Alibi V.24 No.38 • Sept 17-23, 2015 

Feature

Scoring Was Never Boring

Illicit herb appropriation strategies of yore

weed guy
Robert Maestas

“Come mothers and fathers/ Throughout the land/ And don’t criticize/ What you can’t understand/ Your sons and your daughters/ Are beyond your command/ Your old road is rapidly agin’/ Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand/ For the times they are a-changin’.” – Bob Dylan

It’s natural to point to Zimmy’s lyrics for evidence of how the counterculture of the 1960s presciently positioned itself for cultural hegemony down the road. After all, the dude got John and Paul high in 1964, twisting up the course of pop culture for generations to come. Dylan’s turned-on encounter with The Beatles opened the doors of perception to a smoky methodology that embraced experimentalism while also becoming popular with the youth of the day. That act leads us to now, a place where we continue to move forward through the fog.

But change didn’t happen overnight. Fact is, it took a long time to build that new road. We’re still getting used to the sea change wrought by a continuously unfolding cultural revolution. Cannabis use is certainly part of that. Lately laws across the land have been skewing towards acceptance of responsible usage. But even as recently as 30 years ago, procuring marijuana could be sketchy.

If you wanted to score weed in Albuquerque in 1985 there were choices to make, places to go. None of them were remotely legal. These were adventurous outings, each carrying the possibility of chaos and danger—interfaces with the underground that at best could result in access to a powerful plant and at worst ruin one’s life.

You could always wander over to Yale Park. There, a weathered member of a wan pack of vagabonds might dish you out a dime bag from a divot craftily dug in the lawn. He might tell you how the grass under the grass came from Califas, that it was sinsemilla, mang.

You could always wander over to Yale Park. There, a weathered member of a wan pack of vagabonds might dish you out a dime bag from a divot craftily dug in the lawn. He might tell you how the grass under the grass came from Califas, that it was sinsemilla, mang.

He might even scratch his mangy beard and rattle off the first verse of “Hotel California” before handing over the product. Or he might rip you off, grab your sawbuck and run toward campus while his gruff cohorts guffaw from the picnic table nearby. In either case—passing around a bottle of Thunderbird and a joint rolled from newspaper—they laugh languidly as you retreat to the safety of your mother’s Volvo 244.

For those feeling more confident, a walk to Nob Hill might do the trick. Inside the house with Europe ’72 blaring and “Steal Your Face” tapestries being used as curtains, the trust fund kid from Massachusetts—who sits next to you in Berthold’s History 101 class—motions you over to the couch. He’s got a three-foot US Bong, says his brother just got back from Amsterdam. All he got was a lousy t-shirt with Dutch words on it and voila! two Thai sticks. They’re dried and dense flower tops of Asian ganja, wrapped in hemp thread and coated with hash oil. He wants 35 bucks each for these mementos of oriental indulgence but will take your notes on ancient Rome for half trade. The next morning when you wake up with your eyebrows shaved off and replaced with electrical tape, you remember what your bud said as things grew hazy: “Whoa, this isn’t hash oil. It’s opium!”

When you can’t satisfy the craving for C. sativa by the means recalled above, you wait until the sun’s down, tell your folks you’re headed for the library but make a detour at the corner of Chico and Moon. You pull into a dilapidated apartment complex and flash your high beams. A man wearing a gray Members Only jacket and big bell jeans approaches. You activate the electric window roller, an exchange is made. The man gets a Hamilton. You get a lid of Mexican that came up from Juarez in the gasoline tank of a BMW motorcycle. The bag reeks of petroleum by-products and is filled with crushed black seeds, lumber-like twigs and a couple of flattened buds.

On the way out, an APD cruiser appears instantly and stops in your path. For a second that stretches into infinity you think you’ve had it—until the cop swerves and chooses to go after the guy in the disco outfit instead. Dealer McDope is running and emptying his pockets frantically as you hit the gas.

Back at home, you take out your ill gotten gains, produce the Protopipe purchased at the General Store, put a copy of Bob Dylan’s third album on your father’s Bang & Olufsen turntable and take a toke. As you drift off peacefully, you sense things will get better and can’t help but think the twenty-first century can’t come soon enough.