Welcome back to Stoned Sex, the column where I’ll be exploring the intersection of sex and sativas, intercourse and indicas, often through first-hand experience and interviews with experts.
For this week’s edition, we'll look at how the failed War on Drugs impacts sex, weed, and relationships. Stoned Sex runs every other week, so make sure to stay tuned for the next dose.
Sex and weed make the world a more gratifying place. You can have hands-free orgasms while lit. The plant helps sexual assault survivors treat their PTSD and get back in the game. Hell, cannabis-friendly sex clubs even exist. Despite all this acceptance, there's one small caveat: THC-rich cannabis remains a Schedule I substance under federal law.
In 2018, 663,367 people were arrested for marijuana violations, the Drug Policy Alliance reported. Even worse, 46.9 percent of people incarcerated for drugs were Black or Latino. Last year, Daniel Saynt (whose legal last name is “Santiago”), the owner and “chief conspirator” of NSFW, (one of those aforementioned cannabis sex clubs) was arrested on marijuana charges. “The risk to my personal future with this arrest was huge,” Saynt said. “If it weren’t for the support of the community that we built, I wouldn’t have survived.”
Getting arrested for cannabis charges comes with a tsunami of stress. Anyone who's endured our legal system's bullshit for weed knows what an understatement that is. In addition to legal fees, and long-term professional and psychological complications, an arrest can wreak havoc on your personal life. And, while typically my column is about the thrilling junctions of sex, weed, and relationships, there is an underbelly to this hedonistic world. The failed War on Drugs ravages the freedom and right to happiness everyone deserves, and, many times, it rips apart relationships.
So, for this Stoned Sex, we're going to explore the Drug War's impact on love.
*Names have been changed for anonymity
Dating Is Difficult (If Not Impossible)
Not to be an asshole and state the obvious, but, if you’re single and going prison, you're probably not going to meet someone you hit it off with. But, what if you're sent away while in a relationship? Even comparing that heaviness to the inherent "strain" of a long-distance relationship seems offensive. Dr. Holly Richmond, a somatic psychologist and sex and marriage counselor, says it doesn't have to be the end of a romantic union. The outcome largely depends on the condition of the relationship prior to the arrest. Once in jail, she encourages couples to work out a regular schedule of communication, depending on what's allowed.
“Couples can survive this,” she said. “It’s really about creating rituals around communication. Is there a phone call every day? Is there a week when you can go visit?”
Zach*, now 34, was arrested when he was 19-years-old for selling three ounces of cannabis to an informant. As a bribe to get out of trouble, they wanted him to help entrap a coke dealer. But Zach didn’t want to, so he left the state. On his way out of town, he got into a car accident. At that point, there was a warrant out for his arrest. When the cops arrived at the scene of the accident, they searched his car. He happened to have a sword, the kind you see at a mall or in some head shops, in his trunk. Zach didn’t intend on using the sword as a weapon — it was so dull it would have been difficult to do so. He just thought it was cool. Who doesn’t want a sword?
“The police officer brought it to the window of the cop car and was like, 'Hey, this is a deadly weapon; you’re going to prison,'” Zach said. “I was single at the time and probably was single for a while after. I was short on money from paying all these legal fees; I wasn’t really thinking about dating.”
He ultimately pled guilty to one charge and did five years of probation. Today, he is married and still in the cannabis industry. “Even though the laws have changed, I pay way more attention to what I’m doing. When you’re young, you feel like you have less to lose,” he said.
Not Everyone Can Deal with It
“Honey, I’m in jail for pot. Bring bail money?” is not a phone call that anyone wants to get. Rachelle, 32, from Minnesota, says that her 2010 marijuana arrest changed the way (and who) she dated. She worked as a preschool teacher by day but was struggling financially, so she sold cannabis by night.
“Someone allegedly snitched on me, and they raided my house,” she said. “I had two pounds, which isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a felony, for sure. Eight months later, I was charged with two third-degree felony possessions.”
Her lawyer got her into drug court to avoid serving time, claiming that she sold due to a marijuana addiction — which, of course, is ridiculous, but whatever keeps you out of prison. The entire ordeal definitely affected her relationships.
“I was dating a guy at the time, and he was just not supportive of what was happening,” she said. “Drug court has a lot of rules. Like, for example, no alcohol [or] drugs in the house, even if it’s not yours. He and I were living together, and he would totally have booze in his office.”
Rachelle dumped him. “It made me think more about the caliber of man I want to date.”
Saynt was engaged when the NSFW clubhouse was raided in 2019. “It’s not an easy situation for anyone to have to deal with,” said Saynt, who was threatened with 14 days in jail but only ended up doing community service, thanks to his lawyer. He had $12,000 in legal fees, though. “I understand and accept that. I wouldn’t know how to deal with it either. You accept the emotions you have, and you move on, and the love is still there.”
While the relationship didn’t last, Saynt and his former fiancé remain on good terms as friends.
Cops Think Sex and Weed Are Wicked
As the stars continue to align for federal legalization, the intersection of sex and cannabis is booming as an industry. Cannabis sex clubs are a reality, aphrodesiac edibles are now marketed to the public, and cannabis lube and suppositories are all the rage.
While all that's dope, legal crackdowns also affect the sex and cannabis industries. For example, Grace* was pulled over in Ohio back in 2017 while on a road trip with her ex-boyfriend. She's a medical cannabis patient, but she made the grave mistake of traveling with cannabis-infused products, which she purchased in Colorado. Despite the ganja goods' low THC contents, the cops measured the offending products she had by total weight, not just their THC levels.
“I had a bottle of lube and a lotion," she said. "It was 900 grams, which is a felony.” At her sentencing, the judge called cannabis the “devil’s plant.” Like Rachelle, her lawyer tried to argue addiction, but because it was weed lube, rehabs (rightfully) didn’t want to take her.
Grace served a brief stint in jail before finding a rehabilitation program and agreeing to probation. She dumped the military ex-boyfriend because he was friendlier with the cops who arrested her and happily let her take all the blame. (It's lube, bro — it takes two to tango!) This man’s douchebaggery aside, what we can pull from this very minor cannabis bust is that the combination of sex and weed is seen as “wicked” in the eyes of cops and continues to fuel persecution.
“Anything dealing with sex, you’re going to have complaints,” Saynt said, who was arrested in the NSFW clubhouse while he was alone working. “To go to a sex space and say this must be a rape room. To say that I need Jesus in my life, I need God in my life. To make it so much about their morality, and what their religious beliefs are, and what they think cannabis is, which is evil, is something that they’ve been doing and arresting people for, for so long.”
He is hopeful, however. “Decriminalization is coming,” Saynt said.
So, if you’re a cannabis user in a non-legal state, it’s never too early to have the “What would you do if I was arrested?” conversation. It could save you from expending a bunch of time and emotions on someone who isn’t deserving of either.