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Winona


There is an experience every stoner/smoker goes through that is almost like a rite of passage. Fortunately in 2021 as the laws and attitudes move further in the right direction these stories become less prevalent. But most have had to go through it or at least know someone who has, and that’s getting busted! Whether it is from your parents, teachers, or the cops, when we first discover the beauty of this plant it is like everyone is out to get us! I for one had to go through the gauntlet in my 20 years of smoking so it gives me extra delight to learn about the part of legalization and propositions around the country, including Arizona’s 207, that include the expungement of certain previous marijuana convictions. But it’s that trial by fire that got us here today, so I believe these stories deserve to be told.

As a millennial, we should be proud of the progress we have made advancing the access to this ancient medicine, but again as anyone who has been smoking for the last 20 years, it hasn’t been without struggle. So, today, we want to hear those stories as the veil of secrecy behind weed is lifted, no longer do we have to hide smoking in the shadows!

Before I went off to college I had the opportunity to talk to my roommate who I was going to share a dorm room with my freshman year. One thing I wanted to get a feel for was his stance on weed. Basically, he said it wasn’t his thing, but if they drug tested all his friends at work, no one would have a job, so it wasn’t a big deal. Cool, I figured we wouldn’t be blazing like Method Man and Redman together in “How High,” (this was 2004), I just had to be respectful. Flash ahead to the end of summer and my parents and I were headed out the 400 miles or so in the packed car ready to begin my new life! My roommate was an RA, basically a grown up hall monitor although I didn’t know what that meant at the time, so I had the privilege of moving in the night before everyone else. Once we got there, my parents and I offered to take him out to dinner with us, he declined (maybe a sign), but off into the night we went.

After dinner and getting dropped off by my parents, it wasn’t long before my new roommate and I had our backs to one another, lost on our own computers. My brother had passed during my senior year and marijuana really helped me through some shit, so to break the awkward silence and get out of my head, I decided to roll a joint. Being new I had to ask my roommate how to get back in after I went outside to smoke. Coming back from my walk I had to pass through security and my roommate who were chatting in the lobby. Once I got back to my room, as I was sitting in the dark finally relaxing, I suddenly got a loud knock at the door. Of course I had a feeling who it was and sure enough looking through the peephole I could see those bright yellow shirts, it was security!

When I opened the door there was a cute little blonde girl, who meekly told me that she knows I have something I’m not supposed to have. I laughed at her phrasing and stepped aside to show that I haven’t even had a chance to unpack. It was still my first 24 hours and I asked if they were really here to toss my room like a prison cell?! Behind her was a large, meathead type who told me that, “I can make this easy or difficult, but either way they are going to find it.” So with that I never saw my roommate again, he hid behind the door and whispered where he thought I stashed my weed as security dug through my bags. Eventually they found my half ounce and my scale, I always came prepared.

It is great to be able to look back over 15 years now and laugh at how I set the record for getting kicked out of those dorms the fastest. (Shout out to my parents that night, it definitely wasn’t funny for them getting that call about their son.) Ultimately, as everyone moved in the next day, I had to move out. I had to meet with a school counselor and was told that while I was kicked out of the dorms, I could stay at the school if I found alternative housing.

I have been asked to tell this story a hundred times over and wanted to once more to highlight the progress we have made in an effort to end the absurd prohibition of marijuana. Thankfully getting caught has become less dramatic. So what’s your story, how much of a villain were made out to be for something that’s becoming legal today.




Ryan Fitzgerald, originally from Milwaukee, WI, is a student of history, a lover of music, competitive games, and a cannabis enthusiast. He writes about cannabis history, culture and current events.

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