A reader writes:
To the previous reader who took this woman to task for smoking inside her apartment: where is she supposed to go? Smoking outside is a great way to get caught. Many MJ smokers, myself included, would vastly prefer to go outside for all the reasons mentioned, but in many places it’s just too dangerous.
This is just another irritating, pointless consequence of the drug war – if it were legal, people wouldn’t need to be afraid to go out to the patio or the parking lot. They wouldn’t need to be afraid to check with their neighbors to see if their smoking is bothersome, or to make arrangements to avoid causing a nuisance. Most of all, they wouldn’t fear arrest and prosecution for what is usually nothing more than a slight inconvenience or annoyance to others. To me that’s one of worst consequences of these stupid policies – the dissolution of trust and community you see when people are afraid to live openly and publicly, despite not doing anything harmful or damaging that would actually merit the involvement of the Law. And that’s bad for everyone, smokers and non-smokers.
I live in Montreal and despite the fact weed is not legal, it might as well be. Reading that story, completely crazy by our standards, reminded me of the two encounters I had with cops related to weed:
One night I was in the line-up of a club on the Main smoking a big joint with friends when a cop car stopped right in front of us, I kind half hid the joint behind my back, the cop shouted to me, “Hey what’s behind your back”, so I went on and showed him the fatty, he said with a big smile: “Hey that’s a big one” and left.
Another night, I saw two cops watching a guy rolling a joint. The guy obviously didn’t see the two cops watching him. Smiling, they waited for him to finish the joint, and just when he was about to light it up, they whistled him over, took the joint and destroyed it on the ground and left. No fine, just a smile.
So yeah, that’s what the cops are like here when it comes to weed. The Montreal Police chief already said they don’t have time or resources to waste on smokers. They’ll go after dealers and growers, but that’s it. Smoke away!
Another had a much different experience in the US:
I no longer smoke pot. Not for any significant reasons – I just prefer bourbon. I find it more social. However, back in the day, I did smoke on occasion. My story starts about two days before I left for college. My friends and I were out having a last night together (it was actually the very last time I hung out with my high school friends, in part due to the events that happened after this story). There were two guys and a girl. The girl and I smoked on occasion, but the other two were heavy users. We made our way out to the boardwalk where, against my wishes, the two heavy users lit up the tail end of a joint to kill it off. Obviously this was dumb, and this is no excuse, but we did look around and all we saw (at 11 at night) was a homeless person on the bench about 30 yards away.
On the bench we were seated from left to right: heavy smoker 1, me, girl, heavy smoker 2. After about three minutes of smoking, a very large van came speeding, and I mean gunning it, onto the boardwalk towards us. Obviously this was disconcerting. My first reaction was, “Oh my god, someone completely drunk out of his mind is speeding on the boardwalk” – we all started to scatter. It turns out it was a van full of cops. It also turns out that homeless person was a cop. Well, they sped right at us, stopped short and got out and tackled us. They thought we were trying to run away, which we were, but not from the cops.
They cuffed us. And by us, I mean the three guys. They let the lady go, saying that nobody saw her smoke. Remember earlier when I told you the seating order? Well, on that bench heavy smoker 1 did smoke, me and the girl didn’t, and heavy smoker 2 smoked as well. The cops said they saw heavy smoker 1, heavy smoker 2, and me smoke. How did they see me passing the joint across as me smoking, but when our girl friend did the same thing, it wasn’t smoking? How does it get from one end of the bench to the other, passing me and the girl, but I get in trouble and the lady doesn’t?
Anyway, as they pushed me up against the van and patted me down, I explained to them that the thing they feel in my pocket is my asthma inhaler, which prohibits me from smoking anything (a bit of a lie, but can you blame me?). They didn’t care. We spend the rest of the night handcuffed to the seats in a van riding around picking up actual criminals. Then we spent the overnight in the local prison cell while they mocked us. At one point, one of them came over and said something like, “Well I can see you and you are potheads (referencing heavy smoker 1 and heavy smoke 2) and you (referencing me) don’t smoke. Too bad you got caught up with them.” They knew the whole time I did nothing wrong. They let the girl go, but not me.
Fortunately, where I grew up, everyone knew a cop, so we were able to get six months probation and expungement thereafter. But it’s an easy collar for the cops and it fills their quotas with no danger. It is absurd.