Dispensary shelves are lined with jars of strain-specific marijuana. You can know the lineage of what you’re smoking three generations back, its THC content, even some of its most notable effects. When I grew up in the ’80s, there were just two known kinds of marijuana available. Mexi-weed was dark and full of seeds, coming across the border pressed into bricks which would then be re-fluffed for resale. Second, was skunk weed. This was a rarity, as I knew very few people who grew their own. This term basically referred to the fact that it smelled like marijuana was supposed to, and was shaped like it,too. As to whether we were smoking sativa or indica or hybrid, I had no idea, ever, and I never really cared. When I got that opportunity to smoke a friend’s special backyard skunk, I was just grateful. Today, we can pick down to the exact percentage how much sativa or indica we want in our weed and ask for the strain when offered a puff, there’s something to be said for some simple gratitude when someone shares their backyard bounty with you.
In addition to being able to purchase weed legally in Colorado, Amendment 64 also gave adult Coloradans the right to grow plants for their own consumption. Many folks shop at their local recreational dispensaries, and plenty of patients still buy from their caregivers at medical dispensaries. However, many are taking advantage of their legal right to grow their own. The beauty is that everyone is doing it a little differently. Some start with cuttings, some grow indoors under lights, some carefully and meticulously label their plants by strain, while others start with seeds, which are planted in gardens between the bean runners and the tomatoes, or nestled in the trees in backyards or simply tossed to the four corners in hopes that they will bloom, labels be damned.
Last week, I received a wonderful gift: a mason jar completely stuffed full of buds. All different strains, no one had kept track of what was planted where, and when it had been harvested, they still had no idea what they had other than to guess by the shape of the adult plant.
When I came to visit, my friends took out their happy harvest to share. I asked what strains they had grown, and if it was sativa or indica (because I don’t really like indica). Then I stopped short. I was being a weed snob. Did I not appreciate not only their offer to share, but the hard work that it took to grow? I smiled, took the proffered tray and rolled a fatty of mixed origins. And oh my. What great flavor. I could taste a hint from each of the strains, but I could also taste the love, and the simple, everyday feeling this plant had of growing next to my friends’ tomatoes in their backyard garden. I could taste the dirt, the fresh air; I could taste liberty. These plants were not grown for commerce, and no one is tracking them. They simply exists like plants should, free and unencumbered in the sunshine. And the effects of smoking them embodied those characteristics. As I got ready to leave, my friends insisted I take home a jar of their homegrown. I graciously accepted.
As a cannabis connoisseur, sometimes I take for granted how far we have come with being able to genetically manipulate cannabis to produce the exact kind of effects, even tastes we desire. It is good to remember that, even with all of its benefits, cannabis is just a simple plant. And the simplicity is sometimes what can be enjoyed the most. Anyone who can bring the gorgeous cannabis plant into flower should be congratulated in the form that is proper – to burn one with friends that enjoy to partake. It’s like drinking wine with friends that learned how to make their own. We all know it won’t be like drinking that amazing Grenache you discovered in a boutique wine store in Napa Valley. But the celebration of consuming something that friends created can be even better. So roll up a little freedom and liberty, and get by with a little help from your friends.
Meggie J is a published poet and freelance writer living in the Four Corners. She is an avid reader, rafter, and connoisseur of cannabis. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.