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Squares for Safety! Help me talk to my bf about burn rides.
June 24, 2014 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Rate my reaction to burn rides. Am I getting upset about the marijuana equivalent of an alcoholic drink with dinner? Also: How to talk to my boyfriend about it.

The answers in this question helped me out a lot, and I still have some concerns.

I may not use the right terms, because, well, I don't know them.

My boyfriend likes to go on burn rides, which I am 100% Not Ok with. I'm worried that he's going to hit somebody's kid. Or get pulled over.

I've only been high once, and I wouldn't have been comfortable driving.

I'd be fine driving after having a beer, someone else might not be. I don't know if the amount of pot he smokes gets him "one beer in" or "6 beers in". He's told me that it's not fair to compare alcohol and pot, since people react differently and the chemicals do different things in your body. All I know is the one time I got hotboxed, I was in no shape to be driving around.

Boyfriend facts: 25 years old. About 230 lbs, 5'11"-ish. Been smoking for 10 years. Used to smoke 6 times a day, now it's down to 2-3 times a week if that.

Girlfriend facts (that's me!): 27, 160 lbs, 5'3". Raised in a Reefer Madness/Alcohol will KILL YOU kind of house, accidentally got hotboxed once.

I am deathly worried that he's going to crash into someone/something when he goes on burn rides.

If he's out in nature, wandering around with his buddies in the woods, etc., I don't care. We all have the things that help us relax and unwind.

If pot were legal where we live, I would still have a problem because he's potentially endangering the lives of other people. And his own.

I don't want to tell him what to do. I definitely don't want to make him choose. I am fine with him smoking weed...just not while operating heavy machinery. If he only smokes 1 bowl of sativa, and drives around on a rural back road...am I over-reacting?

Is the the pot equivalent of getting mad because of someone driving after having a drink with dinner? How can I bring this up with him so it doesn't look like I'm trying to run his life?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (51 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This is a bit about his particular circumstances -- e.g., his tolerance and how messed up he is when he goes out. I can't answer that, save that in my limited experience different people are affected to varying degrees, and they are not terribly expert in assessing themselves. See how good that is?

That has little bearing on my real answer, though. I think the way you have presented it here is rational and balanced and caring and perfectly suitable as a way of raising it with him. I am more concerned that you are so concerned about how to raise it with him.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:10 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


Is the the pot equivalent of getting mad because of someone driving after having a drink with dinner?

Driving while under the influence of marijuana is illegal. Most states follow an incredibly low standard for THC levels in the blood (5 ng/mL is common, 2 ng/mL is not unheard of). It is almost guaranteed that your boyfriend is exceeding that limit with a single use of marijuana in a night, if not all the time from residual THC from previous uses. So, your boyfriend is violating the law, and is violating the law in a way that can seriously affect his future employability and place in society.

In other words, even if his actions are completely safe (they aren't), it's a stupid thing to do and you should not be happy with it.

How can I bring this up with him so it doesn't look like I'm trying to run his life?

"Stop doing this, or I'm breaking up with you."

It's obvious you aren't comfortable with his marijuana use. You've posted about it twice. It doesn't matter if you're "right" or "reasonable". I'm deliberately not answering that question because it doesn't matter. What matters is that you're uncomfortable with it. Assert yourself here. People in good relationships don't feel like they are "running [their partner's] life" by saying that following the law and not driving intoxicated is a necessary part of the relationship.
posted by saeculorum at 3:12 PM on June 24 [16 favorites]


Without knowing how much he's smoking -- "a bowl" isn't a good measurement -- the strength of the stuff, his own tolerance, etc. this isn't a question with a firm answer as far as the safety of the issue is concerned. He's definitely right in that you can't easily compare a certain amount of marijuana to a certain amount of known-ABV beer (or whatever.)

However, in your previous question you mention he's been arrested more than once for marijuana-related charges. He is beyond fucked if anything were to happen while he's riding and he's high enough for the cop or EMT on the scene to notice it (whether they can tell by the way he looks or because he's carrying.) And by "anything" I mean "a cop notices he's swerving a little, pulls him over and figures out he's high." No one even needs to get hurt for your boyfriend to fuck up his life because he likes to go on burn rides.

This all goes beyond whether it's safe or not to do what he does. I don't mean to be harsh on the guy but it's fucking stupid to do what he does in the context in which he is doing it.
posted by griphus at 3:14 PM on June 24 [24 favorites]


This is the same guy who was arrested multiple times for pot use in public areas? I might suggest he has not entirely learned the lessons one might have hoped. I'd probably bring up that aspect of it with him. But also notice that his drug use has creeped back up since your last question.
posted by jeather at 3:19 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


I would just like to say here that it's not evident to me that the first anonymous question is from this same person -- all she says is that the answers to that question were helpful to her. (Maybe I missed something.) Just FYI, as the repeated/prolonged nature of this tension is getting emphasized by some.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:20 PM on June 24


Yeah, from a legal perspective this is really dumb. It's much less like driving after wine with dinner, and much more like driving with an open bottle of wine in your hand. Most of us would think the latter was crazy risky, right? Even if you think you're sober, lord help you if the cops pull you over. Same deal with "burn rides." Get pulled over for any reason, cop smells pot, gets the driver out, and your boyfriend is off to the races of getting a DUI. Don't know where you are, so I don't know whether your state has a "per se" limit of THC/blood, but where I am, the cops are much, much more proactive about going after pot DUIs these days. I wouldn't risk it, personally, and I'd really frown on someone I cared about doing it.

[Frankly he shouldn't be driving within a couple hours of smoking, sorry. It's just too hard to predict what his blood THC will be. Someone said that tolerances vary, and that's true, but in many cases the law doesn't give a crap about that. Per se limits mean if you're over the limit, you're guilty, even if you don't feel stoned]
posted by bepe at 3:24 PM on June 24


If he only smokes 1 bowl of sativa, and drives around on a rural back road...am I over-reacting?

Your boyfriend is not only fucking stupid and selfish, but also, just a few moments from becoming a convicted felon.

Tell him to stop doing this, or get used to the possibility of having a relationship with him while he's in prison for DUI.

That's the best legal outcome you can hope for if he ever does something stupid, or the cops accidentally do their jobs. I'm not even going to discuss what would happen if there were innocent people involved.

Being ok with this, is being ok with drunk driving.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:26 PM on June 24 [18 favorites]


Even if driving while high is as safe as driving while sober (which I am not convinced of), it's still a really, really dumb thing to do, because if he crashes he'll have to convince a cop and a jury of that fact. Even if he doesn't crash and just gets pulled over, he's going to be detained, his car will be searched for drugs and paraphernalia, and he will be arrested.
posted by muddgirl at 3:27 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


No, it's not ok to operate a potentially deadly machine when you're not sober and alert. That includes booze, weed, narcotics, various other drugs, and even fatigue. And, calling it a "burn ride" to normalize it is straight BS.

Most weed these days is very strong. He shouldn't confuse being accustomed to feeling high with having possession of all of his faculties while high.
posted by quince at 3:29 PM on June 24 [13 favorites]


If he only smokes 1 bowl of sativa, and drives around on a rural back road...am I over-reacting?

Yes.
posted by telstar at 3:29 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Also, just to give you a bit of something to bring to your boyfriend to actually modify his behavior:

This woman from my hometown got in an accident a few years ago...just an accident. Somehow they did a blood test and found thc in her blood and busted her for that. From what she says, the last time she smoked was over 24 hours before the accident.

But she still went down, because they found enough in her blood to bust her.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:30 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


As a cyclist, the idea of someone deciding that he is in fact not actually too high to drive a car scares the living fuck out of me. All that has to happen is that his reflexes are off when something unexpected happens, and I am a bloody heap on the pavement. I had no idea this was even a thing - "I'll get just high enough and then drive around"? What?
posted by Frowner at 3:30 PM on June 24 [51 favorites]


I don't want to tell him what to do. I definitely don't want to make him choose.

You tell him what your choice is. Do you know what it is? Is it "I really hate that you do this; it makes me feel afraid for people you might hurt, and for you, and I don't want to be with someone who makes me feel that way"?

His attitude would be a total dealbreaker for me. He sounds like he's already made a choice, anyway, and that choice is not making consideration for you a priority.

Data point: I like weed, I smoke weed, I do not smoke and drive because duh.
posted by rtha at 3:32 PM on June 24 [10 favorites]


Consider that there are two primary ways a person who repeatedly drives a car stoned finds out if their self-assessment of their pot-altered driving abilities is off-base: 1) hurting or killing someone; and/or 2) getting caught by the police and being charged with a serious crime.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:34 PM on June 24 [6 favorites]


Marijuana By Itself Not a Significant Factor in Fatal and Injury Crashes in 2012, [Arizona] DPS Data Shows

That notwithstanding, do you both a favor and dump this guy.
posted by BeerFilter at 3:34 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Sorry I don't mean to pile on, but I happen to know quite a bit about the topic of the law of impaired driving. Completely leaving aside risks to others and all that, because a motivated person can cite to studies saying marijuana impairment is different than alcohol, yadda yadda. In many cases, the law doesn't care. And it is just a huge hassle to be charged with a DUI. Mandatory minimum sentences, crazy fines and fees, lawyer bills, etc. etc. I have never met anyone who has been through that system who doesn't regret it. It sucks! He should be aware also that you can't count on passing field tests and going on your merry way. Cops who think you've been smoking can get probable cause to take your blood by their own "observations" of things like "I saw his eyelid fluttering and his leg trembling" that no defendant can ever refute. The whole concept of doing what he's doing is just very risky from a legal perspective. Stay home and get high or take the bus or something!
posted by bepe at 3:39 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


There's some interesting stuff here about this subject.
posted by alex1965 at 3:56 PM on June 24


It's a fucking stupid thing to do, you're not overreacting, and while you may not want to make him choose, you do have to make a choice for yourself. Make it a choice that respects yourself.
posted by holgate at 3:58 PM on June 24


I am just going to say that it doesn't really matter if you're a Negative Nancy, wringing your hands with fear over something that may or may not happen. The fact is that his behavior concerns you, and that if you can't discuss that with him you're with the wrong person anyway.

I don't want to assume, but I wonder if you have not broached the subject yet? Are you afraid it would end the relationship? Because if just discussing it makes him feel controlled, again, you're with the wrong person anyway.
posted by sm1tten at 4:02 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Wow, you know i opened this question entirely expecting "burn rides" to be about like, riding down to the lake at sunset on your bike, getting blazed, and riding around the lake. Or big crosstown group bike rides where everyone gets stoned at the beginning middle and end(and usually ends up at someones house to grill stuff and drink beer). I was raring to go "uh no, that's pretty normal in my area"

But the way you describe it which doesn't get all that specific makes it sound like he's either riding a motorcycle or driving a car. I mean, the only exception i could see myself making for this is if it was off road, on private property, on like a dirtbike... But i'm on your side with not being ok with getting stoned and driving a car on public roads, and i'm a very laid back pro pot person.

Because yea, a lot of the "i'm totally fine when i'm high!" people use the exact same justifications, "logic", and even phrasing and language in their proselytizing as the "i'm great at driving when i'm kinda drunk/drunk!" people. The comment above about weed being strong as hell now, people getting used to the feeling, and thinking they're ok when it's really up in the air whether they are or not(and the law, especially, is saying they're not) is pretty fucking shaky and basically impossible to justify.

I've met a whole lot of people who tout the studies saying it doesn't make a different who are totally normal, experienced drivers while sober and shitty drivers while high. I realize this is anecdata, but when you combine that with the fact that you will be fucked if you get pulled over or cause any sort of accident with that fact this is pretty beyond the pale.

I have no idea how you go about convincing him this isn't ok, because the people i've known who do this sort of thing are very set in their ways and see everyone as prudes who they'll basically react to with "okkk mom, goddd *eye roll*". I don't think it's wrong to see this as a breakup worthy difference in values, because it's a fairly huge one. This really isn't all that different from someone who gets drunk(not like, one or two beers, drunk in the eyes of the law) at the bar with their friends and then drives around and thinks it's totally chill, maaan. And this is coming from a former 6 times a day weedsmoker with similar friends.
posted by emptythought at 4:02 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


Driving under the influence is stupid, dangerous, and illegal. He's going to be a convicted felon if this keeps up. And very possibly live with the guilt of seriously injuring or killing someone.

I think it's important to note that you feel as if you cannot talk about this with him and that you are walking on eggshells. Is someone who cannot hear your concerns about a serious matter someone you want to be with?

This person sounds like he has a substance abuse problem. If he gets pulled over for DUI, you can add "convicted felon problems" to that. What is this person bringing to your life that is worth dealing with all this? Do you feel that you don't deserve any better? (You do, and if you don't feel this way, it's therapy time.) Do you feel that he will change? (Basing a relationship on the idea that "he'll change" won't work. What if he never changes?)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:07 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


Please insist that he not do that anymore. Decades ago I drove after just one reefer and I was definitely impaired. That was over three decades ago, I haven't touched the stuff in over thirty years and from what I am told pot is way stronger now.

He is endangering others and himself.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:24 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


The question is not whether or not we think it's ok, although the consensus here seems to be pretty clear.

You don't need outsiders to justify why you don't want to date someone. He could have bad breath or bad fashion sense or have a weird relationship with his mom or pick his nose or whatever. You can break up with him. I give you the (unnecessary) permission to feel your feelings.

I wouldn't like this either. I might not dtmfa but I sure as heck wouldn't ride as a passenger in his car. Ever. Not worth it.

It's ok to have a problem with his "burn rides" (a phrase I, someone who has known a lot of potheads, has never heard). He's acting irresponsibly with his own life and the life of others. Even if he really is not too stoned to drive - how can he even be sure of that? He's high. Being high involves an altered mental state. He has no idea if he is OK to drive.
posted by sockermom at 4:26 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


You don't have to kill someone with a car to ruin their life: some one was blinded by the bright sun hit my cousin when her son was 6 and broke the growth plate in his leg and it never grew again, he had it amputated eventually. Someone on the phone hit me, shattered my knee and ended my semi-pro athletic career. Some old man hit my friends brother on his bike when we were in our 20s and the resulting head injury has had him in and out of jail and rehab for the past two decades. The same year my best friends brother was killed by a drunk lady at lunch time on a Tuesday.

Your boyfriend, when he causes an accident, it won't be an accident. It'll be something he choose to do. Honestly, I have no tolerance for that at all. If I knew him I'd turn him in, I've done it many times and I'll never feel sorry for the consequences those people suffer.

He can smoke pot and ride his bike, smoking and driving is a total dick move and you're not overreacting. Someone that callous is not a good person. It would behoove you to think of the people he might hurt, not yourself or him here.
posted by fshgrl at 4:29 PM on June 24 [18 favorites]


I don't want to tell him what to do. I definitely don't want to make him choose.

It sounds like you do. You probably don't want to believe that's what you're doing ("telling him what to do," "making him choose"), because you think of those as negative labels for manipulative behavior. But that is, in fact, what you want to do, right? Read your own post. ("I am 100% Not Ok.") You want to tell him to stop.

Here's the epiphany. It's okay to want to do that. That is what grown-up relationships are about. "I'm not trynna change you" is for teenagers and college students fumbling their way through Intro to Dating. In the adult world, we negotiate and compromise. Occasionally we find something we can't negotiate, and either one person lives with it—which is, let's remember, a form of compromise—or else we split up. We all have dealbreaker issues, traits or behaviors we cannot abide. This is not a character flaw. To the contrary, it is dysfunctional to pretend that you don't have dealbreakers, to endure something you are "100% not okay" with because you believe a mate is supposed to tolerate anything.

Be honest with yourself. Your question is indeed the writing of someone who wants to tell someone else what to do, and/or to make him choose. That is not a bad thing. It is a grown-up thing. Own that you feel that way. It's not about you trying to run his life. It's about what is or isn't okay in yours.
posted by cribcage at 4:32 PM on June 24 [16 favorites]


To address the safety issue....

1) In general, driving while high is less dangerous than driving while drunk, but still more dangerous than driving while sober.

2) The level of danger varies. Driving when the high has almost-but-not-quite worn off isn't any more dangerous than driving after having a beer with a meal, probably. Driving when you're really, really high is probably less dangerous than driving when you are stumble-down drunk, but it's still very much an unsafe and stupid thing to do.

Those two things being said, it's basically impossible to know the exact level of danger he is putting himself and other people in. It could be very little, and it could be a lot. There probably is some danger involved, though, and I find the idea that someone would get high with the express purpose of driving while high somewhat disturbing. I've never heard of anyone doing that.

I'd also like to nth what everyone is saying about the legal implications. If he's got drug arrests on his record, a DUI is going to be...really, really, REALLY not good.
posted by breakin' the law at 5:07 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure how it can be a "burn ride" (a term I had not heard until this Ask), and simultaneously still be a thing where he is magically sober enough to be driving safely. Because if it was a tiny toke to ease his arthritis or something, and an equivalent of a beer with dinner altered-states-wise, it would not be a "burn ride."

As for rural roads being cool to drive on while altered -- no, from a rural-dweller, screw that. We have to drive those roads to get home, and, there are animals out here, and it's crappy to unnecessarily hit even the ones that are not pets. Sometimes crappy for not just the animal but also the car and driver.
posted by kmennie at 5:09 PM on June 24 [17 favorites]


Many years ago, when I was 21, I was contemplating dating a fellow who had previous been caught driving with three times the legal amount of alcohol in his system, doing 210kms an hour in a 60 zone. He also was very fond of drugs. I told him I had severe reservations about dating someone who was so reckless with their life and with others. And that if we ended up going out, the day he did drugs or drove drunk and speeded would be the day we broke up, even if we were married and with kids.

He said "I hope you're not trying to tell me what to do, I wouldn't like that." "Not at all" I said. "You're a grown man, you're welcome to make whatever choices you want. Just be aware that I'm also allowed to make my own choices and I choose not to be with someone who does these things. There are consequences to your actions, and if you like to drive drunk and do hard drugs, let me know and we can go our separate ways. But you can do it all you want, we just won't be together. Plus, I'll report you." He thought that was fair enough, we dated for years and he to my knowledge never did it while we were together. He told me much later he thinks I saved his life because he had a death wish then. Of course as soon as we broke up, he was right back there, and chances are he still is. At least it isn't my problem anymore, thank god, and he's in his forties now, so he ain't about to change.

My point being, you don't have to tell someone what to do, you can just tell them what your own boundaries are and then let them make their own choices, stupid or not. At 25, your man is generally at an age where people start to dial back these sort of things if they are ever going to. If it goes on for a few more years, chances are this is who he is and he's never going to grow out of it. I would have a conversation with him about how you feel about it and gauge his reaction and take it from there. I've known at least one person to choose pot over their girlfriend.
posted by Jubey at 5:50 PM on June 24 [21 favorites]


You are not over reacting. I question his ability to judge his driving ability after using pot.

You don't have to make him choose. I would frame it in such a way that you are choosing to leave if his behavior continues. I would try discussing it along these lines, "Boyfriend, it makes me very uncomfortable that you use pot and drive. I could not live with myself if you injured someone. At the very least, you run the risk of being pulled over and being charged with a felony. I've come to the conclusion that I can't stay in the relationship if you continue this behavior." Then, see what he says and be ready to walk.
posted by parakeetdog at 6:16 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


As for rural roads being cool to drive on while altered -- no, from a rural-dweller, screw that.

I cannot emphasise this enough. Rural roads are still roads.
posted by fshgrl at 6:25 PM on June 24 [6 favorites]


As for rural roads being cool to drive on while altered -- no, from a rural-dweller, screw that. We have to drive those roads to get home, and, there are animals out here, and it's crappy to unnecessarily hit even the ones that are not pets. Sometimes crappy for not just the animal but also the car and driver.

I have to third this. If you've never hit a deer, or a coyote, or a cow (yes, it happens), or whatever, you would not believe the amount of damage this can do to a vehicle (let alone the person inside of it).
posted by joycehealy at 7:17 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


"Wow, you know i opened this question entirely expecting "burn rides" to be about like, riding down to the lake at sunset on your bike, getting blazed, and riding around the lake. Or big crosstown group bike rides where everyone gets stoned at the beginning middle and end(and usually ends up at someones house to grill stuff and drink beer). I was raring to go "uh no, that's pretty normal in my area""

Ha! I thought the same thing. "Burn rides" aren't, as far as I know, slang here, but "burner rides," where the hippies get kitted out for bicycle time, are a regular thing.

In any event, there just isn't enough info to tell here, honestly. Could be that he's totally fine after one bowl of sativa on rural roads. Could be he's a weaving menace. He's increasing his risk of getting pulled over, but where I live you'd have to be really flaunting it at a cop to get them to care. And thanks to a sobriety checkpoint near one of our favorite bars, I can tell you that yeah, you can pass a test stoned to the gills (and "buzzed driving" is not drunk driving, no matter what the billboards say).

DUIs are a shitshow, especially if this is the dude who has priors. But the god's honest (fucked up) truth is that he's unlikely to get pulled over for smoking weed in his car if he's a short-haired white dude.

You can talk to him about what you want, and he can maybe try to do a better job of giving you a reasonable perspective on the risks around pot smoking, but from what you've given us it's impossible to tell whether or not you're overreacting. Plenty of people in this thread are, though. Take their advice with a grain of salt.
posted by klangklangston at 7:52 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


""Hotboxed"?"

Clambaked.

Smoking marijuana in a sealed container, which gets you significantly more high than letting ventilation do its thing.
posted by klangklangston at 7:53 PM on June 24


I feel like the problem is less about what he smokes and what he does while he's doing it, and more that you're 27 years old and too old to be dealing with this shit at all. IMO, find a new boyfriend who has his shit together.
posted by empath at 8:54 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


From the OP:
I am a different person than the one who wrote the question that I linked to. I found that the answers were helpful, only my boyfriend remains surprisingly witty and creative when he's high, unlike the asker's who just turned into a lump.

Re: what's a burn ride: I thought that 'burn rides' were a thing that some pot smokers just did. It's driving a car. He finds an open stretch of back road in his state-with-lots-of-back-roads, lights up a bowl, and drives around for a while and admires the scenery/thinks about life. Amount...uh...like a nugget nearly the size of my pinkie fingernail or maybe half a really plump pea. I don't understand how that's equivalent to an 'open bottle of wine'. Is the THC concentration really that high?

I'm concerned about how to bring the issue up with him because we just moved in together and we're both over 5 hours away from family. I also have some anxiety issues stemming from being raised by a hyper-moralistic parent...just imagine the overbearing father figure in a lot of movies aimed at teen girls. Who admires everything that comes out of Judge Judy's mouth.

Re: priors/demographic: He's a short-haired, bushy-bearded, ball-cap wearin' white dude. He calls himself a redneck, although I disagree. His record has an expunged paraphernalia charge, and he was let go from an internship because of pot use, although no charges from it.
posted by mathowie at 9:03 PM on June 24


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/18/health/driving-under-the-influence-of-marijuana.html?_r=0


I mean, it's still obviously better to err on the side of caution, but I think if we inform ourselves with the evidence maybe we'd ease up on the villainizing. Looks like marijuana and alcohol are not analogous in this situation. Much better not to do it? Yes. Stupid, selfish, and a horrible person? Maybe not?

(another zero likes for me, no doubt ;) )
posted by namesarehard at 9:25 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


I think if we inform ourselves with the evidence maybe we'd ease up on the villainizing.

One of the points made upthread is that such evidence is probably not going to impress a cop or a judge, and then the OP has significantly more problems.

The meta-point here is that from the OP's perspective, the ideal answer would be "no, this is just like a Bud Light, it's okay for BF to do this, you have permission to lighten up and get over your Reefer Madness upbringing." And I don't think most of us can say that with any kind of comfort. I have zero problems with people getting stoned at home, out in the woods, going for walks, and so on, but I don't want stoners driving.
posted by holgate at 9:54 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


This would be behavior that would end my relationship with someone. Drugs, fine. Drugs and vehicles, not fine. Real simple.
posted by ead at 11:46 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Could you compromise by being his driver while he oohs and ahhs at the nature?
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:17 AM on June 25 [5 favorites]


I come from a similar background as you, I guess. My weed judginess has softened a lot over the years and now it's down to the same level as "leggings-as-pants." So pretty low. Do what you gotta do, but I'm not partaking (I tried once, not for me), I'm not giving you money for it, and stay home when you do it.

I want to put this in the biggest boldest font ever: It's okay to have different values when it comes to illegal recreational drugs! It's okay to not want to be in a relationship where you might have to pick your guy up from jail because he was caught with some on him, or might have to give him your car because he stupidly totaled his, or have to make weed purchase a permanent line-item in your weekly budget.

To me, these burn rides are reckless and stupid and aren't a "he's paleo and I'm not" or "I'm ask, he's guess" wrinkle. This would be a "I want kids and he does not" or "We have four kids and he quit his job to train for American Ninja Warrior?!?" level of relationship roadblock.

You're not overreacting. It's okay to feel that way.
posted by kimberussell at 3:48 AM on June 25 [3 favorites]


Dude. I'm a total stoner. He can go for a run or a walk and think about his life. There are so many options for 'doing something fun on weed' that don't include heavy machinery.
posted by angrycat at 4:58 AM on June 25 [11 favorites]


I'm concerned about how to bring the issue up with him because we just moved in together and we're both over 5 hours away from family.

That's a bigger issue than your boyfriend's marijuana use and a more immediate one than your father's legacy, and it's what I would focus on if I were you. Moving in together is a big step, and it is, again, about discovering your (plural, as a couple) compromises and dealbreakers. Doing it somewhere removed from your respective families can double the pressure. I don't mean to imply that you should break up, because what do I know, but the point is that sometimes people who put themselves in that dynamic feel they can't break up, which affects how they deal with relationship issues in not-always-good ways.

There's a difference between having a mindset where your bottom line is, "I'm open to navigating these problems together, as a couple," versus, "Ultimately we're stuck in this." The goal is to stay in the first box long enough to learn how to confront big issues together, before moving into the second box (ie, buying a house together, having a child, etc).
posted by cribcage at 6:41 AM on June 25 [5 favorites]


He finds an open stretch of back road in his state-with-lots-of-back-roads, lights up a bowl, and drives around for a while and admires the scenery/thinks about life

You're basically glamorizing a "burn ride" in your own mind when you phrase it in this way.
It's not big OR clever to drive under the influence of ANYTHING. Period.
posted by JenThePro at 7:04 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I also have some anxiety issues stemming from being raised by a hyper-moralistic parent...just imagine the overbearing father figure in a lot of movies aimed at teen girls.

I have these issues too. I think it's OK if this background leads you to bend over backwards to be tolerant. But there is also the danger of discounting your own judgment-- or even feeling unable to form any-- because you lived so long with a very rigid external structure of judgment. You are not bad for deciding that certain levels of risk are unacceptable for you.
posted by BibiRose at 7:59 AM on June 25 [5 favorites]


There was a segment on Dateline or 20/20 or some such when maryjawana started being legalized in CO about stoned driving. They had 5 test subjects, all of whom smoked weed, take a driving test on a closed course several times after smoking progressively more weed. Teh results were wildly varied and not tied to gender or weight. Some drove liek tehy were straight up drunk, others drove "normally", adn others drove like super cautious grandma (which also sets off cop suspicions). So it is possible that some people can drive under the influence (though not most).

However you have the added risk of being caught with paraphenalia in your car. With that risk added, it's just not worth it. It's a dumb avoidable charge when you can enjoy rural scenery on foot or on a bicycle or laying down in the grass or riding on a horse or something where youre not operating a death machine. It is a stupid and avoidable charge if he gets caught and he should know better, especially since he (or his parents if he's a spoiled brat) would have spent a pretty penny to have a previous record expunged.

Someone I know can't drive after smoking for at least 2 hours. If this person has stuff in their car because they are going to hang out at a friends or whatever, they take extra precautions to clean the car and make it look square as possible in case tehy get pulled over for speeding or something and they never ever hotbox or smoke in teh car.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:27 AM on June 25


No, I don't think you're overreacting at all. It's completely okay to not be comfortable with the choices your boyfriend is making here, and to not want to have to put up with the potential consequences of his actions.

I don't think that telling your boyfriend that you're not okay with him doing dangerous, illegal, reckless things is trying to "run his life." One thing about moving in together is that you both really need to understand how your actions effect each other, thus you will both end up having to put up with the consequences of his actions here.

This isn't nagging, this isn't about telling him the way you think he should fold his socks or something. This is about him understanding that his reckless decisions will have consequences for the both of you, and that's not something you should have to put up with.
posted by inertia at 10:32 AM on June 25


Amount...uh...like a nugget nearly the size of my pinkie fingernail or maybe half a really plump pea. I don't understand how that's equivalent to an 'open bottle of wine'. Is the THC concentration really that high?

Let me clarify my answer. I am not talking about whether your boyfriend is "safe" to drive. I'm not talking about how much THC he's consumed, how that compares to an equivalent amount of alcohol, what the research says about pot and driving, etc. I'm not talking ethics, or morals, or courtesy to other drivers. Other people can make those points. I'm talking about the law of impaired driving in many states.

My point is this: if a cop pulls you over and sees that you have been drinking *while* driving, like if you were just driving down the road sipping from an open bottle, you are absolutely going to be investigated for DUI. Maybe you're actually sober, maybe not, but you're going to be investigated for sure. In exactly the same way, if a cop pulls your boyfriend over, for any reason (one mph too fast, brake light out, anything), and sees/smells that he's been smoking *while* driving, he is going to be investigated for a drug DUI. And let me be even clearer--the laws in many states for drug DUIs are really strict. He might be charged if there is *any* THC in his system (or a really low amount), regardless of how sober he feels or how well he was driving. Those are called "per se" laws. They mean you can't defend it based on sobriety, the only thing that matters in court is ng of THC per ml of blood. If he is behind the wheel and has THC in his blood, he should be worried about legal consequences if he has any contact with the police. I have zero problem with smoking in general. But people should be educated about the legal landscape and the risks involved, that's all.
posted by bepe at 11:04 AM on June 25 [1 favorite]


One thing about moving in together is that you both really need to understand how your actions effect each other, thus you will both end up having to put up with the consequences of his actions here.

This is it. You live together. His actions will have an impact on you. If he gets a DUI and he's on your car insurance, your premiums will go up. If he gets sued for injuring someone while on a "burn ride" and your finances and property are intermingled, that will affect you. If he has trouble finding a job due to having a felony record, or he can't drive anywhere because his license has been suspended, that will affect you.

You absolutely have the right to put your foot down and say, "Please don't do something reckless and illegal that has the potential to make both of our lives much harder. Since we live together, this is not just about you anymore."
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:40 AM on June 25 [3 favorites]


> His record has an expunged paraphernalia charge, and he was let go from an internship because of pot use, although no charges from it.

I think regardless of how much your boyfriend's driving is impaired by marijuana use, the fact that he's already faced real consequences for his drug habit in the past and is still risking a felony DUI is a pretty big deal. Another internet person giving you permission to put your foot down about this.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 1:07 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I've been thinking about your situation, and I'd like to share what something I read here a while back which really resonated with me and would have helped me a lot if someone had said it to me at your age. I'm paraphrasing but here goes; Young women these days are very reluctant to appear like they have any needs or wants. There's real pressure to be the easy, chilled out girlfriend who doesn't nag and is just one of the boys and goes with the flow because they're concerned that as soon as they express that they want to be treated a certain way or have any needs at all that, they will be considered high maintenance and the man will run like the wind.

Well, screw that, this attitude leads to women discovering at 35 that they've missed the chance to get married or have a baby because they just went along with the man and didn't ask for what they wanted. They'll put up with drinking, drugs, excess partying, whatever just to appear like they're the low maintenance girlfriend and worst of all, the guy is happy to let them do it.

You have a compounded issue. The law, and your boyfriend's previous employer have all said that they're not putting up with his drug use and it hasn't stopped him, so in all seriousness, I'm not sure you'll have too much luck as he doesn't seem to care about what anyone thinks or the consequences. But you have to at least let him know how you feel. It's not about running his life, although with prior convictions and job losses, it sounds like you would do a much better job at this than he would anyway. It's about having him respect your needs. It sounds like you've already had this conversation in some form already and he's trying to argue the difference between alcohol and pot usage instead of confronting what you're actually getting at.

It's normal and right to have wants and needs and to be able to express them freely with your partner without being a killjoy. At 27, you need to be able to do this so you can have some control of your life and be able to look after yourself, because honey, with a boyfriend who loses jobs, has drug charges and gets stoned and drives recklessly, he is is no position to look after you so you're going to have to be the parent for both of you. Sounds like fun, huh? PS Please don't have kids until you sort this one out.
posted by Jubey at 9:17 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


I'm concerned about how to bring the issue up with him because we just moved in together and we're both over 5 hours away from family.
This is exactly why you need to bring it up. Leaving aside for a moment the importance of being able to openly communicate, think of it this way -- if something awful happens to him, it's also happening to you.
posted by sm1tten at 11:54 AM on June 26


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