Illegal State: 420

In today’s day and age many people look forward to celebrating their favorite spring holiday, yep you guessed it, April 20th, the 110th day in the Georgian Calendar. In pop culture, April 20th is embraced by cannabis (pot) smokers around the world as weed day.

When thinking about weed, a few notable smokers may come to mind Cheech and Chong, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and who can forget President Clinton and President Obama.

In the United States, there are 30 states and the District of Columbia that have broadly legalized cannabis in some form, each with millions of smokers and enthusiasts. Out of curiosity however,  I wanted to find out why people who lived in the states where marijuana isn’t legal still risk using it.  I had the pleasure of having very candid conversations with 3 women from Texas, a state with strict anti-usage laws; and the outlook and stories they shared with me were stunning.

(To protect the identity of those who shared their stories with us, some names may have been changed.)

“ I am a 27 year old woman who has indulged in marijuana since high school. I am a spiritual person and strongly believe in toking not only for recreational use but also medicinal”

My family is wholly aware of my marijuana usage and tend to look the other way. My siblings and friends however support my decision. My mother suffers from fibromyalgia among many other things. I advise her to use medicinal marijuana oils etc. She continues however to just kind of smile and nod but not take me seriously. It hurts me to see her going back and forth to the doctor all the time with different pills, medicines and painful shots. Constantly her meds change all the time as does the dosages and none of it appears to actually cure anything.


When I was pretty young a man my family trusted molested me routinely for 2 years. No one in my family knew until I was an adult. I remember trying so hard to tell them. Once I went into full blown hysterics and wrapped my whole body around my dads leg as he was leaving for a trip. I remember him making eye contact with me and I thought he was going to listen. I begged him “Daddy please take me with you! Don’t leave me with him! He’s going to do bad things to me!” My mother dragged me off of him and sent me to my room and told him I was just being dramatic. I barricaded myself in my room and sobbed all night until the sun came up. Then I heard him telling my brother he was going to do something with him. Something special he only did with me. I thought he was grooming my brother to harm him too. I threw aside all the crap in front of my door and attacked him and told him to never touch my brother again. My brother still remembers it because he thought I was just being totally jealous and ugly which was uncharacteristic of me.
When I was 18 he was arrested for raping his own daughter. I felt so horrible. There is no telling how many girls he tortured between that little girl and myself. I felt guilty and ashamed when my parents confronted me about it. Like I should have found a way to stop him so he wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone else.

As early as 5th grade my doctor was giving me Klonopin several times a day to calm me down, Adderall and sometimes Dexadrine to help me stay engaged and focused, birth control for hormones, muscle relaxers, and nausea meds- I can’t imagine being pilled out like that today. Over the years I saw a lot of different shrinks; some of them gave me psych meds that made me hallucinate roaches crawling all over the walls, or feel extreme paranoia.

I couldn’t smoke pot at the time because I had found myself caught up in a stupid drug case and been sentenced to probation. So this was a really hard time for me b/c suddenly the stress of having a fascist PO control my life far beyond the call of duty and the thing I’d used to cope with the PTSD was suddenly gone. I couldn’t risk smoking because I would have gone back to jail and I was trying to get my cases dismissed- which eventually I did. But only after a really difficult journey.

Anyway my counselor was pretty concerned about all the pills. At first she thought I was scheming to get that many pills from doctors. But I told her that I’d been taking medications like that since I was a kid and I didn’t even notice it anymore. She asked me if I wanted to get off of this stuff. Be free of all of it and see who Rachel really is without all the bullshit?

I said I was fucking miserable and so I might as well try. The detox was so painful. The uppers had made me bold and arrogant without feelings. The downers had made me insensitive to other people and intolerant of them as well. I was widely regarded as a complete bitch. But I thought I was a really sweet person. The whole thing was like going back through the rabbit hole.

Now I don’t take a pill unless the other option might involve severe bad consequences.

I don’t take any psych meds. Not one.

I see a counselor and I have had some pretty awful abusive relationships. But I manage my ptsd symptoms with pot. I’m a single mom living in poverty. I homeschool my son b/c I don’t trust schools here. I disagree with a majority of their rhetoric and beyond that Texas schools teach kids wrong information that goes against science. So fuck that. But it makes it very difficult to survive when I don’t have the free childcare of public school all day. A sacrifice I feel very committed to but one that brings a lot of stress.


Before using it for the first time, my thoughts on it were pretty open. I had been around it before but did not partake. My thoughts were that I loved how it smelled but that people giggled uncontrollably on it.

Before using it for the first time, I didn’t have any preconceptions about people that do use it. I was 16 when I first used it and I didn’t have much around me that would have given me any bad ideas or misconceptions about it.

I am fairly open about my usage. My partner knows, and so do my mother and stepdad.
My father does not know, but I always wondered if he knew and just didn’t say anything.
I am also a mother, however my young son has no idea.

I am actually originally from Southern Oklahoma. I moved to Texas about 8 years ago.

I am an in-field pool chemical technician and I am the office admin for the same company.

5 years ago, I was feeling lonely and depressed. I started reaching out to find other moms in my area that were likeminded.

I found the best group of women that I could have ever met and many of those mothers are users as well.

We hang out, smoke and chat. It’s a social occasion.


These very different women shared why they choose to use cannabis even though it is illegal.  It helps to know the story behind why; knowing why often helps us make more informed opinions.  Seed is to plant, as cannabis is to Genesis 1:29 in that we’ve been talking about something very old for a very long time.

We often associate drug usage to a certain group of people and often buy into the thinking that only certain people use cannabis.  Everyone who takes prescription pills are not drug addicts and not all cannabis users are stoners.  All drugs are not the same.  All people are the same.

For some people, and for many others, cannabis has been and is the only thing that has every worked or that works.  If we are going to have a conversation about 420, pot, that sticky, trees, and etc. make sure to do your homework so that you can contribute to the conversation once we begin weeding through the lies, stereotypes and misconceptions.


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