Meet Grandpa Pot: Ray McFeters faces prison for pot, but he's still smoking [PHOTOS]
McFeters opens up about his difficult childhood, and how marijauna helps him cope.
Photo courtesy Mille Lacs Messenger.
A few weeks ago, we wrote about the strange case of Ray McFeters, a 73-year-old veteran living near Lake Mille Lacs who could face up to 12 years in prison for his 25 to 30 bowls-a-day marijuana habit.
Originally reported by the Mille Lacs Messenger, the story went viral, and McFeters is quickly becoming something of a folk hero for the legalization movement. He's affectionately been dubbed, "Grandpa Pot."
McFeters has since hired a lawyer, but not before giving extensive -- and very candid -- interviews to Messenger reporter Rob Passons. The Messenger ran the story in a two-part series (read here and here), and it seems McFeters's pending legal quandary has done little to deter his pot use: He even let Passons take pictures of him smoking during the interview.
In the story, McFeters opens up to Passons about his difficult childhood, including watching his father die and being sexually abused by family members.
From the article:
Ray recalls moving around Ohio and Indiana from one relative's house to the next. According to Ray, sexual abuse was part of the extended family dynamic.
"You grow up to be like a whore." Ray said. "It don't mean nothing to you. It's just a service. You close your eyes and get it over with -- that's what whores do."
His introduction to marijuana, he says, finally provided him some relief. "It was like climbing stairs with a bed on your back all the time," he says. "When I smoked, it was like a 500-pound weight was lifted. I was free."
The story also describes the contrast between McFeters when he's sober versus after he's smoked. During Passons's first interview with him, McFeters appears anxious, nervously piecing through his criminal complaint. At one point, his wife tries to comfort him by placing her arm on his shoulder, and McFeters jumps.
But the next day, after picking up an ounce of "Durban Poison," McFeters is a whole new man:
He reclined beneath a patio umbrella on his deck wearing a leather slouch cap. He cradled a small metal pipe and lighter in his fingers. His hands were steady, his voice even. "What a beautiful day," he said, looking out over Mille Lacs Lake. "Isn't it a beautiful day?"
No matter what happens in his criminal case, it doesn't sound like McFeters has any regrets about his lifestyle.
"I love pot," he says. "Pot saved my life. I'll never stop smoking pot."
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