Vapes on a Plane!

Illustration by Michael Ziobrowski

About a month ago, I received an email from Delta Airlines informing me of my flight details to Oahu, Hawaii. Turns out my sister and mother had planned a trip for the three of us to celebrate our collective birthdays, and all I had to do was show up, stay somewhat sober, and use my time to explore whatever local (ahem) flora and fauna the island had to offer. I should have known from my history of everything going wrong 100 percent of the time that this trip had too many opportunities for all hell to break loose.  Yet I ignored my instincts and decided to embrace the famous Hawaiian phrase I learned as a child: “Hakuna matata,” which basically means “Chill out, white boy.”

    After a marathon binge-watching session of all my favorite sitcoms that had a famous “Hawaiian episode,” I knew I was ready to shed my haole clothes and embrace my true self, which it turns out is a lot less Kelly Slater and more Greg Brady getting pitched off a baby wave, but we will get to that later. As the day neared, I’d spent countless hours trying to figure out how to stow away enough of that sweet sticky weed I’ve grown accustomed to on the mainland. After ruling out the possibility of hiding it deep inside my no-no area, it became more and more obvious the only thing that made sense was to become someone I never thought I’d have to be: a vape guy.

    See, it’s not that I have a problem with people who vape; it’s just that I hate you, and you should get high like our fathers did before us. But with the only other possible solution involving a deep anal cleansing, I knew what had to be done. So I took a deep breath and packed all of my favorite shoes into a duffel bag and tucked away as many vape pens as my smelly Adidas trainers could fit, figuring no one getting paid minimum wage would risk checking the blue-eyed boy’s sneaker bag. As it turns out, I was right.

    Plane rides always suck. I’ve read people’s stories of being upgraded for free or finding their seat and realizing they have a whole row to themselves, and let me tell you, they’re full of shit. My experience with any airline has been the equivalent of a bully shoving me down in the dirt and taking every part of my lunch except for the sandwich bag full of warm grapes. “Oh, wow, you mean I not only get a seat between two linebackers, but also the guy in front of me is eating egg salad? Perfect! Thank you!” I spent four hours watching that man’s body slowly reject his life choices as we soared gracefully over the Pacific. I daydreamed of beaches full of naked women and never-ending beers. . . . Soon, Jefferson, soon.

    I’m not sure if it was the tropical air or the fact that I was finally in my element, but the second the plane landed and I was away from any police officers, I got higher than Elon Musk during a podcast. Which was going great until we got to our hotel. After a quick survey of our accommodations, the woman who was once my beautiful sister was gone, only to be replaced by a creature that had the temperament of a swarm of Africanized bees. From that point forward, the rest of my time spent with her was akin to walking through a field of land mines. Each false step didn’t bring the comfort of my lower body being ripped to shreds, but rather I would get yelled at. I decided then that based on the amount of cannabis I had already consumed, plus the fact that we had only been there for three hours, I would definitely need to find some of Hawaii’s strongest flowers before something bad happened or, worse, I somehow got sober.

    It was dinner time on our first night, and my stomach was making noises usually only heard while watching a documentary on whales. Since my mother was basically Switzerland at this point, torn between two warring countries, and the swarm of bees that used to be my sister was busy pouting, I was given the green light to choose our culinary destination. After a quick search of only the finest Michelin-rated eateries, I selected the quaint yet somehow always damp hideout known as The Harbor Pub & Grill. My stoney eyes tried to make out the menu in the restaurant’s dim lighting once we sat down, but honestly, I wasn’t really paying attention. My mind had already forgotten what food was as I gazed past the bee swarm and locked eyes with the most beautiful woman my stupid face had ever seen.

    I’m sure you all know what happened next, and to answer your question, our wedding is this August. But seriously, I totally chickened out and left after an hour of us playing that weird game in which you pretend you aren’t looking at each other. Defeated, half-stoned and a few pounds heavier thanks to the sudden influx of greasy tourist food, I made my way back to my hotel room, where I did my best to quell the steady hum from those goddamn bees while I smoked and thought about my future wife.


    Finding cannabis while on vacation can be tricky, expensive and even somewhat dangerous. Even if you do manage to score a gram of flowers, there’s little chance they come close to our California buds. But the key to survival has always been in one’s ability to adapt to their changing environment. Case in point: Technology has made it really easy to find just about anything so long as you know where to look. Since the Hawaiian authorities are probably too busy sipping coladas out of coconuts to track me down, I’ll give you my personal secrets. A quick search for the hashtag #Pakalolo (Hawaiian for cannabis) will bring up thousands of photos, some legal and some not. Looking through those photos will probably get you to one of several hundred individuals won’t mind if you slide into their DMs for some herb. Once you agree on a meeting place, all you have to do is make sure you have enough cash and a good pair of shoes in case you need to make a quick getaway. Luckily, I didn’t need to be a track star that day, and the $45 I spent on a perfectly manicured 1/8th was money well spent.

    Growing cannabis outdoors in Hawaii’s tropical climate yields dense, aromatic buds almost year-round. Which is ideal for growers because residents on the “Big Island” pay almost triple for electricity compared to Californians. The amazing thing is that despite lower profit margins and, ultimately, a higher risk factor, most of the cannabis I encountered on my trip was comparably priced to what I’ve found in legal dispensaries back home.

    The next few days were a blur of smoking and going to waterfalls, smoking on a paddle board, and smoking while my travel companions shopped for Hawaiian-themed Christmas ornaments and bickered over meals. I woke up on the third morning and checked my faithful stash to ease the pain that anyone in their 30s knows all too well after a night spent drinking every colorful cocktail imaginable and realized that I would have to hit the “salad bar” for some more greens. Unfortunately, my Instagram method was offering little help, and I was starting to feel the “island fever” that everyone had warned me about.  After wandering around the busy boulevard near my hotel and finding no solution, I met a wonderful angel named Benny. Benny was from Chicago, and he was in Oahu selling flat irons to unsuspecting tourists. Once we established our mutual respect for Lady Jane, I followed him to his loft in the heart of Oahu’s downtown area and proceeded to smoke well into the warm afternoon.

    When the sun finally set, my hangover had been reduced to a whimper. Benny’s cannabis had cured me of my island woes, and it was time to head out in search of more drinks with fancy garnishes. I didn’t think that night would be any different from the others, but as my blurry vision adjusted to the bar lights and I made my way to the restroom, I was stopped dead in my tracks. It was her: the woman of my dreams from the pub on my first night, and she was sitting by herself. My life suddenly felt like an expertly crafted love story from a movie starring Hugh Grant, only this time I  was too stoned to form a proper sentence. The euphoric high from earlier was gone, and in its place was a large lump of self-doubt in the pit of my stomach as I approached her with the smoothest line my cannabis-impaired mind could muster.




    For centuries, man has tried to figure out the science behind attraction, but the honest answer is that it just happens. I don’t know if it was the island’s influence, the copious amounts of weed, or the tiki gods taking pity on me, but I spent the rest of my time following that leggy blonde bombshell all over the island. After loading my bags into the Uber and making our way to the awaiting plane that would take me home, my heart felt full. Hawaii had adopted me as it’s own and my sister had finally reverted back to her original human form. Now all I needed was some In-N-Out and a nap. Mahalo, Hawaii, you treated me well.


    Editor’s Note: Jefferson and Nicolette (the leggy blonde) have plans to meet in New Orleans as well as Austin in the coming months. Stay tuned for scene reports on both cities, as well as a steamy, in-depth story involving the first time they held hands while taking a dab. Happy smoking, everyone!


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