Longform

Reefer Mainstream

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And often, if no one's around, Sally's supply will sit in the freezer for a month. When she does spark up, she prefers a pipe. Or, in a pinch, a toilet paper bong.

Doesn't the toilet paper roll catch fire?

"You have to know how to do this, hon," Sally says, explaining the intricacies of lining the roll with foil and poking the holes just so.

Sally has a steady supply. "I have a friend who is a lawyer who has a sibling who always manages."

The quality varies, but that's okay with Sally, who can't handle really strong weed anymore.

"The super-duper stuff -- a couple of hits and you're catatonic. This is a social thing. Who wants to be catatonic?"

THE SALESMAN

Robert is clean-cut, in a nicely ironed, muted Hawaiian shirt, his hair buzzed and mustache trimmed. No wonder the 49-year-old gets funny looks when he goes to Trails to buy screens. Last time, he just knew the clerk was wondering if he was a cop.

Robert laughs, shakes his head. If that clerk could only see the hippie pictures. Just out of high school, living on the East Coast and working in a factory, Robert roomed with a bunch of guys who kept a huge candy bowl on the coffee table filled with weed. Everyone -- even those operating heavy machinery -- smoked several times a day.

"Everyone did. It was more about who didn't -- at least in our circle of friends."



His friends all still smoke, Robert says, but like him, they've slowed down.

"I got married, grew older. More responsibilities," Robert says. Like a wife of 18 years, a 16-year-old daughter and a new house in Gilbert.

"The only time I do it is in the backyard at home, alone, when I know I'm going to be alone for at least an hour or two."

What does his wife think? Robert pauses, considering the question. Frankly, he's not sure she knows. She hasn't smoked since they were dating, as far as Robert is aware.



Robert works in sales; he's held down the same job for the past three years. The only person at work who knows he smokes pot is the co-worker who sells it to him.

He would be devastated if his daughter knew he smoked, more so if she started herself.

"If I found out that she started smoking it, I'd be disappointed in her," Robert says. "She's better than I am. She's got a 4.5 grade average, cheerleader -- she doesn't need that right now."

Marijuana is only a small part of Robert's life these days. "I don't even really crave it. Sometimes, I'll be sitting around by myself and think, Hey, this would be a good time to get high.'"

He's much more focused on his golf game. "Now there's an addiction," Robert says.

THE STATE EMPLOYEE

Hal's parents were hippies.

"There was this one time when I was in fourth grade, and my mom pulled out this bag of weed and put it in the refrigerator. She said, Don't tell anybody we have this. Nobody needs to know.'"

Hal thought his mom had some expensive gourmet herbs. He figured out the truth at 16, when he shared a joint with some friends on the Encanto Park golf course. Hal was a junior at Brophy Preparatory Academy, the fanciest Catholic school in town.

"It was kind of demystified for me early on. It was no big deal," Hal says of pot. And pot has been part of his life since that day on the golf course.

Hal smoked through college and his first job, as a landscaper. Then he smoked through graduate school at Arizona State University. Now, at 29, he works for the state, spending grant money for a small agency. Hal figures he smokes two or three times a day.

"Sometimes, I get up and smoke before work, but mostly just on a Friday," he says.

"I usually come home, smoke after I come home. Make dinner, play with the dog. Smoke some more, watch some TV and go to bed. Just like somebody having a drink."

Hal's wife, who also has a master's degree from ASU, works as an academic counselor and smokes with him. He's never smoked with his mom -- he's not sure she knows he does it -- but whenever Hal gets together with his dad, who lives out of state, they toke up.

Access isn't much of a problem.

"We had one guy who was kind of more the inner city type of dealer, the guy with the Monte Carlo -- that kind of scene. We kind of got sketched out by that after a while. Now we get it from one of our friends who we know from ASU."

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at amy-silverman.com.