Doing Time In Arizona

After I got back on my feet in October, we decided to go hiking in Arizona over the holidays. We love to travel, and we love to hike.

Regular readers know that I rediscovered pot as a means for dealing with chronic pain before I got my back fixed. I have a medical marijuana card and have access to plenty of excellent, locally grown weed.

Following the surgery, I was waking up multiple times in the night with my muscles in a complete spasm. Both orthopedists reassured me that it wasn’t Parkinson’s or a brain tumor and that the symptom would eventually go away. After weeks of interrupted sleep before and after the surgery, I figured out that I could knock the spasms back by a factor of ten if I smoked pot before getting into bed.

I’m not going to lie. I have always loved to hike when I’m stoned. So, when I thought about Arizona, hiking, and getting good night’s sleep in questionable beds, I concluded that by hook or by crook, I was going to get a few grams of weed from Rhode Island to Arizona.

I hate stupid laws, but none more than the pot prohibition. In the comfort of my own liberal blue state, with mostly sane public servants, and a police force staffed with people I grew up with, I have quietly broken the pot prohibition since I was fourteen. Despite my subversive heart and a life of crime, I have never had any run-ins with the law, and will probably be remembered as a good citizen and regular churchgoer when I’m dead.

Several weeks before our journey, I began thinking about how to commit my terrible crime, and came up with what I thought was a perfect plan.

A batch of brownies initially seemed like a good way to transport pot, but was ultimately rejected because the effects are too unpredictable and the high lasts too long.  A friend suggested I buy a big, fat lipstick, remove the lipstick, shove the weed into the barrel and then send it past the TSA  in my carry on. She might be able to pull this off, but I would never get away with it.

Since our trip was to take place over Christmas, it seemed to me that the best way to transport my stash would be in the guise of a wrapped Christmas package in my checked baggage, preferably a smelly one containing scented candles. With this in mind, I took a meander through Marshalls, and quickly found the perfect package.

I ran a few grams of Vortex  through a coffee grinder, wrapped it in waxed paper, sandwiched it between the cardboard, put the whole thing back together with a stick of incense thrown in, and wrapped it up with some festive paper and a bow. I was delighted with my plan until my confidence was ruined by a Panel of Experts.

The Panel of Experts told me I was an idiot and would get caught. These experts painted a grim picture of me and my family, once again trapped in an airport because of my stupidity. According to them, the luggage would be scanned, and the cardboard inserts in the package of candles, packed deep in my backpack would raise a multitude of red flags, and we would be greeted in Arizona by Jan Brewer herself, brandishing a pair of handcuffs and an assault weapon.

Some of the experts suggested that the better course of action would be to send the weed to myself in care of the place we were staying for the the first few nights.

The Panel of Experts are, well, more expert than I, so in the face of their criticism and mockery, I conceded that I was an idiot, and agreed that committing a federal offense by sending marijuana to myself through the United States Postal Service was a superior plan.

The following morning, I gave the  hostess at the guest house a call to “check on our reservation” and to inquire if it would be alright if my aunt sent sent me a Christmas gift care of the guest house. Of course, she said, so off I went to our local post office with my little stash of weed.

It was a week before Christmas and the post office was packed, so it took about 20 minutes to get through the line. By the time I got to the counter, I was having olfactory hallucinations involving skunky weed, and my face was as guilty as the day is long. When the clerk asked me if I’d like a tracking number I nearly wet my pants.

When sending pot through the mail to oneself, one has to grapple with that question of what to put for a return address. I had been cautioned by the experts that it was important to have a return address, so as not to raise suspicions with the Postal Inspectors. Being a jittery felon, I spontaneously decided to use my deceased mother’s name and give her a fictitious address in Central Falls, RI. I don’t know why I did that, but at that moment it seemed both clever and funny.

When I returned from the post office after sending pot to myself from my dead mother in Central Falls, My Royal Consort prissily informed me that marijuana possession in  Arizona is a felony, punishable by four months to one year in prison and a $750 fine. After the color drained out of my face and I had huffed off in to another part of the house to contemplate my dismal future, he took pity on me and did some more research which yielded the reassuring information that Arizona honors medical marijuana cards from other states. The only problem was that it is illegal to buy marijuana in Arizona from a dispensary if you are from out of state.

Never had postal workers seemed more terrifying. I pictured the murky Postal Inspectors, toiling away in a dark room, scanning and probing packages with high tech light sabers. Playing upon my fears, the Panel of Experts began to talk smack about my made up return address, the type of mailer I had chosen (You sent it in a priority envelope and not an express envelope?! Those are the kind they look at the closest!), and the fact that I had not hermetically sealed the weed before putting it in the box.

Had I been the type to use legal drugs, I might have popped a few Valiums and washed them down with whiskey to get rid of my galloping anxiety over the chain of events I had unleashed that were now leading inexorably to my doom.

I paid $6 to have my package arrive by the time we got to Arizona, and after a long day of traveling, I sincerely hoped it would end with a relaxing joint and a cold beer in our desert paradise, but when we checked in, my package was ominously absent.

The following day, the weed still had not arrived. We went hiking, and when we returned, I was pleasantly surprised to not be greeted by federal agents. I was too embarrassed to inquire after my package a second time because I didn’t want to appear appear complicit in case the postal inspectors had contacted the guest house.  The next day, the package still had not come, but instead of feeling disappointed, I felt relieved that we would soon be moving on before the agents arrived.

It is important to note that we had flown in to Phoenix and were spending a few days in Florence, home of the Arizona State Prison. Not only that, but Arizona boasts some very progressive public servants, most notably, Governor Brewer, and mayoral candidate Vernon Parker—a demented Tea Party favorite who famously proposed dismantling  the Department of Education.

Arizona is also noted for having the death penalty, and for approving the retrograde law that lets cops harass the brown people at will. To me, the political climate feels about as hospitable as the Sonora Desert. Despite all this, I really wanted to spend a week or two getting  stoned and hiking in the spectacular canyons with my newly renovated spine.

On our third and final day in Florence, there was a terse knock on the door by a man holding a flat package from the United States Postal Service. Merry Christmas, he said as he handed it to me before turning on his heel.

Merry Christmas! Just knowing that I was not going to be arrested and charged with state and federal crimes made it the best Christmas ever.

Package in hand, I continued on my merry way to the little  town of Bisbee.

Like what your read? Then be sure to subscribe or share via the social media of your choice. Want pictures of the spectacular Arizona wilderness? If enough people ask for them via the comment box, I’ll put together a gallery.



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  1. susan says:

    really enjoyed reading this thriller- and you get an A+ for creativity! a prickly pear cactus pipe? hot damn!

    1. admin says:

      Thank you! You know, once big business gets hold of pot once it’s legalized, 95% of the fun will be gone. Who doesn’t love the frisson of naughtiness? The sneaking around? The creativity and engineering needed to fashion delivery systems in harsh environments?

  2. Al says:

    I would have substituted Vicodin for the Valium, but I’m glad you finally got relief. Bisbee? Sounds interesting.

    1. admin says:

      Ugh, I hate all of those scary pharmaceuticals! Despite my wicked ways, I would have to break my back to go near any of those things. Remind me to tell you about my bogus adventure with percocet following my back surgery–suffice it to say that it involved an ambulance ride and probably took years off of MRC’s life!

  3. jcnorton says:

    Sweet relief! You had me on the edge of my seat.

    1. admin says:

      I am truly the world’s wimpiest felon.

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