The stoner life is a little bit different for everyone. In some places, marijuana is easy to find and easy to use. In others, the laws are tight and even low-level users face the risk of jail time. In any event, there’s probably at least some minimal risk involved in buying pot, unless you live in a state where it’s completely legal. Even if you only have to pay a $100 citation – well, that’s $100 you can’t spend on weed.
Here are four handy tips for not getting caught. Most of this is common sense, but a refresher can’t hurt.
1. Play It Cool
Let’s say you’ve been pulled over on the freeway, allegedly for tailgating, and the cop says he wants to search your car. There’s pot inside. What should you do?
Above all, you should remain calm. The worst possible thing you can do when dealing with the police is panic. And even the worst-case scenario isn’t really that terrible: a few nights in the lockup and a dent on your criminal record. Not fun, definitely, but not life-threatening.
You can usually avoid even the flimsiest of sanctions by keeping your wits about you. Don’t be dodgy or evasive, just answer with simple yeses and nos. If a cop asks whether you’re carrying, stop talking and ask for a lawyer. Always keep in mind: You can’t be punished for invoking your constitutional rights.
2: Limit Your Weight
Depending on who you are and where you live, you may not have much control over this. But the best way to make sure a civil violation doesn’t get knocked up to a misdemeanor is to carry small weights.
In most states where weed is either decriminalized or legal, that comes out to something like an ounce of weed, which is usually a $200-$300 investment. Sometimes you may have to carry more than that, but it’s obviously better to get busted within the limits of what your state allows than to get caught with sale weight.
3. Separate Fact from Scare
Here’s a piece of wisdom you can share with newcomers: It’s actually pretty safe to buy weed on Craigslist. It may be a sketchier transaction in states that still put stoners in jail, but in most places it’s just fine.
Of course, you have to watch out for scammers, especially people who might rob you and people who sell for outrageous prices. Fortunately, unless possession is a crime where you live, the real dealers will drown out the scammers.
Think about it. Craigslist doesn’t conform to jurisdictional boundaries, so an attempt to orchestrate a major bust in anything like a metropolitan area is bound to fail. What’s more, online stings cost money – a lot more money than the city, state, or county is ultimately going to make off your citation. They almost never waste their time on pot buyers.
4. Know Your Local Police
If you’re really worried about a criminal charge or even a ticket, the first thing you should do is read up on your local police department. Do a lot of people get busted for possession in your town? Do cops pull over a lot of speeders?
Also, what are the demographics? If you’re a white person buying in an all-black neighborhood or a black person buying in an all-white neighborhood, your presence may not be appreciated, with or without good reason.
You don’t have to do anything extreme. Just get a sense for how potheads are tolerated (or not) in your town. If they see weed as an annoyance, you’re probably in the clear. If they’re fascists, you’ll have to be more careful.