Smoking Section

Valley pot heads pipe up

A small ad on the letters page of New Times "Seeking Secret Pot Smokers" brought dozens of responses from marijuana users eager to talk about their quiet pastime -- as long as they could be anonymous.

The respondents ranged in age from teens to mid-50s. Some from the west side, some from the East Valley. There was a U.S. postal worker/mom in her 40s who used to be a heroin addict, an administrator who lives with her mother in Sun City, and a dad who works for a semiconductor company in town and smokes every day. A makeup artist. A tile setter. Even a marijuana dealer.

Only one of the responses was at all negative about smoking marijuana.

"About nine days ago now, I resolved to stop smoking dope and never touch it again. My life was falling apart before my eyes, as what I thought was `social' and `recreational' use was nothing more than abuse," the man wrote in a two-page e-mail.

Everyone else glowed. Here are excerpts from a few of the responses:

Yes, I am a secret pot smoker, and I have been doing so since 1967. I totally function, and I doubt if I would if I didn't smoke my joint in the evening to relax. I find it better than sleeping pills, and I do not wake up sluggish to go to my $210,000 job, which I have held for 25 years. I am a staunch, conservative Republican, and my career is in insurance.


I'm a single mom with two kids, and I have a really good job and I'm even in the Cub Scouts -- I run pack meetings.


Both my wife and I smoke pot regularly, and it doesn't affect us at all. It's much less disruptive than alcohol. I don't blow all my money, and I don't wake up feeling crappy every day, wondering what I did. Both my kids are straight-A students, I hold a good job, I'm well liked by my customers and at work.


I lead my normal, everyday life, and I smoke a little pot every once in a while. I don't think it's that big of a deal. I'm glad to see somebody actually pushing for speaking out for -- [long pause]. Sorry. Train of thought's gone. Too much pot. Peace.


I like to smoke recreationally now and then. I don't feel it's a big deal. The negative effect that marijuana has had on my life is all regarding to the law. I got busted back in 1987, and I've had to list myself as a convicted felon since then. Lots of jobs I'm not eligible for, and those I am eligible for, lots of times they won't hire me.


I'm 20 years old. . . . I do go to ASU, I'm a full-time student. I also work 25 hours a week. I'm involved in a community service sorority, I plan one of ASU's biggest events. I'm a very involved person, and I smoke pot probably three or four times a week.


I'm 32, I'm a high school dropout and I make close to $40,000 a year. I've worked at the same company for over 10 years.


Offhand, I could probably name at least 15 to 20 people who are productive people with careers and families that smoke pot, and I only know this because I used to sell it to them. . . . It's not that big of a deal. There's lots of people with jobs, attorneys, I know mortgage lenders, brokers, real estate agents, day care center operators. . . . It is something that people do recreationally and just for fun, just like having a cocktail now and then.


I'm 53 and a half, and since I'm 18 and a half, I've been getting high every single day. And I'm a mother and a respected person and I've worked all my life.


I've been smoking marijuana for 15-plus years recreationally. I work in the medical field, I have two children, happily married, and consider myself a productive citizen of Phoenix, Arizona. I feel that smoking marijuana, just like drinking alcohol, should be done in moderation. I don't expose my children to it, and it is done in the privacy of my own home. I feel that it doesn't affect my profession or personal life in any negative way. If anything, it helps.


I do this recreationally and I've done it for 30 years, and I lead a very constructive life.


I work for a big company here in the Valley and am very successful in my job. I vote . . . have a library card and a mortgage, and am a United Way Leadership Giver. And I recreationally smoke pot. Among my co-workers whom I am comfortable discussing such things with, the overwhelming majority do as well.


I work as a graduate student at ASU in engineering, and the majority of people I work with have or do smoke.


I live in a very nice neighborhood, I make a decent living, I work my ass off, I pay my taxes, I fly the American flag on appropriate holidays (something most of my neighbors don't do), I take part in my community. I ride a bike for exercise and I do a hard ride for about one hour, every single day. I take European vacations. I read a lot. . . . I am, for the most part, about as "straight" as they come. Oh, except that I get stoned every day. . . .

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