This post is in response to a question put by the Ent xlamplighter in my /r/trees AMA, to wit:
“Over your many years of smoking, can you describe the prevailing attitudes and culture surrounding cannabis and how you think they’ve changed over the decades? Also, lingo and phrases you might have heard over the years would be cool too.”
Let me start with the lingo, because I wrote this up awhile ago and now is the perfect time. Beyond that…I never heard of “smoking out” or “smoking up” anyone until I found /r/trees. It was “getting high with”, “turning on”, “smoking grass with”. We called it “grass” among ourselves; “pot” was something parents or news media said. “Turn on”, of course, was part of the phrase that Timothy Leary made famous, and it was instantly used for everything from LSD to weed (another word we never used) to sex to hobbies (“I turned my friend on to playing guitar”).
We never had your generation’s terrifically descriptive word “hotboxing” (if we even had a word for that, I forget), or “nugs” or “buds”…because they didn’t exist then! All we ever saw was powder or crushed leaves (and twigs, and seeds…often all mushed together in what’s called “brick” today). Even on the rare occasions when we got good stuff (all the legendary names like Panama Red, Acapulco Gold, and Maui Wowie), it was pretty much in either of those two forms. Of course, this was “back East” in NYC, so anything had to take quite a long trip before it got there. Every once in awhile, some amazing stuff came by that was reputed to be home-grown, but I’m sure any growing amateur today knows more than virtually anyone did back then.
Anyway, my point is that there was another legendary type called “sinsemilla”, meaning “without seeds”, and none of us had even seen it. Fast forward to me walking into a dispensary for the first time this year…and the word is obsolete, because everything is sinsemilla buds! Just imagine how I felt after all those years…I didn’t even recognize the stuff — although all I had to do was smell it to know it was “the right stuff”
As to your first question: strangely enough, I don’t think they’ve changed very much. The “average man on the street” knew nothing about marijuana back then except what the media told him, which was that only dirty hippies smoked it. So they disapproved. Now the average person, having been fed government anti-drug propaganda from birth (including the special DARE classes in school), still disapproves of it. And in both times, we were a little vanguard of people who loved Mary Jane from the first kiss, and pretty much instantly understood its connection to mankind through the ages, and how and why governments would disapprove of something that let people think differENTly.
The world is still run by hypocritical, greedy, power-hungry politicians. Only back then, we laughed at their hypocrisy of drinking their Scotch and bourbon and castigating us for smoking pot. Now, we laugh at their hypocrisy of smoking pot and still castigating us for smoking pot! But it’s less funny, because it’s more obvious.
But the good news is that, in all that time, lots of people have tried it, and found out that the government was lying to us all that time. Weed does not make you lazy, crazy, or stupid, and it pretty clearly doesn’t hurt your body.
So — as we’re seeing now with Wikileaks — once people see starkly that their government has been lying to them, it changes their mind forever. They stop believing everything they hear in a knee-jerk way, and they start to question. And questioning leads to thinking, and thinking is perhaps the most revolutionary act of all. And that’s why we now have 15 medical marijuana states and have just come within three cat whiskers of legalizing it in California this year.