Sometimes you want to suck down a joint but just can’t pull it off. Maybe you’re with family, on the job, or about to deliver a eulogy.

Whatever the problem, it sucks. Always. Life should make it easier to smoke up, not harder. Sadly, that often isn’t the case. So here are five of the biggest hurdles stoners face when we want to smoke some dope.

Family

Family Holiday

Being stoned around family relations isn’t always a bad idea. Some holiday gatherings just go better with pot. But there are plenty of occasions when it’s just about impossible to light up.

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That’s especially true if there are grandparents in the mix, or really any older relatives. These are the kind of people who just don’t get it. Some of them even smoked weed once upon a time, but that doesn’t mean they’re tolerant of your choices.

If the situation is just unbearable, find an excuse to leave and toke somewhere else. If there’s a back patio available, and it’s out of range of your most judgmental kin, that’s ideal.

Jail

Jail

It may be relatively easy to get your hands on weed behind bars, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It’s not such a simple task to smoke the stuff, after all.

For one thing, the penalties are much worse if you get caught in jail than if you get caught with pot on the street. You could get an extended sentence or lose your best shot at parole.

Plus, you could find yourself in hock to your fellow inmates, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Predatory prison gangs use debt to turn regular prisoners into slaves.

Employment

Unhappy Worker

If you have a day job that involves minimal security issues – a librarian, maybe, or a barista – there’s relatively little downside to smoking at work (or rather, behind the dumpster at work).

But frankly, if you’re a cop, a doctor, or a pilot, the barriers to toking on the job are there for a reason. We all love people who are high – unless they’re about to operate on us.

The Bar Exam

Bar Exam

Really, this goes for any board exams or academic tests. Weed might relieve some of the stress caused by these exams, but it’s unlikely to help you with the test itself. In fact, there’s a very good chance you’ll do worse.

Marijuana is known to inhibit cognitive function, and that’s exactly what you need to pass a difficult exam. Problems with perception, time, and spatial reasoning, can all complicate your best efforts to pass.

If you need something just to get by, try a joint the night before. But make sure it doesn’t mess with your sleep: Possibly the single most important factor in succeeding on a test is whether you get a good night’s rest.

Drug Tests

Drug Test

We’d all prefer a job where we don’t have to pee in a cup. Even people who don’t use weed tend to find drug tests intrusive, and if you do smoke up, they pose a big obstacle to your way of life.

There are a few ways to deal with this dilemma. You could stop toking for a few weeks until your system is clean of lingering THC metabolites, and then take the test. But you’ll have to stop for a while; aside from unreliable home test kits, there’s no real way to know when all the pot is out of your blood.

Instead, you could try to beat the test. This usually involves flushing the metabolites out of your system or masking them with adulterants. Sometimes these approaches work, but sometimes they don’t – and they can occasionally give you away even if they do.

There’s no simple answer for getting around drug tests or the other hurdles of daily life as a stoner. It’s mostly just a matter of making smart decisions and setting priorities. Sometimes, that means weed, no matter what it takes.

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