The gnarly rise of deadly fake pot, and my memories of days gone high

I was a teenager of the 70's.  That should tell you a few things.

High there!

If you have to smoke, please choose real!

First, that I am rapidly approaching decrepitude.

Second, that I hold a Ph.D. in Tetrahydrocannabinol Studies.

We came by our pot organically (often, literally organically).  Everybody "knew a guy."  None of this current fake pot laced with, of all things, rat poison, i.e., the drug warfarin, a powerful blood thinner. They use it in humans for heart conditions, and for rats, in rat poison, to bleed them out in traps.

This begs two questions.  (1) Why in the hell would anyone seek fake pot? It's beyond me.  It's been all over the news these past few months that the shit is laced with stuff than can kill you.  In fact, four Illinoisans have died from it.  And (2), Is actual pot that hard to obtain?  Throw a rock and you'll likely hit someone who can hook you up, or at least has a joint on their person.

Although I personally no longer imbibe (I'll wait for you to stop snickering, but it's true), I still could find a J in about five minutes.

So, my babies, forget the fake stuff, will ya'?  Do you really want to die like a rat? Just as with sex and French perfume, ain't nothin' like the real thing. Just look in your kid's backpack.  Or ask your babysitter.  Or any of your kids' friends.  Or a co-worker.  Or the mailman.  Or that nice produce dude at the Jewels.  You catch my drift.

With medical maryjane now legal in 20 states and recreational pot usage fully groovy in eight, there's ganja in the air,  just like in the parking lot of your nearest high school.

It's only a matter of time before it's fully legal - and regulated - and taxed up the wazoo (woo hoo!) - in all 50 states.

As I said, I haven't smoked dope in aeons.  I pretty much stopped to raise my kid, because being a stoned mama is, you know - eeeew. Then I got old, got asthma and lost my brother, who was my main weed-buddy.  Marijuana faded like a pair of Levi's in a bleach-bath.

But since "Mary J. Oblige" is trending again, I've been harkening back to my old high times.  Here's what I can remember:

(Disclaimer:  Don't try any of this at home, kids.  It's meant as an historical lesson, not a primer.)

How to Spot a Pothead:  Red, concentric circles where the whites of their eyes used to be.  Visine bottles everywhere - pockets, book bags, dashboard.  The smell of frangiapani or sandalwood incense wafting from cars and under closed bedroom doors, through the dampened, rolled-up towels stuffed at the door-bottoms.  (Those two incenses smell the most like pot, and were used to "mask" its distinctive odor).  Large paperclips all over the place (makeshift roach clips - i.e., devices that hold the very end of a joint, so as not to waste even one hit of primo ganj). Oh, and they'll have the marijuana munchies.  (More later.)

All Hail the Dime Bag:  Your basic 70's pot purchase - $10 bucks' worth in a nicely-rolled Baggie.  Good for maybe six joints, depending on how you rolled (literally). There also were nickel-bags - $5 - and the vaunted lid - i.e., the full ounce.  Filled about half the standard Baggie. You had to save up for a lid.  As I recall, in high school (hey - I just realized why it's called "high" school!) in the early 70's, a lid went for about $50. No idea what it costs today, but I know two things - it's far more expensive and it's waaay stronger.  (BTW, without Baggies, the street-market pot industry would have collapsed.  70's moms were always low on Baggies, but had no idea why!)

Cleaning your Stash:  Weed was weedy.  Lovely, fragrant buds, but rife with seeds and stems.  One smoked only the buds, which had to be separated from the rest. Best way to separate the good stuff from the chaff was to sit in a chair with your feet on an ottoman, a double-album cover (remember albums?) on your lap, opened at a 120-degree angle, with the pot sitting in the spine of the album cover. Then you gently crushed each bud with your fingers so as to release the chaff, then raked it up the slanted album cover with your driver's license as gravity took the seeds and stems from the buds, which you then swiped into a shoebox.  It sounds complicated, but it was actually very Zen.  It took awhile, but clean dope was worth it.  You were probably stoned to begin with, so the time-space continuum mattered not.

What to Do with Seeds & Stems: Noting was wasted (except you) in 70's pot-world. We'd gather maybe an ounce of seeds & stems and cook them in hot water to make pot tea.  We'd brew the mix for maybe 15 -20 minutes, just short of a boil, then pour it into mugs through a strainer. The high was mild or potent, depending on the quality of the weed. (Perhaps Starbucks could branch out today with "Stembucks.")

Hiding the Stash:  Every 70's pothead knew the value of the 35mm film canister - the perfect place to stash cleaned pot.  Airtight, water-resistent and easy to hide on your person (I used to stash mine between my boobs, next to a small BIC lighter and a lipstick).  My brother used a metal tube from a Cuban cigar called Romeo y Julieta. Where the hell he got Cuban cigars is a mystery, but he always was a resourceful lad.

At home, you hid your stash above a suspended ceiling, under a loose floorboard, behind a loose fireplace brick, or, as a friend of mine used to do, in a shoebox on the top shelf of her closet, labeled "Mary Janes."

Rolling a joint:  Believe it or not, it ain't easy.  Tight was the key.  And using only one rolling paper was the mark of a real pro.  Papers were about 1" x 2-1/2".  The premier brands were the famous Zig Zag, Top and J♦B, which everyone called "Job."

My joints used to shake like maracas and I had to use 2 papers to get there. Everyone knew a guy who could roll a tighty one-handed. He was a god.

Today, they're blunts and fatties and Wiz Khalifa has his own brand of rolling papers. Weight counts today - I actually saw one rolled in a page from a Time magazine.

In a lack-of-papers emergency, you could use the paper wrapper from a tampon as a rolling paper. Or you made a simple pot pipe out of a piece of aluminum foil.  (You took about a 6" x 3" piece of foil and wrapped it around a pencil, carefully removed the pencil, bent one end of the tube at a 90-degree angle, filled that end with pot, lit it and toked away.  Ah, pothead ingenuity!)

The infamous marijuana munchies: Pot hits the part of your brain that makes you ravenous, even if you just ate.  Food tastes different, i.e., erotically delicious.  Everything is richer and tastier when you're high. The only problem is that you can crave some weird food combos, like dill pickles dipped in caramel topping or walnuts covered in ketchup or 23 pieces of buttered toast and a large Fanta orange.  I used to adore grilled cheese sandwiches with potato chips shoved inside, swathed in mayonaisse.  Such culinary atrocities are why a pothead can gain 30-40 lbs. in a year.  It's hard to exercise while shoving mayo-laden fried cheese sammiches into your pie-hole.  (Oh yeah - pie's pretty good when you're stoned, too.)

That's about it for Pot 101, 70's Edition.

In closing, as stated earlier, today pot is out and out legal in some states, and legal for medical purposes in others.  If you plan to purchase a pot establishment in the future, here are some store names for your consideration:  Gone to Pot, Pot-Bound, 420's, Greener Pastures, Lotsa Pot, Bud's, Potsie's, Garden of Weed'n and last, if you buy a combo cafe-pot store, Weed and Feed.

You're welcome! (And please, stay off the fake stuff.)


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