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How to deal with a pot-intolerant roommate?
March 28, 2012 7:08 AM   Subscribe

My roommate is going to try to kick me out of the apartment for breaching one of his rules twice. I am struggling with communicating how sorry I am and how much I would like to stay.

Background: I'm a 20-something living in a great group apartment the past two years in a wonderful complex where the neighbors are all nice and young and know each other. My living situation is generally awesome and I try to be a great roommate - I am not messy, I do my dishes, I don't fight/argue/act passive aggressive with other roommates, I am extremely quiet, and really strive to be the ideal roommate in every regard as it pertains to not infringing on my other roommates lives. My roommate throws multiple large parties per year that likely violate space/noise violations, though I have no issues with it and even help him prepare/clean up. I have a professional 9-5 job and pay my bills.

Despite this, there is one rule I have broken twice: One of my roommates (who manages the relationship with the landlord) has caught me using marijuana in my bedroom on two occasions, despite a strict no-drugs policy. I use marijuana to help me sleep and ease my anxiety, things that I've struggled with my whole life, and I've recently found self-medicating with it to be far more effective than the multitude of negative side effects that I experience with prescription anxiety and sleeping pills. The first time I was "caught" was a few months ago, and I was stupid about it - I thought that despite using a small portable vaporizer there would be no scent. He came to my bedroom and told me he could smell it and this was my warning. I apologized and told him I'd stop.

That was a lie. The other night after a particularly stressful day and anticipated sleeping problems, I decided I'd take the risk to vaporize again - this time, near the window, towel under the door - every precaution taken to stay out of everyone's way. Apparently this wasn't enough - he came to my room about an hour later to inform me that he knew what was going on, and that he "couldn't breathe" from the smoke (there was no smoke)(he does not have any experience with pot). His eyes were watery and he told me we need to have an important meeting about this next week.

Yeah, it was shitty to lie. I guess I justified it in my head by thinking that because it's such a "party house" otherwise, and because pot is generally so harmless and becoming increasingly socially accepted, it wouldn't be a big deal/I am doing it in the privacy of my room so this doesn't harm anyone. But clearly it is - and my roommate has every right to live in a drug-free environment if that is his wish. I suspect he is going to ask me to move out of the apartment.

I realize the easy answer here is "find another living situation where pot is tolerated" but I would like to tell him I'll stop using drugs in the house and I would like to mean it, and for him to believe me, because I love it here and love my neighborhood, my neighbors, my other roommates, and the easy and affordable living situation that I have. I live in an expensive city and can not afford to live anywhere else in a location as great as I am in. So getting kicked out of here would definitely be like getting kicked out of the garden of eden. But I'm not quite sure how to apologize for breaching his trust and doing something he specifically asked me not to do.

I am just having trouble articulating everything. I went from feeling like a "responsible drug user" to feeling like a piece of shit "druggie" in no time. Do I explain why I used marijuana to begin with (sleep issues/anxiety) and how I justified it or is that worthless to him? I'm just having a really difficult time figuring out how to make him feel at ease about this. This is certainly a situation where he could easily say "you're only sorry because you got caught" and also, why should he believe me if I lied the first time?

I have already considered the fact that because I messed up, it may be time to back up my things and leave. So I am here seeking alternative advice on how to resolve things.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (46 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
first, get on your own side. you're so apologetic from the get-go that you sound like you're conceding the discussion before it begins. do you need to do this for your health? then say so. if that means you've got to find somewhere else to live, let him say that - that's not your side of the discussion. have you got any close friends who know you do this and who would support you in doing so? it might be a good time for a major pep talk.
posted by facetious at 7:15 AM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Aside from any activities you engaged in, is your roommate the only one on the lease? Can you get a mod to answer that?
posted by 200burritos at 7:16 AM on March 28, 2012


Packing up your things is a wise move at this point, because ultimately whether you can stay or have to go is out of your control.

If you want to maximize your chance of staying, you need to have a very clear answer to how you are going to deal with your stress without pot. That may require you seeing a doctor and getting a prescription for another sleep aid so you can tell your roommate/landlord that you've found a different solution. Simply saying you won't use again probably won't work, because you already offered that solution and it didn't work.
posted by philosophygeek at 7:17 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you should free yourself from guilt. You want to occasionally use pot, your roommate wants to live in a household where no one uses illegal drugs. Neither of you is a bad person, you just aren't suited to be roommates. I'm sure you could find a living situation that would be willing to look the other way if you're otherwise a good roommate.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:18 AM on March 28, 2012 [34 favorites]


Your roommate is going to be (justifiably) skeptical of any assurance that you might give him that you'll adhere to the rules that you've agreed to.

Whatever your roommate's objections to it might be, he established the rules and you agreed to them. Your best bet is probably going to be to find a living situation where your marijuana use is going to be tolerated.

You could expend a lot of effort and energy into asserting and securing your right to do what you want in the current apartment. However, forcing a confrontation over what may be an illegal activity where you live is probably not a good long-term solution.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:19 AM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Honestly? If you have a good job and don't have trouble paying your bills, you might just consider saying to this guy: I screwed up and I deserve to pay a fine and I'm covering your part of the rent this month. If you guys are all 20-somethings, that's no small amount of money. But it sounds like a comparable living situation in your city would, over time, cost you a substantially larger amount of money than one month's extra rent.

But this also involves never smoking pot in your apartment again. You think there's no smoke coming out of your room, but that's obviously not the case, because your roommate did notice it. If no pot in the apartment isn't going to work for you, I think you have no choice but to move. Only you know what you can handle in that respect.
posted by escabeche at 7:20 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's the thing, if you have a roommate who complains about your smoking when you're using a vaporizer, blocking off airflow, etc., etc., you're never going to get this person to be okay with your smoking. You can explain to him all you want, but if he's got his mind set on it, you're just not going to be both smoking and living in that house. So, be really honest with yourself: are you going to smoke again? If you can imagine a situation where you will be, you should cut the grief for both of you and split. It's not fair to him, and it's not fair to you, either.
posted by griphus at 7:21 AM on March 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm going to suggest that you aplogize along the lines of escabache.

Then stop smoking the stuff and make yourself a tincture. It's what we use here for sleep issues and it works like a dream (haha).
posted by saffronwoman at 7:26 AM on March 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Do I explain why I used marijuana to begin with

No. You either apologize and stay in the apartment and abide in good faith by the terms you presumably agreed to when you moved in, or you leave. Those are your only two options.

But you don't need to feel ashamed or like a "druggie". You and this roommate are simply incompatible.

Also, as a non-smoker who has lived in a number of shared housing situations, let me say: You are not as subtle as you think you are. Pot smoke (and cigarette smoke, too) is pungent, and it is awful to come home to that smell if you're not accustomed to it.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:27 AM on March 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


(By "not fair to you" I don't mean that it's an unfair rule. Rather, that you're being unfair to yourself by trying to live by rules you don't respect when you could almost certainly find somewhere to live that didn't have such rules.)
posted by griphus at 7:27 AM on March 28, 2012


What griphus said. If you really really really want to stay in the house, you absolutely can't smoke pot there. Which is your priority, the pot or the house? You can't have both here. And smoke gets EVERYWHERE, so you cannot hide it.

Also, there can be ah, legal issues if one of you gets caught with pot in the house (don't ask me which 'cause I don't smoke, but one friend of mine gets wound up about it), which it is entirely fair of your roommate not to want to deal with.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:28 AM on March 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Your roommate deserves a safe place away from marijuana smoke. You deserve a safe place where you can smoke marijuana for therapeutic reasons. Unless something changes, or you can find an alternative to this dynamic, you need to move on and find another place to live.

One alternative is to get a prescription for Marinol or something similar. The benefits of the effects of marijuana, no smoke. This may not be possible in your state but if it's legal, then I think you'd definitely meet the criteria. If you could get a prescription for Marinol and show that to your roommate, you may be able to salvage the situation. Otherwise, move on and come back to the house for the rocking partays.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:28 AM on March 28, 2012


Fellow pot smoker here, and I've had some of the same problems. First off, it is hard to mask the smell, but it can be done if you smoke in a new place or continue in this one(which I dont recommend). Nag Champa incense. They are your best friend for covering up the smell of pot. Washing your face/brush your teeth also help afterwards. Might I suggest you find a place to walk to and smoke? I am generally not the biggest fan of smoking in public, but it can be done discretely (roll joints or take your little vap for a walk but I am anti-paraphenallia in public for obvious legal issues).

Now the conversation with your roommate. 1.) Do you live in a medical state? If so get the card/recommendation. 2.) Did you sign a lease? Even in the event he wants to kick you out, he may not be able to. 3.) all leases I've seen have a "no drugs blah blah blah" clause in them, its a cya thing.

Also, I would try and be amicable, but firm on how it helps you and you dont want anyone to get in trouble. Empathize, but dont appologize. It is your place too, and you can say "hey I put up with your rule breaking parties" and what not. Not in a defensive way, but one cant wave one rule in the face of another if they cant even follow the rules.

Best of luck and remember... Nag Champa!
posted by handbanana at 7:28 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]



Then stop smoking the stuff and make yourself a tincture. It's what we use here for sleep issues and it works like a dream (haha).


Please don't do this or convince yourself that this is ok. A few folks here are also suggesting ways to cover the smoke. Don't. Just don't. I don't know what your roommate does, but I empathize because a) drugs aren't my thing, and b) having illegal stuff in my living space could directly impact my career.

If you need to smoke/vaporize/whatever, go somewhere else. It's the only responsible and respectful choice. And please don't keep it in the apartment.
posted by bfranklin at 7:34 AM on March 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Also, dont feel guilty or like a "druggie". You are a productive, good citizen, even though you like to enjoy cannabis. Life is too short to be anything but honest to yourself, and do what you do. Besides you probably work for and know "druggies" and not even know it. It isnt the number one cash crop for no reason.
posted by handbanana at 7:35 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


All you can do is explain the situation to him and hope he accepts it.

Honestly, I wouldn't want illegal drugs in my apartment either and I think he has a legitimate right to not want it in his. He made his expectations clear.

But honestly if you like it or feel you need it, then you're not the right roommate for someone who doesn't like this in his apartment. You shouldn't have to change yourself if you don't want to.
posted by inturnaround at 7:48 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Best of luck and remember... Nag Champa!

Despite what many pot smokers think (myself, once among them), Nag Champa is not a disguise for smoke. It is, instead, a giant, glaring, neon sign, flashing a huge arrow as it points to the place pot is being smoked, and the smoker who has fooled themselves into thinking everyone else is oblivious.

Besides which, adding more smoke to a situation with a smoke-sensitive roommate is hardly going to give you an assist.
posted by amelioration at 7:50 AM on March 28, 2012 [59 favorites]


You've lived there for 2 years. I don't know the laws in your jurisdiction, but odds are very very good that he can't kick you out summarily. Obviously, you may decide that you'd be better of elsewhere, or that you'd rather not live there if it means the conflict of refusing to leave when he asks. But keep in mind, if he asks you to leave it's probably just that -- *asking* you.
posted by katemonster at 7:53 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, stop feeling guilty, but be realistic. His rule is not unreasonable, and your use is important to you. Just move.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:54 AM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am a smoker (right now only tobacco) and I have just had someone leave today because of our difference in this regard. I hold the lease and pay the rent. I smoke outside when sharing common space. That was not the problem but a violation of boundaries was - even after I requested the person stop nagging me under the umbrella of "but I care what happens to you" as I didn't need another mother and drew diagrams about personal boundaries, a couple of weeks later I again receive a long email with a bunch of emo in it about my smoking. In my eyes, this person did not respect my boundaries nor my request, which they agreed to the first and second time. And so, the departure.

However this morning's conversation threw up some points which may help you assess your situation and make your decision accordingly:

You (nor your roommate) cannot change anyone else's decision or thinking. He has made a request which you agreed to (you knew the rules of the house), you broke it once, and now you broke it twice. This can also be seen as disrespecting this person and thus their requests. He will now assume you cannot change and vice versa.

Thus you now have a choice - You can either accept the house rules scrupulously or leave.

But driving your roommate crazy (if it drives him crazy) will do neither of you any good in the long run. And if not this time, I'm suspecting you'll be out the next time he recognizes such behaviour.

/ironically, I'd normally be the person in your side of the argument.
posted by infini at 8:00 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do you have a backyard or balcony? Ask him if smoking outside is acceptable.
posted by Strass at 8:01 AM on March 28, 2012


[Nag Champa] is, instead, a giant, glaring, neon sign, flashing a huge arrow as it points to the place pot is being smoked...

Yeah, bingo. Unless your roommate is either a) an idiot or b) grew up in an environment where burning incense was a totally normal, every-day thing, he's going to know that something's up when you replace the mild-smelling vapor you haven't been able to hide with a whole lot of scented smoke. It's like trying to fool the cops by putting your beer in a brown paper bag: it only works if they're not already trying to get you.
posted by griphus at 8:02 AM on March 28, 2012


Answering this from the perspective that I've had roommates in the past and also that smoke (any kind) has triggered asthma problems in the past, too. So if I were as vigilant as your roommate, assuming that his statements are why it bothers him (health)are true, these are the things that I think it would be helpful to see if you wanted to believe someone and move foreward:

• (A) A legitimate apology (just say sorry...not "well you have parties I thought this was okay"), but a pure "I am sorry that I broke the rules/lied and it will not happen again."

• (B) Do make some statement indicating that you understand why it bothers your roommate (e.g. you have had a grandparent with emphysema, or friend who has condition Y that is exacerbated by smoke, and you have seen it and had no idea that your roommate also would react to smoke in the same manner).

• (C) Do mention your rationale as to why you did what you did (there is a difference between the likelihood of someone stopping if they have identified an underlying medical problem vs ."it's fun" or reasons he or she cannot identify).

• (D) A real plan as to how it will not happen again. A believable plan.So if it is anxiety problems, then you have an appointment with a psychiatrist and/or GP to reassess. In addition, your other plan is to (only if it gets bad) continue to do this at another friend's place. But if there were no plan in place to address both the underlying cause and if it becomes too much, then it would not be believable (to me).

Alternatively, you could move out and find a place with someone who has similar philosophies (surely there are other places with people your age and similar cost/roommate share/but you have the same philosophy and perspective in regards to marajuana). But I'm just pretending to be in your roommate's shoes and stating the things that I would truly want to make it workable.
posted by Wolfster at 8:02 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Would smoking outside be an acceptable compromise?

As someone who is not even close to "pot-intolerant" and lives with several roommates who smoke it heavily (but never, ever inside)...smoking inside is really disrespectful to non-smokers, or even light smokers who are sensitive to smoke. If he can notice the smell and it's bothering him, I'm not sure why it's relevant that you don't think he should be able to notice the smell, or what you're doing to cover it up. The lying just adds another level of disrespect.

Your best result is likely to come from sitting down and talking to him honestly about what about the pot bothers him, why you think it's necessary for you, and how you might be able to solve the problem. It's worth a shot if you really want to stay, but the lying would be a dealbreaker for me if I were your landlord, so it may be too late for that and you may be stuck moving.
posted by randomnity at 8:02 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


handbanana, the thing with nag champa is that while it covers the smell of smoke, it smells just as bad to a non-pot smoker as pot does. And it's also a sure give-away that pot is being smoked.

Anyway, the first thing to figure out is whether your roommate has a problem with the smell, the illegality, or both.

The thing with tinctures or incense or using a spoof (cardboard tube stuffed with fabric softener sheets) is that you're still breaking your roommate's rules and violating his trust. Now, I think his rules are silly and overly paranoid, but the fact is, you're putting him in a legally compromising position (albeit a very small one) without his consent by keeping and using weed in the house.

The only thing I can recommend is that you talk to your roommate, explain the situation, and offer some kind of system—with his informed consent—for how you're going to handle this in the future. My recommendation is to make a stoner friend or two nearby, whose houses you can drop by for an hour or so when you need to blaze. This is a different mode of smoking than you probably used previously (having a bit just before you go to bed) because it requires planning ahead. Or, if he's OK with you keeping your stuff there but not smoking in the house, then I recommend finding a place to go take a walk.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:03 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting insight on my Nag Champa recommendation. See I have been an incense burner/ candles since before I became a stoner, so it has always been a normalized routine during my day. And yes, I know it has the connotation of smoking illict substances, but certainly isnt a probable cause. I'd love to see a case besides a dorm room (where nothing is allowed) where incense were.

Also, failed to think of those with allergies so that is something to take into account. So that is a my bad.

Perhaps not in the apartment is the best idea. I feel ya though, as I've stood outside in 10 degree weather just so I could smoke, so you do what you have to do.

Merely my suggestion which has been rather fool proof for myself, and my apartment dwelling friends, with zero repercussions.
posted by handbanana at 8:16 AM on March 28, 2012


FWIW, though I think pot should be legal, I wouldn't want to live with someone who smokes it, because the smell makes me ill. Lying about it twice just makes me sure you'd keep lying about it. The having illegal drugs in the home could also be an issue. As your roommate, I would be really unlikely to change my mind at this point. Maybe if you had a specific plan to do something else for your anxiety, but even then I am not sure.

I don't think you're a bad person. You are just not compatible with your roommate.
posted by jeather at 8:18 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your roommate might be afraid of the implications of having someone who has drugs in the house. If the police come, then your roommate could be in trouble. I wouldn't want someone who does drugs in my house for that very reason. I wouldn't want a felony or misdemeanor on my record.

On preview, what jeather said.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:21 AM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


His rule isn't unreasonable, but you aren't unreasonable either. The thing is, possession (no pun intended) is 9/10ths of the law, and you reside in the apartment, and it's a heckuva lot of trouble for him to take it away from you.

This is a personal, not a legal dispute. There's no reason you can't resolve it to everyone's satisfaction on your own timetable. The thing is that you're so apologetic about everything that I have a feeling your instinct will just be to do whatever your roommate says and allow him to kick you out at your leisure. He can't really kick you out unless you let him, but you come across as someone who's going to let him kick you out. Use the leverage you have to find a better living situation at your own pace, so you can find an equivalent situation. Or, alternately, convince him to leave.
posted by deanc at 8:23 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I personally hate the smell of pot and while I usually overlook it, I'm not happy about it. Wolfster has a good 4-step plan. The most important thing I think you need to do is convince your roommate that you have an underlying medical problem and that you're going to take action to correct it another way. Just be careful about how you state it because it could come across to him that you have a dependency and thus won't change no matter what you say. You just need to convince him that you will change. Since you've gotten along for 2 years, he probably knows you pretty well and will judge your trustworthiness in this matter based on your overall behavior. You don't need to turn this into a big "I leave or you leave" drama -- just talk with him through it and resolve it so it isn't an issue for either of you.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:27 AM on March 28, 2012


You aren't a bad person for using marijuana occasionally. You're not a bad person for lying, either, really, but the lying is what you need to apologize for.

Things-that-smell, even when they aren't smoke, can cause issues for some people with respiratory problems, just in general. Even if they don't make your lungs seize up, you can be so apprehensive about whether they're going to do that, that it remains a very uncomfortable and unpleasant situation. And pot... well, it stinks, at least to me. Nag Champa is at best not an improvement, and at worst, when my breathing is a problem, would be just as bad if not even more hard on me.

That doesn't make what you're doing bad, or whatever, but I don't think he's making it up that he can tell, unless he's randomly bursting in on you a lot with random allegations along the same lines. He's sensitive to it. He's asked for rules, based on that. You knew that and now you're probably stuck with it. There are other good ways of dealing with anxiety, long-term, that are probably healthier and lower-risk from a legal perspective. If you really want to make a go of this, I'd just go prepared to have a reasonable discussion about how you have this anxiety problem that you have been trying to work on, and that you made a poor decision about how to do that because it was a violation of the rules, but they were a couple of really rough nights, you're willing to make it up to him, and you are really going to commit to the rules now because you've grown to understand how it really bothers him and it's not just an arbitrary thing and you want to be considerate of that.
posted by gracedissolved at 8:31 AM on March 28, 2012


Apologize and offer to give him your vaporizer and any other paraphernalia to store until you move out. That's a good way to show him you're serious about not smoking, if that's the road you want to take.

Truth be told though, it sounds like you need to smoke outside/not in your house or not live there...this is a very incongrunent situation you're in now.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:37 AM on March 28, 2012


He doesn't need to 'understand pot' and he needs to have a roommate that doesn't make false promises or do illegal things in his apartment.

He seems to get the final say as to whether you go or not but you definitely need to either change your living situation or change your anxiety management system.
posted by bquarters at 8:42 AM on March 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


I have some group house experience and have seen something like this play out twice before. It's never pretty.

This is actually pretty straightforward--you violated the terms of your housing agreement and were caught twice. You have exposed the entire house to potential legal issues if you are keeping marijuana in the house, as well. But most importantly: The other roommate will never, ever trust you again and will always be looking for (sniffing for) signs that you're using cannabis in your room. So if that's an acceptable outcome for you, then sure, you can try to grovel your way back.

I think you also need to recognize that his parties--the ones you describe in the background to this--are completely and totally immaterial to *your* situation. Just because he is doing something that you think might possibly violate someone else's noise regulations doesn't mean that your use of drugs in the house is any more acceptable. That's just a justification--and not a very good one.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:08 AM on March 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have no problem whatsoever with pot, and like others I think it should be legal...but it isn't. I don't like having drugs in my apartment (I live alone now so it isn't a problem) because I would get in trouble too if the drugs were confiscated.

Since you promised not to smoke in the apartment and broke the promise twice, your roommate doesn't have much of a reason to trust you again. I wouldn't.

I don't think it would be worth it to resist him if he asks you to move out since you are in the wrong here - with respect to roommate agreements and the law. If I were your roommate and asked you to move out, the best apology you could give me would be acknowledging that you were in the wrong, and then moving out.
posted by fromageball at 9:22 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


So getting kicked out of here would definitely be like getting kicked out of the garden of eden.

Recognize that you're being melodramatic. I don't intend that to be rude; you seem to have thought a lot about your situation, you seem to have a realistic view of your options, you discussed in your question pretty much everything that commenters have suggested, and ultimately you asked for "alternative advice." So that's my alternative advice: You are using melodramatic language to describe the apartment you're being kicked out of, and that fact makes me skeptical of your claim that you cannot find or afford to live in a comparable location. Take a deep breath—of air, or whatever you fancy—to ease your anxiety for a moment, and then really put your back into the task of searching for a comparable arrangement. It's a big world and you might find one.
posted by cribcage at 9:32 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You mention liking your neighbors, is there any way you could burn with them? If you offer to share they would probably be down. Also what kind of vaporizer do you have? There should be no smell at all. Invest in a magic flight launch box or something if that isn't what you're using. It's small, portable, and super discrete so you could walk around outside with it. I disagree with those getting panties in bunches over illegal things in the house, as unless you are are in possession of large amounts and keep it in the open I can't imagine any reason you would incur legal issues as its not like anyone will be searching your room like ever. It seems like this roommate is getting up in your business for something that doesn't really involve him.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 9:57 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Leave, knowing that this is you choosing integrity over easiness. It would be easy to keep on lying or trying to cover it up, but instead you know that you just have a different set of rules than a friend, so you're going to find a different arrangement.

Alternatively, you could ask your roommate if taking marijuana in the form of a tea would be alright, but I don't know if that would go over well.

(Also, Nag Champa is like blasting porn to cover up the sounds of sex.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:13 AM on March 28, 2012


Your roommate might be afraid of the implications of having someone who has drugs in the house. If the police come, then your roommate could be in trouble. I wouldn't want someone who does drugs in my house for that very reason. I wouldn't want a felony or misdemeanor on my record.

I think you need to have a frank talk with your roommate about why the pot bothers him. If it's because he's worried about the legal implications, perhaps showing him the relevant laws would help. You don't say what state you're in, but in California, possession of less than one ounce of pot is a $100 fine, and is an infraction - not a felony or misdemeanor. Citation.

If it's because of the smell, perhaps you could use an entirely smell-free method, like edibles.

If it's because he's just not comfortable around drugs (which is totally valid), then you'll need to decide whether it's worth it to you stop with the pot 100% and live in the house, or find an alternative place to smoke, or live elsewhere.

I think that if you're honest with him about where you're coming from, and ask him why he's uncomfortable, and really listen to his concerns, you'll have more success than if you make assumptions about his reasoning.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:19 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, this is not helping your anxiety or your sleep. Perhaps you should take some concrete steps to find a solution.
1. Have a frank talk with your housemate - is this repairable? What does the housemate need to make up for the problem (apology, money, a new game plan)? How can you use pot in a way that works for the house - a nonsmoke form (tea, brownies, tincture, etc), at someone else's house, never, etc
You are two people in a (platonic) relationship and your needs have changed. Either there is a compromise that can be reached or the relationship needs to end. And that is ok.

2. Ask others in the neighborhood about possible housing for you.

3. Ask a friend to come to both the frank talk and the larger house meeting to be your support.

4. Make that appointment for your anxiety - it will look good for your game plan and hopefully you will get some much needed help.

5. Oh, and do not smoke or vaporize pot in the house again.
Good luck.
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 1:01 PM on March 28, 2012


Look, weed is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Where I live you're issued a citation and you pay a tiny fine as long as what you're holding is under one ounce. It's not a criminal matter. I've paid this fine in two different states. And yeah, I'm an unapologetic weed smoker. I think your roommate is being unreasonable if you live in a state were a pot ticket is nothing more than a violation. In college I used my vape and a towel barrier to hide my weed smoking from my crazy power tripping RA. Worked like a charm and we lived in the same suite.

If you're relationship with your RM is that important to you follow the advice upthread and grove your little heart out. But is recommend finding more easy going RMs. You shouldn't have to live with someone who makes you feel like a sleepy drug dealer because you enjoy marijuana. There's nothing room with what you're doing.
posted by OsoMeaty at 1:47 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


*skeevy, not sleepy. So many typos, damn phone.
posted by OsoMeaty at 1:50 PM on March 28, 2012


I think your roommate is being unreasonable if you live in a state were a pot ticket is nothing more than a violation

Are you kidding me? It's not the pot smoking roommate's place to unilaterally decide on the other roommates behalf whether a citation is a "big deal" or not. Getting a citation for this could be a big deal to the other roommates, depending on their ability to get future decent landlord references, or their line of work.

OP, I think you need to seriously consider moving. This is a serious dealbreaker issue for a lot of roommates. There are houses where roommates don't care about this kind of thing, but yours does. Also, consider that since your roommate is the one with the primary relationship with the landlord, they have the upper-hand already. I think all parties will be better off if you move somewhere where this isn't a big deal.
posted by mostly vowels at 4:19 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Marijuana bothers me too, so I understand your roommate's POV. I grew up with my mom smoking, but it irritated my nose, eyes, and throat, so she smoked it outside until I moved out. Some people are focusing on legal issues or personal opinions on pot, but we're not sure that's part of the problem. The OP said his/her roommate's eyes were watering and that the smoke bothered him. He probably meant the scent, not the smoke, which is what irritates my nose and throat. I guess it's allergies; I'm also allergic to most of the outdoors. ;)

Solution: First off, apologize. Smoking isn't wrong, but it is wrong to lie about it in your situation. Then ask your roommate if you can smoke outside ONLY. Obviously, this isn't going to fly if he's also worried about its legality. Be prepared to lose that battle. He has no reason to trust you or risk the smallest of fines for you.

Personally, I'd start looking for pot-friendly living arrangements.
posted by plaintiff6r at 4:25 PM on March 28, 2012


You're basically going to have to stop smoking entirely if you want to live there - all of your legal rights as a tenant go out the window when someone can just call the cops and have you arrested. Personally, I suggest moving. If you're a 20-something and you're looking to live with other people your age, it's going to be very, very easy to find roommates who don't mind pot.
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:09 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have mixed feelings about your post. Although I understand that you like using weed for your problems, I am on your roommate's side here. Your attitude seems so excessively apologetic and self-berating that I have trouble taking you as sincere. To me, being excessively sorry over a behaviour that you have promised to change is no substitute for changing the behaviour. To me, it doesn't sound like you're actually sorry, it sounds like you want approval even though you broke your promise, which is just b.s.
The fact that you went to these great lengths to try to secretly smoke weed in your room after promising you wouldn't just makes you seem untrustworthy, not considerate. Pointing out that your roommate has broken the rules and you haven't complained doesn't score you any extra points- if you didn't complain, he must have thought you didn't mind, but he made his position on this issue very clear.
Drugs are a really hot-button issue for some people, for a variety of reasons, and it's totally reasonable for someone not to want to be subjected to that in their home.
posted by windykites at 4:02 AM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


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