: Automobile exhaust, animal remains, or sometimes garbage, when it is trash day and the big trucks roll by. An occasional odor from some type of food that was thrown from someone’s car may also drift into my stroll, and quickly dissipate.

But new to the party is the smell of pot smoke coming from passing cars as they approach the on ramp to the interstate. Not once in a while, but every day. I may be listening to an inspirational piece by Eckhart Tolle, when suddenly I think Def Leppard is about to play, reminiscent of my much younger concert going days where the smoke was indoors and unavoidable.

Regardless of our personal opinions on marijuana use, medical or otherwise, I think we can all agree that firing up a “breakfast blunt” on the way to one’s workplace is not ideal. Isn’t that a bit like drinking a Bloody Mary while in rush hour traffic, or adding some Bailey’s Irish Cream to a traveling coffee mug?

Pre-COVID when I used to commute on the train, it was not unheard of to see a commuter with a fancy orange juice, like the one you get from Panera, discretely doctoring it up with a mini bottle of Vodka (or two.) Not something I would do, but at least they weren’t behind the wheel of a moving car.

Never mind the idea of altering one’s mental status just to show up for work, but how productive can these cannabis commuters be? What would their employers think if they knew? And don’t they? If I can smell their pursuits outside a moving car, wouldn’t the stench be on them when they reported into work?

I am all for homeopathic treatments and with full respect and compassion, appreciate the value of any substance that relieves suffering. I am a nurse after all. But this is a new phenomenon, an additional fragrance not really part of my morning walks until the last couple of years.

While the impact of cannabis commuting on our health and safety is a chat for another time, I will conclude this one, with what seems like an obvious question: “Why not set the alarm a few minutes early and check that box before leaving the house?”

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