Humboldt Stories: Marijuana Anonymous


Sharon Letts

It’s not Weeds, It’s real.
“Hi, I’m Caitlin and I’m a Stoner”
Story and Photos By Sharon Letts
Caitlin walked quickly through the living room, into the dining room, and back out through the kitchen, then back again.
“I should leave in 15 minutes,” she thought, and made one more loop around the house.
“No fucking willpower,” she said aloud, and without another thought, she went straight into the bedroom, took a small tray from the bookshelf, and sat on the bed.
On the tray sat a wooden box, and inside held a rolling machine, papers, lighter, ashtray, and a little jar of kief-rich trim.
The plastic rolling machine hurt the inside of her thumb as she rolled the device. Friends teased for her lack of hand-rolling-know-how. “You aren’t a stoner, Caitlin, you are a casual user,” they chided.

The hard edge of the plastic was creating a callous inside her right thumb where the bone met the skin. There was a sore spot where the edge of the machine repeatedly scraped. “No,” she thought to herself. “I’m not just a ‘casual user,’ I’m a lab rat, and will push this button until my finger bleeds, literally. Pavlov’s dogs have nothing on me.”
Lighting the end, she took a deep drag, and instantly felt the tension leave her stomach, her shoulders fell, and her body relaxed.
Looking at the clock, she put the tray back on the shelf, and grabbed her car keys from the hook by the door.
Caitlin parked her car in the parking lot of a local apartment complex, and headed for the Community Room.
“No Train Wreck” was the theme of this MA, or Marijuana Anonymous meeting.
“Surreal,” she thought, as that was the strain currently flowing through her brain.
She had heard the demographics in the room might surprise her, as everyone from retail workers in Eureka to conservative Republican ranchers in Ferndale had a grow in an outbuilding, back room, or garage in Humboldt. Subsidy knows no name, no religion, and no political party. After all, stating your affiliation doesn’t put food on the table in this recessed, rural area.
One by one she watched and listened as each person rose, stated his or her name and why they were there.
She wondered why she was there, sipping weak coffee in a stuffy room on a Tuesday night. She was alright. She was a college student, doing well with her studies – paying off her student loans with a legal grow – well in California, anyway. Finally, it was her turn.
“Hi, I’m Caitlin and I’m… a stoner,” she paused – a hiccup stuck in her throat.
“Hi, Caitlin,” the room responded accordingly.
“I mean, I smoke a lot, and I can’t… I mean, I don’t understand why I do… why I smoke so much. I mean, it does help me.”
Caitlin looked around the room at the eyes upon her. A professional-looking woman in her fifties seemed to have permanently raised eyebrows; while another younger woman smiled, knowingly. A few middle-aged men seemed disinvested, as if they were forced to be there.
“I started smoking pot when I was 16,” she continued. “A friend had a joint, and we stopped off at the gas station bathroom a block from my house. It was probably around 7:30 in the morning – I remember, because we were on our way to class… I was a sophomore in high school.” 
Caitlin paused, not for another hiccup, but to get a reading on the expressions around the room. 
Some nodded, knowingly, some seemed a bit surprised. All continued to listen attentively at her story.
“I liked it the first time I tried it,” she continued. “It made me feel calm and I didn’t have that at home. My father was an alcoholic. He died of an overdose of prescription meds and alcohol,” she trailed, and paused, unsure of how much to share during a first meeting.
She would later learn that many in the room were also attending Alcoholics Anonymous, mostly due to DUIs and assorted complications.
“When my mom found out I had a little plant sprouting between her roses, and she had been fertilizing it with Miracle Grow, she was curious and continued to water and fertilize it while I was in school.”
The same eyebrows were up, but she felt calmer and continued with her story.
“When my dad found out he made me pull them, but I dried it all in the oven and smoked it anyway. My mom tried some – though it made her cough and said it wasn’t her thing.
Laughter ensued and Caitlin smiled at how odd a story it really was.
“Over the years I’ve smoked and not smoked, depending on how my life was going,” she paused, and carefully said, “I don’t want to say I’m addicted, but it’s definitely become a chronic habit and I’m ready to make a change, or at least get a better understanding.”
Caitlin stood there unsure what to say next and glanced at a list of “12 Steps” on the wall.
“I’m ready to admit that I am powerless over Cannabis,” she said, reciting step number one, tears filling her eyes. 
The room applauded, confirming she had said enough. “It’s a beginning,” she thought, and took her seat, although something didn’t feel quite right.
A young man with blond dreads stood up next to her, and as he did, he gave her a little wink.
“Hi, my name is Kaleb and I am addicted to marijuana.”
“Hi, Kaleb!” the room responded, eager to hear his story.

Sharon Letts
“Humboldt Stories” author Sharon Letts

Editor’s note: Sharon Letts began her love of gardening in Southern California by her mother’s side, watching as she buried fish heads at the base of roses.

At 24, Sharon hung her shingle, “Secret Garden,” planting flower beds for dainty ladies. Gardening led to producing and writing for television with “Secret Garden Productions.”

Today Sharon makes her home in Humboldt County, cannabis capitol of the world, where she continues to write about gardening and all that implies, advocating for the bud, and writing for many magazines, including Toke of the Town.

Her series, “Humboldt Stories,” is a fictional account, based on fact, of the Humboldt grow scene. Tag line: “It’s not Weeds, it’s real.”

With her partner, Craig Carroll, they pen “Road Trip: In Search of Good Medicine,” touring the Golden State, following the green rush.