I was in my rebellious teen stage in the ‘90s and so began my experiences in the pot culture. I grew up in western New York and used to buy a tiny bud of weed at a time from the older kids for $5 a pop. It was just enough to pack my little metal bowl. It was dirt weed; brown, crispy, and packed with seeds and stems that would crackle and pop as it burned if you didn’t clean it properly before toking.
Often times you could tell it’d been compressed for illegal shipping and you might even see the corner of the brick it came off of. A hard edged cut into the buds. Yeah, those were the good old days. Hiding from the cops and partying in the woods by a campfire.
Next came college down south in Florida. This was the first time I’d seen pot of any color other than brown. All of a sudden I had access to buds that were fluffy and glowing green, with sparkly little crystals all over it. And for the first time, that dank ass skunk smell accompanied the fine visual presentation.
It was a step up. A lot of steps actually. But still illegal. I still had to go the route of a dealer in secrecy and worry about getting arrested. And here was the real kicker of it all. I only smoked once in a while. So to think that I could get busted for this activity when I wasn’t even really an avid smoker at the time was even more of an annoyance.
Cut to present day, 2019. Now living in Los Angeles, California for over a decade. Pot’s been legal here medically to some degree since 1996 then more so in 2003, and as of about a year ago, has even reached recreational status.
So of course when I first moved here, I got my medical card right away. If I wanted to smoke a joint to relax one day after work, why would I risk getting arrested for that? It made no sense. So I went to one the weed doctors, filled out some forms, and boom, I was legal.
Immediately I started to question the rest of our great country. When a person starts going into weed shops, seeing nothing but high-end flowers and friendly budtenders, it really stands to question why it isn’t like that everywhere already. And I’m left to think that bars are going to vastly decrease in the future to be replaced with marijuana bars.
The flip side to this is when I visit friends back home in NY and see them now nearing their 40s with families and established careers, still having to meet up with a dealer and buy baggies out of the guy’s car while looking over their shoulders. And the quality hasn’t matched ours yet either. So higher stakes and less convenience for lesser product. Just ridiculous.
New York’s just now starting to come around on the medical front, but it seems like a bigger to-do than it ever was in California. However, it is progress.
I forget all the time that it’s still illegal in most US states. And that many people I’ve grown up with are still living in the reality from my youth that I’ve long forgotten. That is, until I visit again and am reminded I’m once again “a criminal.” This time warp effect really stretches my perceptions of our country, when friends a few hours away seem to be living in a different decade.
This country needs to get it together and get on the same boat. The one sailing into the future. I just hope the corporations don’t sweep in and take it away from all the local growers when it does. Those small growers are the ones that deserve the credit and bounties for fighting the good fight all this time.