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A Blog for People Who Burn

by Johnny Blaze

It seems like only yesterday that my parents were sitting me down to tell me the dangers of chronic cannabis use. They laid out the risks on the table, stunting brain development, memory loss, respiratory problems, increased chance of mental illness and memory loss. You know, the classics. And coming from two doctor parents, you’d think that I might have listened or at least taken them seriously. It probably didn’t help that I was high for the conversation. But if I did listen to them, I wouldn’t have been able to adopt this dope ass alter ego, Johnny Blaze. I really showed them.

Life comes full circle, and this blog is going to be symbolic of that. Now I love to blaze, I mean it’s in the name, but I must say, the legalization of weed has made smoking it less cool here in Canada. There, I said it. But I wouldn’t change that it’s legal. If you presented me with a time machine I wouldn’t go back and change everything because I love that weed is legal. As a matter of fact, it seems ridiculous that it was ever illegal.

Now I can pass joints with Cosimo and the Afro Samurai outside of DTTW HQ while cops roll by, and we give each other the side eye and the cool smirk head nod. My stoners know what I’m talking about, you know the look you give a guy you pass on the street who is blazing some dank, as if to say, “my man”, but like the cool way how Denzel says it.

But I must say, legal weed has made it a little less cool.

I used to work in a dispensary, go ahead, call me a sellout. But I swear I spent my time working there figuring out their diabolical plan for recreational cannabis from the inside, all to start a rebellion against the man from the belly of the beast and return the people’s weed to its rightful hands. The government can’t control the weed, man, only we can control the weed. Power to the people.

All jokes aside though, the pay was good, and I had to do about as little actual work as you might expect from a dispensary job. But this is where I realized that weed was starting to become uncool. Now hear me out.

I come from small town Nova Scotia. I used to buy big bags of weed, not caring about what it looked like, nor its price. Most of the time it was pretty shitty and pretty expensive, but I used to buy enough to keep me from going through the insanely tedious and painstaking process of linking with a 28-year-old back country dealer selling kush and pills out of the pop-up trailer in his parent’s backyard.

Then I moved to the big city. And guess what? You could buy weed literally everywhere. They even had an app for it. Fucking WeedMaps blew my goddamn mind. Weed was green here, not brown, and normally cost me substantially less than what I paid back home. I could now find a phone number online, text it and get an estimated drop off time and then a guy on a street bike or murdered out Mercedes would drop off ounces for a decent price. It was so unlike waiting in a dark rink parking lot for several unanswered hours while buddy wheeled around in his Pontiac Sunfire pedalling grams of his dad’s home stone for $15. All my small-town people know the struggle I’m talking about. But let’s face it, that weed is what made us who we are today.

But who we are today isn’t as reflective of that era as I’d like. Now people actually care about what they smoke and what it does to their bodies, kind of like how people started to care about what food they were putting into their bodies when nutrition facts were put on food. And nutrition facts were only made in 2003, leaving like, I don’t know, a couple thousand previous years of existence where no one drank apple cider vinegar and ginger shots, and smoothies weren’t green.

Call me ignorant, but I must say most weeds taste like the last one I smoked. And I scale my highs as: small high, medium high, big high, and then existential crisis mixed with panic attack. There is no in between. Well, I guess medium high is the in between. For instance, there was a time I went into a dispensary and told the budtender that I was about to go snowboarding. He then persistently tried to sell me weed that paired well with high altitude board sports. Bro, I just want something that gets me baked enough to go off the medium sized jumps. That’s it. I don’t need a “great kush with earthy and citrus-y flavours that will leave you with an airy yet calmed head high while still engaging your mind and muscles for high or low intensity activity”. Talk about copy and paste amiright.

I shit you not, someone once even tried to tell me this one strain had an “apricot-y” taste. Like what the fuck does that even mean? AND WHAT THE FUCK IS A TERPENE PROFILE?! I know that they’re what make the weed taste differently from strain to strain, I can use Google as well. But seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever been halfway through a toke induced asthma attack and thought about how the myrcene and limonene flavours in my bowl made it so much more enjoyable. Fuck outta here.

And don’t even get me started on CBD. The CBD people are like the IPA people of the craft beer industry. Coincidentally, another super annoying demographic of people to talk with about a substance that seems just as standard from serving to serving. Actually, I won’t give them the satisfaction of making it into this blog. I’m even considering deleting that paragraph.

The one thing about legal weed I can get behind is that weed has become crazy potent lately. Or dank, as the kids would say. Weed in the seventies sometimes didn’t even reach one percent when considering the THC levels in it. And from when people started smoking it until 1995, THC levels stayed consistently around the three percent mark. That’s not even mid, it’s fucking bunk, even by Nova Scotian standards.

Like look at this side by side. Guess which one is from time ago. It’s a pretty easy thing to do.


nug of weed
how did weed look back in the day

In 2016, the average THC level of weed was approximately 13 percent. Which is still kind of low, all things considered. Now, there is a wide range of potency, making weed super accessible for a smoker with none to tonnes of experience. And that’s sick. Now your grandma can rip to the dispensary and pick up some mild bud for her arthritis pain, and not have to worry about getting zooted off her ass. Three years ago, old Delores would have to trek herself to the street corner to buy an eighth from a guy who doesn’t care what happens after he gets his $25, with God knows what level of THC that could easily leave her in a catatonic state until her cats started to get hungry and ate her face. Cuz cats do that shit. Moral of that story is that now your grandma can smoke up and not get mucked by her cats, which is super important all things considered.

You don’t want your grandma buying weed from a guy like this would you?
Jesse Pinkman wearing toque

That said, if you’re looking for a strain that puts you as close to a coma as you can get, you’re still in luck. If you’re a person who likes to stare at the wall and question why you don’t talk to your parents enough and think back on every decision you would make differently, then you can! But if you wanted to do that, say, 40 years ago, you’d’a been shit outta luck bud because there are no epiphanies happening on some 1.5 percent THC level kush.

Then there are concentrates and shit too. That’s a fun game to play sometimes, I’ll admit it. But I equate the habitual dab smoker to the guy who would pull up to high school parties with a bottle of spiced rum in one hand and a two litre of Coke in the other and would have them done by 11:30. Then he’d show up at school on Monday and say how he can’t remember anything but you already knew he couldn’t because after you shot gunned a Twisted Tea with him he said he was going to go pee and then you found him in the bush with his dick still out. That guy was fun to rage with, but did you ever notice you never really hung out with him outside of a party setting? That’s kind of how I feel about dabs and dabbers, fun to kick it with once and a while, but not every day.

I love that it has become so much more accessible though because that’s what smoking weed is all about man. It literally enhances your life. Movies, music, food, sex, fuck it, just sitting there, it literally makes all of those things so much better. And if you’re one of the people who still denounces weed, seriously fuck off. It’s too late for that. My favourite thing is when people start talking shit about kush and how it’s so bad for your brains and lungs and blah blah blah, but then go home and crush six beers every night. Get off your high horse buddy. Hate it in silence. Actually, no, don’t hate it. Accept it. You don’t need to smoke it, but you can’t give shit to people who choose to partake.

One thing I was skeptical about when legalization was on the horizon was how much of a hand the government was going to play in the new landscape of legal kush. I feared that they’d give the okay, and then start changing all the rules and shit, really taking the fun out of it all. But I must say, they have been pretty cool about it. The only thing I have to say is that their prices are way too high and every time I buy government weed, it’s always shitty little nugs from the bottom of the bag. For this reason, I stick to the “grey market,” as they call it.

I was also nervous that the government was going to try to put limits on the THC levels of legal products. This was and is a problem in new and emerging legal markets in some states in America. Many politicians who were against the legalization of cannabis are now taking a stand against the potency of the newly available product. Their main argument is public safety, claiming that lower THC levels will ensure safer smoking habits for users. At first glance, this kind of makes sense, but on the second, I started to think that lower THC levels are just going to push people to buy and subsequently smoke more weed to get to the level of baked they’re shooting for. In turn, this would lead to increased health issues when considering the effects weed has on developing minds and lungs. It would also pump more money into the legal market, which I’m sure is the real driving force behind THC caps. I’ll say it right now: legal weed should not be used as a tool to advance capitalism as the whole idea of smoking it back when the culture was taking shape was to fight and push back against the system that was casting them out. Damn, I sound like my dad talking about the good ol’ days.

But Canada has only placed limits on edibles, creams, capsules, and oils, and that makes sense because those things need some policing if you ask me. The last thing I’d want is to buy an edible from Papa Trudeau and it either not work or blast me off to space with no warning. And with edibles, there is no in between. Talk shit and get hit boy, edibles will come for you. Mark my words.

I guess the conclusion I can draw from all of this is that perhaps legal weed hasn’t made it less cool, but has made people weird about it. And I know there are going to be fanatics for literally anything in this world. But we already have one Customgrow420, we don’t need every weed smoker in the world walking around with that same sort of energy. The cool part of weed was the rebellious nature of it. Dropping Visine every time you went to class. Worrying about your mum disowning you if she looked into your backpack. Caring about it is one thing, but don’t make it your whole personality. I love a good stoner, but I’d rather talk to them about their thoughts on aliens or how Pink Floyd was the most influential band in the world than the terpene profile on their new bag of OG tarantula dicks.
Written by: John Balser


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