How I Met the Yankee Inhaler

Adventures during my teenage years were often energized with a healthy inhale of Cannabis. The summer of 1977 featured some memorable shenanigans and a cool cannabis pipe I have not seen since.

My 17th year was a typical for a teenager of the 70s with the required amount of rebellion and angst. I was fortunate to spend the end of my summer hanging around in Vermont far away from my parents and in the company of locals Kevin and Rob. It was a magical time with strong memories of a carefree farewell to the last summer of my high school years.

One particular evening, Kevin, Rob and I hunkered around a backyard fire pit. Blue Oyster Cult was blasting from Rob’s car in concert with a choir of nocturnal insects. The fireside discussion settled upon a rumored pot patch. Apparently, there was a small garden growing against a farm house on a lonely section of road just outside of town. Before long, the three us packed into the getaway vehicle and were on our way to stealing some weed. We loudly sang “Don’t Steal My Reefer” as BOC’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” raged on the car’s tortured speakers.

Since I was the youngest of the group, I was selected as the designated thief. I would cut the weed, run to the road where the getaway car would pull up for the pickup and we would flee into the night with our green booty.

With Bowie knife in hand, I jumped from the vehicle and slipped into the pasture beside the target. I watched as Kevin and Rob drove out of sight then proceeded toward the house. I crept through the tall grass and up to the small garden. Sure enough there were Cannabis plants growing amongst the tomatoes and squash. I went to work chopping the stems and gathering up the 6 foot plants one by one. With my arms straining to contain the giant harvest and the crime fully engaged, my heightened senses detected what may have been a screen door squeal… Panic time.

In a flash of fear, I dropped the knife and sprinted toward the open pasture clutching my ill gotten gain. With such a bail of Cannabis in my arms combined with the darkness of night it was impossible to see where I was running. At full teen speed, I ran blindly through the field fueled by fear. The first fall was a spectacular cartwheel into a large ditch that appeared without warning. I never let go of the precious cargo, landing atop the bundle. With an athletic snap to my feet, I was running again before I even knew I was upright.

The adrenalin surge was real and my romp through the pasture was nearing its end. I could see headlights on the road ahead. Then my feet made contact with an extremely large and still moist cow pie. Anyone familiar with farm life will tell you a cow’s poop has the coefficient of friction similar to the banana peel. Upon entering the “pie”, my feet were propelled forward at 10 times the rate of the rest of my body. With cartoon-like choreography, I was launched into the air, hovering above the ground just long enough to realize the next instant was going to be unpleasant.

With a an extremely squishy splat, I landed on my back into the enormous pile of dung. But the weed was safe. Back on my feet and quickly toward the approaching lights, I ignored the pain and odor as I saw salvation ahead. I reached the edge of the field and jumped out into the road.

The vehicle drew closer and I was looking directly into the lights, impairing my vision. I did not care… I got the weed and I was home free. I stood in the road so my getaway vehicle could pick me up as planned. The car pulled up slowly. Peering around the bundle of contraband, I focused on my ride.

It was not Kevin and Rob.

As the mysterious car pulled up, I saw the driver window go down and the unknown occupant staring disbelievingly at the walking bush before them. There was nothing I could do but stare back. And the car pulled away quickly with a chirp and a leap into the darkness. I believe my mouth was still open when Kevin and Rob drove up a minute later, their hysterical laughing echoing across the valley.

Standing on a dark and lonely back road in Vermont covered with cow shit and desperately grasping an enormous bundle of stolen weed, I planned my next move as my laughing transport came to a stop. I was not amused. Neither was Rob when I fumbled the door open, flopped across his back seat and commanded him to drive.

Before Rob’s foot hit the gas pedal, the stench from my cow shit covered self hit his nose. It must have struck Kevin’s nose as well as suddenly the laughing stopped and the gagging began. I ignored their over-animated retching and continued to scream for a hasty get away. I was still clutching the cannabis lying across the back seat, unable to move. With a squeal, Rob took off toward the only destination the made sense.

When Rob pulled into the parking lot of the 24 hour laundry mat I was sure I was in the company of a genius.

It was 2AM. Not a soul in sight. I was covered in cow shit. There was weed that needed to be dried. We had quarters. There really was no other place we could go. Rob dug out a pillow case and some gnarly gym shorts out from his trunk. I stumbled from the car, still clutching the precious bundle and headed into the all night laundry with my two chuckling accomplices.

The plan was simple… we would dry all the weed by stuffing the pillow case and throwing it into the dryer. I would be able to wash my cow shit clothes at the same time. Again, genius.

We went to work stripping off the foliage and stuffing the pillowcase. The weed was clearly not ready as there were but tiny flowers. We didn’t care. Some of the leaves were huge and we stuck them on the windows and walls like cling-on decals. I remember the amazement I experienced at the adhesive quality of wet pot leaves as we decorated the laundry room.

We had been in that laundry mat drying our stash for a while. The entire space reeked of cannabis. Stems littered the floor and the windows and walls were decorated like a Rastafarian day care. We were just wrapping up our stay at the washeteria when Kevin called out for our attention. It appears there was a vehicle on its way down the long access road to the laundry. Somehow Kevin could tell it was a “Statie” from that distance. We did not question his vision and sprung into action.

I grabbed my moist clothes, Kevin grabbed the weed. Rob was already headed to the car for the second get away of the evening. We quickly piled into the vehicle leaving the laundry covered in pot leaves and smelling like a hippie hoedown. It was eerily quiet as Rob drove down that long dirt access road toward the approaching police cruiser.

We passed the Vermont State Police officer without incident. Maybe he was headed in to do his laundry? We didn’t care… When Rob reached the end of the dirt road, he squealed onto the main road and sped toward Kevin’s house. He parked out back and we hunkered down in the getaway car. We waited there for some sort of police action but none happened. We had gotten away with it and now have a big ole pillowcase of weed.

There was only one thing left to do…

We sat in the car, with Blue Oyster Cult breaking the silence once again. Kevin was in the back with his hands in the sack of weed. Rob leaned across the front seat and gave his glovebox a healthy “thwam”. The door swung down and a funky shape fell out into Rob’s waiting hand.

What is THAT?

Rob was grasping the oddly shaped piece of wood as he motioned to Kevin for the sack of weed. When Kevin held the pillowcase open, Rob stuck his hand in and pinched a generous plug of pot. He filled the hole in the wood and finished with a tap of the thumb. Rob held up the wooden bowl and flicked open his Zippo light with a satisfying “snick”.

yankee inhaler

I watched the glow of the Zippo flame illuminate Rob as he brought the mystery to his lips. The way he cradled the pipe was unlike any smoker I’ve seen. As if he was about to blow on a trumpet, Rob “kissed” the odd mouth piece and puffed a few clouds from the smokestack in his hand.

As Rob handed the smoking wooden shape to me, he explained that this was his “no wetness” pipe. I “kissed” the bowl and inhaled deeply. A satisfying yet somewhat ambitious lungful had me coughing like a newbie. Rob laughed and urged me to “go easy”. Kevin joined in and said with authority “If you don’t cough, you don’t get off.”

We passed that hunk of wood around for hours, filling the car with smoke in true hotbox perfection. I really liked that bowl and pressed Rob for the details on its origin. As it turns out, Rob worked in a furniture shop and used the lathe and a scrap chunk of cherry wood on his lunch break to craft his little smoker. Kevin and I urged Rob to make more, assuring him he could sell hundreds.

I never saw Rob or Kevin since then but those memories remain. I always hoped to see that bowl again but it was never to be. Which is why I have decided to resurrect that pipe from my memory. It seemed only natural to name the pipe the Yankee Inhaler as it has Yankee origins and kinda looks like an inhaler used by asthmatics.

Look for a new, hand crafted Yankee Inhaler smoker coming soon.

Don’t Call My Cannabis “Marijuana”!

There are so many different names for Cannabis. Like anything fun or popular, Cannabis has so many nicknames it deserves a thesaurus of its very own. With all of the possible names to choose from, may I suggest the one word to avoid: Marijuana

The word “marijuana” didn’t even exist in American culture in 1900. The scientific moniker, “cannabis” was used, primarily in reference to medicines and remedies for common ailments. In the early 1900s, herbalists and medical concerns that became the pharmaceutical powerhouses of today (i.e. Bristol-Meyer’s, Squibb and Eli Lilly) used cannabis in many of their medicines.

The Oxford English Dictionary cites the word marijuana may come from the Nahuatl peoples’ word for “prisoner”: mallihuan. This odd word with its different spellings and negative connotations was embraced by Harry J. Anslinger during his campaigns against Cannabis. The use of the name Marihuana (Marijuana) increased dramatically in the 1930s, when the exotic word was tossed about during debates of Cannabis’ legality. It was actively promoted by opponents of Cannabis wanting to brand it with an evil, “foreign-sounding” name. The word was cemented into the American lexicon with the “1937 Marihuana tax act”.


You might remember Mr. Anslinger as the brains behind the famously unsuccessful prohibition of alcohol. Fresh from this failure, Anslinger wanted desperately to keep his job which just became obsolete so he rallied to make marijuana the “next feared thing”. As a result, Anslinger became the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the larval stage of the modern DEA and the start of a never-ending war on drugs.

Anslinger used the popularity of those new “moving picture theaters” to spread fear of this “foreign” plant with productions like Reefer Madness crafted just for white American audiences. Sensationalized with overacting and insane scripts, “Marijuana” was always portrayed as a lubricant for the misdeeds of low-lifes and undesirable immigrants (read: brown people).

About as racist as one could be, Anslinger was fond of mixing marijuana with his dislike of anyone not sharing his skin color. “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.” said Mr. Anslinger. Hmmmmm, kinda reminds me of another racist politician that is full of shit.

Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.”

Harry J. Anslinger

So, it seems Anslinger’s antics at the Bureau of Narcotics are partially responsible for “marijuana” to become a word known by all Americans. Cannabis was no longer that beneficial plant substance found in medicines and consumed without fear. Marijuana became public enemy #1.

Thanks, asshole.

The Original Grass Laws

To understand a true stoner, you need to understand the Grass Laws. The Grass Laws are the product of wasted philosophers, high engineers and stoned mathematicians attempting to decipher the marijuana phenomenon. More observation than research, most stoners can appreciate the laws as they offer a simplified explanation their pothead behaviors. It is important to consider these laws were created when weed was not only illegal but sometimes very hard to find. The times they are a changin’.


The Grass Laws

1. Have weed, will smoke.

If you are a “daily” smoker, a real pothead, then this statement makes sense to you. Lets call it what it really is; an addiction or at the very least, a habit. So, like any other addict with a “monkey on their back”, you need to smoke. There is no “I’ll save it for later”. If you have any weed you will smoke it.

2. The amount of weed smoked is directly proportional to the amount of weed possessed.

When you have a big fat sack of weed, you roll big fat joints or fill the bowl that extra time. As the bag gets smaller, so too will your consumption rate. Remember, this law was developed when weed was very illegal so procurement was not always guaranteed. Soon, running out will only mean having to run to the store, effectively reducing this law’s relevance.

3. Weed will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no weed.

Weed’s most common effect is making everything “better”. Money can have that effect as well when you’re buying more weed ! Back in the day, there were often weed “droughts” when getting a bag of pot was nearly impossible, sometimes for weeks. When there is no weed to buy, there’s gonna be no high, no matter how much cash is in your pocket.  The origin of this law is from the comic book series “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers“, an iconic underground comic strip from the 60s and 70s.

4. A friend with weed is a friend indeed.

Marijuana is made to share. You pass the joint to a friend. A friend passes a joint to you. A friend, indeed.


Hat and Drugs

My Dad had a saying he used whenever he suspected the wool was being pulled over his eyes: “Never shit a shitter”.

As kids, we always think we’re smarter than our parents. We had this notion that all we did had never been done before. I know I possessed this attitude as a teen. My underdeveloped brain failed to consider the vast experience my Dad acquired while raising my three older brothers was far beyond any DEA training. There wasn’t much I could do that my brothers hadn’t already tried.

DadDad always knew I was high. I would prepare my stoned self for contact with my Dad with the usual routine: Visine…check, Tic Tacs… check… alibi… check. Somehow Dad saw through my deception every time. No matter how many mints I ate, he could still smell that bowl I smoked two hours ago. I was floored that time Dad told me not to smoke joints with seeds in them because it was ruining all my shirts.

Or that time at 3 AM as I was tripping my socks off on mushrooms and laughing uncontrollably in the bathroom while looking at a crude drawing my little brother made. I don’t know how long my Dad was standing there in the doorway but when I eventually turned and saw him, he was actually smiling as he said with a nod “Good stuff, huh?”

One blustery Saturday I was bundling up to face the elements with a plan to meet my friends for a day of adventure. My Dad watched as I added layer after layer of protective gear. I could sense his prying observations as if he was scanning me with an X-Ray looking for contraband. After an uncomfortable silence my Dad offers: “Make sure you’ve got your hat and gloves, you don’t want to get cold when you’re outside getting stoned.”

I stood up to say something that would have certainly earned me a backhanded whack upside the head. I reconsidered, pushed my hat down and pulled my gloves on. For the first time I kept silent. He was right, of course.

From that day forward, anytime my friends and I would suit up for a bong session outside, one of us would have to say; “Don’t forget your hat and drugs.”

My Years With Proto Pipe

Always a marijuana smoker and a gadget fan, I was instantly attracted to the Proto Pipe. The ultimate pot smokers’ pocket “tool”, the Proto Pipe represents the perfect marriage of functionality and design.

protopipe_adI first saw the “ad” for the Proto Pipe in Dr Atomic’s Pipe and Dope Book, an underground comic by Larry Todd, creator of “Dr Atomic”. I knew I had to have one of my own. I got a postal money order, sent it off to Willits, CA and anxiously waited for my Proto.

When the package finally arrived, I was sent a notice to pick it up at the Post Office. Uh Oh. The “Feds” knew there was a marijuana pipe in the box. I was freaking out.

Keep in mind this was 1977. Drug paraphernalia was as illegal as the drugs themselves. I was stressing out over picking up the package. I gathered up all my courage and went in.

As it turned out, there was a COD charge (I could’ve figured that out if I read the pick up notice.) Apparently the Protopipe price had increased since the 1975 release date of the comic book ad. I paid the extra three bucks and grabbed my treasure.

The Proto Pipe was even better than I imagined. I was so elated with my purchase, I immediately bought a dozen more. The Proto Pipe company set up their own distribution system by giving deep discounts on multiple purchases. I received my dozen and sold them out in a day. I sold so many Proto Pipes that year, it seemed everybody had one. I was also the source for spare parts as most stoners lost the poker within a week.

I had 2 Proto Pipes for nearly 40 years, using one almost daily and the other put away as a spare. In 2014, I had one taken from me after a friend went through a stop sign without stopping. The police pulled us over, my friend was arrested for an outstanding warrant and I lost my beloved Protopipe. I also received a $100 fine for possession. One of the police officers was training another. He picked up the Proto and described it to the younger officer as a “one hitter”. I scoffed inwardly. My Proto Pipe was nearly twice the age of that policeman. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut and not correct the officer.

Today, a genuine Proto Pipe can only be found on eBay or other “collector” sites. You will pay well over $100 for an original. There are a couple of copies out there but nothing will replace the Proto Pipe manufactured in Willits, California.

Hanging With The Freak Brothers

I discovered comic books after I discovered weed. I was already 15 when I picked up my first comic book. It wasn’t Marvel or DC or any super hero title. I wouldn’t start reading those until much later. It was the underground comics that caught my eye.

Fat Freddy and Scottman were part of our “stoner gang”. Scottman was forever trying to get me into comic books and Freddy would nod vigorously in agreement. I always declined, dismissing them as “kids stuff”. Then Scottman handed me a copy of a comic book that seemed to glorify our very lifestyle. When I read that first copy of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, my life of smoking weed and doing drugs was validated.


The Freak Brothers were created by Gilbert Shelton in the late sixties. Featured in underground newspapers, Playboy and High Times, the comic is still being reprinted and sold in comic shops and on-line. Gilbert Shelton is also the genius behind another underground comic classic, Wonder Warthog.

We were in a frenzy to read every single issue. At the time, there were still new episodes being released. We would take the T into Boston and see what new “underground” comics were available at Newbury Comics (back then the only store location was on Newbury Street).

The Freak Brothers had seeped so deeply into our lifestyle that we “became” the characters from those pages. Fat Freddy, of course, was instantly recognizable from the group. He adopted the very essence of Fat Freddy in every way. It was hard to tell the real Fat Freddy from the fictional Fat Freddy. One time, Fat Freddy iced up some nasty bongwater and chugged it down. Such a Fat Freddy thing to do. As for me… I became the somewhat obscure character: Skinny Benny.

Police Officers became “Norberts” after the character “Notorious Norbert The Narc”, a bumbling officer always looking to bust the “Brothers”. Any weed dealer was “Dealer McDope”, all beer was “Tall Toad”, large campers were “Phutney Creech Landyachts”. I could go on but I think you get the point. Gilbert Shelton and the Freak Brothers were also the source of that favorite sound effect used when describing all manner of destruction: “Fagroon“.

I’ve always felt the Freak Brothers would be great as a movie. In fact, there have been multiple attempts to produce one. A stop action, puppet-style production was started but never finished. There was even a Kickstarter campaign to get it funded but it fell short. I hold on to the hope that a Hollywood stoner will write the perfect Freak Brothers movie script.

As I stated, the Freak Brothers are still in print and available from a bunch of places on the internet. Of course, you can just read them on-line but nothing beats the feeling of a printed book in one’s hands.  May I suggest you just go for the whole deal and pick up the The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Omnibus, the ultimate collection of Freak Brothers comic strips with all the necessary “Fat Freddy’s Cat” footers included.

Here’s some Freak Brothers links to get you started:

Rip Off Press – Home of the Freak Brothers.
Freaknet – a Freak Brothers tribute webpage.
Wikipedia Freak Brothers
A Pinterest Freak Page with great illustrations.
Freak Brothers Facebook page

Introducing the Yankee Stonette

Hi! I am the Yankee Stonette.  I am joining the Yankee Stoner  to help develop this website. We are both newly in love with each other and we have a lot in common, most importantly our love of marijuana. Since I work in the medical field, and recently obtained a Medical Marijuana card I feel that I am something of an expert about the nuances of the emerging phenomenon of medical marijuana.  I will introduce myself now, briefly…

In 1976  I graduated from high school in a town otherwise known as East Egg, New York (Google it..). I now live in Massachusetts and work in  a big city hospital. I married a guy from Dublin in 1990 and we had 2 daughters who are now on the edge of adulthood. I have worked full-time in the medical field since my kids were born, and now I am finally seeing light at the end of the proverbial tunnel: I just turned 59 and I am in a relationship with a really great guy.  My kids are happy and healthy, and that is all anyone should ask for. Now, I can turn my attention to myself, and talk about stuff that interests me.

I should start by saying that I have been a regular pot smoker since high school days. I did have periods of not smoking, depending on what was going on in my life at the time: When the kids are little you are stuck on a “go” button, and can never expect to fully relax, so weed was not my drug of choice when the kids were babies  until they were teens, actually. (My DOC was wine..). I have been a regular weed smoker for the last three years. I must confess that it all started after a particularly hard  day at work, and when I got home that day I had a sudden craving for weed, and was able to satisfy that yen. From that day forward I looked forward to my wind -down from my workday: a 25 minute walk home and then the promise of a joint or a bowl. I found that I could fully detox from the day, and have no ill effects, as I would from my usual wine: insomnia, dehydration, etc.

I realized that I had rediscovered an elixir. The more days that went by in my life that were relatively difficult, the best remedy was always weed. The weed of today, or maybe it’s just that I have an adult brain, seems to help my brain deflect rays of negativity. I find that smoking early in the morning helps me be compliant with my morning exercise routine, and after work, it helps me to unwind from work at a sometimes daunting medical institution.

I read a lot of sad stuff and it has led me to wonder if western medicine is becoming obsolete. I am currently  a volunteer subject in an acupuncture study that is being offered to the employees in the hospital, to see if daily hospital work stress could be lessened by a weekly 3o minute auricular acupuncture session. I have found that with my daily cannabis use and my weekly acupuncture therapy I have reached a steady state of happiness. This feeling of happiness is definitely sparked by my love life with Mr Stoner. We both love weed.

My next entry will focus on Medical Marijuana. There are so many sub-topics under MM to explore, but I have recently paid visits to a couple of traditional medical doctors to look for solutions to two of my ailments – insomnia and low back pain- and I received some pretty disappointing attitudes. There is an amazing lack of respect out there among our finest MDs for a medicinal plant that has been around for centuries. When my doctor assumed that I would be giving up marijuana once my new pharmaceutically manufactured sleeping pill proved it’s effectiveness, I inwardly groaned.

Why are doctors so dead-set against weed?

Weed TV

School would let out at 2:30. By 2:45, we would be getting as high as we could. At 3:00, we were ripped and ready. It was TV time.

After that last hit was inhaled, we would hurry into Sluggo’s parent’s family room and warm up the tube. With a few of Sluggo’s Mom’s homemade cookies in hand, we waited as the image slowly appeared on the screen.

The “after school” block of television was clearly marketed to the “stoner” demographic.  On the UHF band, we would carefully tune into channel 38 with a twist of the dial and a good whack on the chassis while someone would move the antenna wrapped in a wad of foil. We claimed our our spots on the couch and surrendered our brains for a couple of hours of the most mindless television shows ever created.


The Three Stooges would start an afternoon of “de-education” as the cathode ray tube bathed us with all that violent goodness. The timeless slapstick comedy taught us that whacking your best friend with a hunk of pipe or poking your pal in the eyes is just harmless entertainment and not assault and battery.  We crossed our fingers for a Curley episode, we were convinced Larry was high and the Joe episodes were just  a waste of time.  By 3:05, we were effectively “couch locked”. We remained riveted to Moe as he slapped his way through three “shorts” of black and white hilarity sandwiched between overly colorful junk food commercials.

After the Stooges were done, there was time for a quick bong hit in the garage so we could be high enough for Gilligan’s Island. So colorful, so stupid, soooo stoned, Gilligan’s Island was the ultimate in brain numbing television. Once a prime time staple, Gilligan’s Island is the perfect example of the family entertainment my generation endured.  Completely harmless and  unoffensive with zero educational value, Gilligan’s Island was just the thing to flush out all the day’s  “learnin”.  During the commercials, we would offer our opinions of the professor’s “coconut science” or argue over who was hotter: Ginger or Mary Ann. You’re singing the theme song right now, aren’t you…?

debbieAnother bong hit or two… Lost In Space was the most high show ever. Bad science, bad dialogue, bad acting, bad effects but still great “stoned” TV. Even though Lost In Space was a lame attempt to capitalize on the success of Star Trek, it still had the best theme song on TV at the time. (listen here)  The best episodes (by best I mean “dumbest”) featured Penny’s pet, Debby the Bloop, a chimp with fuzzy Spock ears that only utters “bloop”. We would fall about ourselves loudly laughing at Dr Smith moaning “oh, the pain, the pain” as Robots’ flailing arms would warn Will Robinson of “danger, danger”…

By this time, Sluggo’s Mom would walk in, sigh deeply and tell us to go outside.

Good idea, it was time to get high.

How I learned about Weed.

I grew up in suburban New England during the 70s. At 10 years old, I watched the 60s transition into 1970 as the youngest of 4 boys. With curious eyes and a sponge-like brain I observed my brothers from the safety of my youth as they tested my parents, enraged their teachers and challenged society just like every other teen in America.

I knew about drugs at an early age watching my older brothers experiment with the vast selection of substances that were available in the 70s.

It wasn’t until an assembly at school when I would discover marijuana would have a special attraction for me.

I was a wide eyed fifth grader when Officer Grassy came to Cole Elementary School to teach us about drugs. On the stage of our gym/auditorium, the Officer opened up a magical trunk filled with mysterious stuff. As he opened it up, I smelled the familiar odor that also lingered on my brothers’ jackets. Inside was a curious collection of confiscated contraptions: hookas, roach clips, bongs, a gas mask with a bowl, even a trumpet converted into a pipe.


I could not keep my eyes off the Officer as he explained how hippies would make “steamboat” pipes out of toilet paper tubes and foil. As he spoke he twirled a beautifully decorated cardboard tube in his hands. He picked up a large bag of marijuana, held it up high with a disgusted look on his face and continued… “Always needing their fix, the crazed hop heads smoke their reefers and then go on crime sprees.”

Hmmmmm. My brothers smoked that stuff all the time and all I ever saw them do is listen to music, eat lots of food and laugh a lot. But more important than that, I never realized there were so many cool toys marijuana smokers got to play with.

I had no desire to get high, having no idea what that even was. I did want to see how that trumpet pipe worked and that gas mask looked like a whole lotta fun.

The next day I had crafted my own “steamboat” toilet tube pipe just like the fine Officer taught me. Hiding in the woods behind my parents house, a friend and I smoked random dried leaves until we were dizzy. We pretended we were hippies as we coughed ourselves red faced and wiped smoke induced tears from our eyes.

Clearly, smoking “weed” was the coolest thing EVER!


Walking Through That Gateway.

The biggest argument I hear against the legalization of marijuana is that weed is a gateway drug. Smoking marijuana, it is argued, leads to harder drugs like heroin.

As a pot smoker for more than 40 years, I can understand why pot is perceived this way.

I tried all the drugs I could. I never used any drug intravenously, but I freely took just about anything handed to me for a few “wasted” years.

My first “high” was hyperventilating on purpose to feel that “head rush”. Cigarettes and cigars were another “high” for a curious preteen. I remember stealing my dad’s table pipe with a handful of Borkum Riff. I remember throwing up in the woods after a lungful of that nasty stale tobacco.

Another reason I was throwing up in the woods? That would be my dad’s well stocked liquor cabinet.

It was only natural for me to seek out marijuana. My bothers were doing it, the Beatles were doing it, even my own mother was doing it. Once I established a “connection”, I could get a bag of weed easier than an unopened bottle of booze. My dealer was always available to fill my pot order, even though he was usually late.

small_signEvery suburban neighborhood had a “dealer”. Often clad in an olive drab army jacket and flying a freak flag that flowed over hunched shoulders, the dealer was usually easy to spot and easier to smell. Back in the 70s, it was not uncommon for your local drug dealer to offer a selection of recreational drugs. Of course, any good businessman will tell you, the key to profits is the upsell. Mushrooms, LSD, hash, cocaine… there were lots of choices in his pocket on any given day. As he was taking my money and handing me a “dime bag” in a suspicious exchange, my dealer would always offer up other drugs that were on his “menu”.

My dealer introduced me to many drugs. As if he was doing me the biggest favor, my dealer always used phrases like “I saved this just for you” or “You’re gonna love this”. When the dealer was out of smoke, there was alway a back up “tab” of something.

My trusted dealer kept me wasted whether or not he had weed. It was his “job”.

Legalization could remove this “middleman” and allow me to purchase my pot stash without the that upsell. Buying from a regulated and secure establishment could effectively put the weed dealer out of business and reduce the exposure to the illegal dangerous drugs. The movement to keep marijuana illegal is a movement to keep the dealer in business.

Marijuana isn’t the gateway to drug addiction so much as the drug dealer is the “gate keeper”.

Think of the children, people… As voters, we have the opportunity keep this salesman away from the kids and help to keep that “gate” closed.