mary jane

Reader P. D. asks:

I have been dating a wonderful guy for three months and everything seems pretty much perfect. We talk sometimes about what exactly will be our one sticking point in the future, and we both agree it’s going to be one thing: his pot smoking habit. I don’t smoke weed, it just doesn’t do anything good for me. But he smokes it pretty much all the time, mostly because of a back injury he had a few years ago. I really don’t mind it right now, because it doesn’t make him violent or crazy or anything. But it does make him extremely lazy, and we’re a hiking-camping-outdoorsy type of couple. I think it’s going to get on my nerves eventually. Do you think I should ask him to quit?

Dear P.D.:

this is grass

Your biggest problem? Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most folks in our generation agree that pot should probably be legal. It’s less harmful than alcohol in terms of how it makes the user behave, and there are fewer health detriments. (From what I know, but yes, it’s true, I’m no medical research scientist.) Also, the government could get all kinds of tax money from regulating it, yadda yadda. The fact that it is approved for medical use in many states is reminiscent of the use of whiskey for medical reasons in the prohibition era, so we may well be on our way to this widely-used illicit substance becoming officially normalized.

This is all to say, I’m with you — I have no problem with marijuana usage, even though I don’t indulge in it myself.

However, I understand your concern about him “using it all the time.”

Any highly available substance can also be easily abused, even in an off-hand, non-rehab-needing way. Alcohol is the same way. Many of us have friends who drink too much, and even if it’s not getting in the way of their work life, it can wreak havoc on other aspects of living. Someone who can’t go a night without a drink is a bore, the same way someone who can’t go a night without a toke is.

While marijuana use may not have long-term health effects like alcohol does (well, no one is going to argue that inhaling smoke is good for your lungs), and while it may not be technically addictive, it’s still a mind-altering substance that causes behavioral changes, at least temporarily. If you don’t like who he is when he changes, you should let him know.

If you feel that he smokes too much weed and that it interferes with your relationship because he’s not interested in doing anything, you can, by all means, ask him to cut back. Asking him to quit is a bit strong, especially since you admit you don’t mind that he hits the reefer from time to time. There’s a fine line between “lover” and “nag” that we women have to walk, especially as the relationship deepens with age.

In fact, I would recommend talking about the issue now while things are still fresh. The best time to mold a relationship into what you want is when it’s young. Both of you should figure out your limits now, before you come to resent the little quirks you both find endearing now. If you admit that his pot smoking will probably be an issue in the future, address it in the present. Why not prepare for the bumps in the road beforehand? Or better yet, pave over them before you get there.

So no, I don’t think you should ask him to quit. I think the two of you should discuss his usage and determine a set of rules regarding how much you can stand (which is at least some) versus how much he wants to smoke (which is all the time). Remind him that part of the reason you like him is that you two go out and do things, and you feel that his substance use limits your ability to do so. And remember that he’s not smoking weed to hurt your feelings; he’s doing it because he genuinely enjoys it. It’s hard to give up doing things we genuinely enjoy. Which is why I think he’ll be willing to compromise with you: he genuinely enjoys you.


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