Las Cruces is at least two cities shoehorned into the same spot—like a drunken used car salesman trying to squeeze into his old band uniform the night before his 20-year high school reunion. Driving into the city during five o'clock traffic was a terrible decision. Every little block was packed tight with too many cars, and a gaggle of bleating horns sounded every two minutes. The traffic lights were confused and seemed to have given up directing anything. Changing lanes required stabbing my nose in between cars like a blunt needle before driving the plunger down. Quiet, desperate anger flashed in the eyes of every passing motorist, their vehicles like teeth grinding against each other as the sun went down. Everyone I know from Las Cruces says they want to go back there. I don't get it.
The crunch was on. I'd procured a backyard to burn through two grams of flower from Pecos Valley Production which had to disappear before I could head back home. How come? Because there's a permanent US-Mexico border patrol checkpoint on I-25 heading north between Las Cruces and Hatch. There's another one on I-10 West between Cruces and Deming, meaning I was well boxed in unless I wanted to detour for seven hours.
Here's the thing: About a year ago, the US Border Patrol warned Californians that even though cannabis had been legalized in their state, it wasn't legalized at the interior border checkpoints. Driving through one with your legal marijuana would get you arrested. A 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office found that 40 percent of marijuana seizures at interior checkpoints between 2012 and 2016 were of an ounce or less. You can read that as: The checkpoints aren't busting cartel smugglers, they're busting users. The report doesn't say how many of those arrested were patients enrolled legally in a medical cannabis program.
Running into a border checkpoint inside the country might seem bizarre, but they've been around for years—since the '50s. The Border Patrol has the authority to conduct searches “within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States,” and it was determined that 100 air miles was reasonable enough.
The ACLU have been blasting the use of interior checkpoints for years, pointing out that while the Constitution protects citizens from random searches, those rules don't apply at “ports of entry,” where border officers are allowed to search any person, as long as an officer has reasonable suspicion that an immigration violation is taking place.
This is a direct violation of our constitutional rights provided by the Fourth Amendment, according to the ACLU. But the Supreme Court has upheld the agency's use of interior checkpoints and clearly disagrees. The exact number of active interior checkpoints is kept secret by the agency.
Many of us have been stuck in line at the I-25 checkpoint and watched the dogs sniffing bumpers. It's unnerving, and I drove into Las Cruces holding nothing—not even a pipe.
Pecos Valley Production was bumping. With an hour left before closing time, the waiting room was packed full of people. The line moved quickly though, and by the time I was done filling out paperwork, my name was called.
The small showroom had that stark warehouse chic look about it, with exposed ducts in the ceiling and a sense of utility. There wasn't much on the menu, and all that was available was sativa-dominant strains. I picked out a gram each of Wonder Woman (THC: 15.2%, CBD: 0.04%—$10/gram) and Cheeisenberg (THC: 20.73%—$14/gram) and asked if they sold any cheap little one-hitters.
Traffic seemed to be slowing to a comfortable flow, and I drove to my host's house without much trouble. The night was considerably warmer than back home, and I posted up on the back porch with the one-hitter by myself for a while.
Both grams seemed a little dry when I was breaking them up, and while the Cheeisenberg was coated in crystals and smelled peppery and wild, the Wonder Woman barely had any scent and didn't look very promising.
One-hitters are tiny torture devices that make it seem like you're never going to finish smoking. I diligently filled the little bastard a million times or so with the Wonder Woman and never really tasted anything but ash. For about half an hour I switched off between a joint and the pipe and quietly went about the task of smoking the entire gram. I was exhausted by the end, but I don't think it was an effect of the flower.
I got up and walked around, went and talked to my friends and family as they played a board game. Nothing was happening. I slipped away again and got to work on the Cheeisenberg. It tasted sharp and caustic and caused me to cough like a sputtering engine. I barely made it through a joint and went back inside with wet eyes and a raw voice.
Immediately, I felt a case of the sillies coming over me. My mood was thoroughly enhanced. My buddy was speaking poorly of his neighbors. “You should shave your heads and get some white robes,” I said. “Tell them you subsist on water and sunlight so you'll be pure when the flying saucer people come back. They'll never talk to you again!” I was crying and howling, but no one else seemed to think it was that funny.
The next day, on my way back home, the freeway funneled down to a booth with a uniformed border agent.
“Are you a US citizen?” he asked me.
My mood was back at baseline. Fuck you, you shit-sucking anal fissure, I thought.
“Yep,” I said.