A San Diego Millennial’s View of the (Recent) History of Marijuana

by on July 27, 2016 · 1 comment

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, San Diego

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An old fart like me gets really excited in anticipation of recreational marijuana being finally legalized for the first time in California this November. I’ve been smoking “black market” weed for 50 years, always having to hide it – first from my parents, then from my kids. But no longer.

Smoking herb will be legal very soon. I can’t wait. In the meantime, of course, I got my Letter of Recommendation from a doctor for medicinal cannabis. (I have plenty of genuine ailments, you doubters!)

In a quick leap, I went from smoking “Mexy” – the average marijuana from the border region – to smoking the good flower you can buy at the dispensaries. That is quite a jump. And I’ve had to run to catch up on all the brand names and accoutrements. The friends I have of my age all laugh at the different titles to this or that variety – as they don’t understand that the titles represent brands, and different strains.

So, to understand even more and to broaden my views, I sat down recently with a local millennial from San Diego to get his perspective on the marijuana experience and its and his history. I’ll call him “Mick”.

Since he was in the 7th or 8th grade, Mick was around marijuana but he didn’t smoke it then. His older siblings had it and they use to sell it when they lived in a separate house than where he lived with his parents. He remembers an old Mexican-American friend would go across the border to Tijuana and bring back one of those large black trash bags full of weed.

Once he did try it while in the 9th grade, but he got such a headache from it, he didn’t smoke it again till he was in the 10th.  He was about 15 or 16 when he started smoking regularly. “We smoked the chronic”, he said – “it was the above-grade of Mexy,” that was commonly available.

I asked him what other kinds of marijuana he saw or tasted. Whether he’d ever seen “Colombian” or “Thai-Stick”, but no, he hadn’t. He did try some Moroccan Hash, a light brown hard clay type of substance.

“We did see ‘Bubble-hash'”, Mick told me. It was local and home-made. But it became “irrelevant” due to “too many chronics” out there.

Mick started selling weed himself when he was 16 or 17 years old. He had a good buddy who always had really consistent marijuana.  He remembers they had “Afghani Bull-Rider” and “Bubble Gum”.

It was around this time, 2000 and 2001, he said, that “people starting caring about sativa and indica.” And there was “lots of locally grown weed.”

Mick got his first medical marijuana card when he was 18 in 2003. Back then, he recalled, you could buy clones and plants at the dispensaries. At one point, he tried to grow about a half dozens plants himself, but there were “too many bugs, algae, mold, white fly, worms …” he said.

Two of his friends had grown clones – and they were good, “but just not consistent.”

Before 2003, Mick told me, the good choice of weed was “Kush” – grown indoors, hydroponically. It was always indica. Then in the ever-competitive world, growers started coming up with different types other than Kush,  strains like “Purple Kush” or “Pineapple Kush”. Then growers began marketing “OG Kush” – “OG” meaning “the original”.

This was “a game changer,” Mick said, because OG Kush was all about growers trying to re-establish Kush as the main game.

Growing pot became more complicated what with the expansion of “hydros” and CO2 tanks.  These tanks for instance, pumped CO2 into the indoor-grown plant areas to produce higher and better qualities.

“The market became flushed,” Mick said, when the medicinal marijuana law passed. But in his experience, it didn’t affect the black market.

By 2004, all kinds of new strains of sativa were being produced: “Sour Diesel” and “Blue Dream” were particularly memorable. Other strains included “Orange Crush”, and “Granddaddy Purple”, an indica.

“One of the best sativas before hydros” he said was a strain called “Jack Herrer”.

In 2006, Mick met a grower who delivered to the stores and dispensaries from his patch up in northern California. But with time, the stores stopped handling his wares as they could get cheaper and even better products and it was local. Then local independent growers popped up – as they could sell to the stores directly.

Mick began selling his friend’s product. He remembers some of the names of the strains: “Pot of Gold”, “Skywalker”, and “Redwood”.

But the prices were falling. He started out paying $200 an ounce, then it dropped to $150, and then down to $125.

Mick had to constantly compete with the shops – this went “back and forth” he said. The only way for him to make any money was to sell quarter and half pounds; “I still sold the little stuff,” he added.

For awhile, in Mick’s eyes, “pot was stagnant for 10 years,” he said. “No major advances, – just bong hits” he said with a laugh. Sure, he said, “oils came out – you put ’em on a blunt wrap.”

Then more oils, and oil pens and dabs. Hi-grade edibles “exploded” he said, with all the stores. “Hybrids came in with all the medical pot stuff.”

The newest, Mick told me, were “moon rocks” – they’re pot dipped with hash oil, rolled in kief or herb.  I rolled my eyes.

Mick explained that the percentages of THC have greatly increased, especially with the oils and special strains. “Today’s flowers are twice the power of flowers before 2005,” he said.

Wrapping up our talk, I finally asked Mick what he thought of the probable coming legalization of marijuana.

“It’s good, as long as it doesn’t get commercialized, taken over by big corporations,” he said, “- that wasn’t the original idea.”

He’s right here, of course.

Me, I still can’t believe it didn’t get legalized back in the 1970s. But now I understand some of its recent history and can appreciate all the varieties. Yet, to old farts like me, it has been a long time coming.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Patty Jones July 27, 2016 at 5:17 pm

An interesting history! Thanks, Mick!


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