Weed Differences from 60s 70s and today
in 1972. An ounce was $10 to $15. If you wanted a smaller amount you could get a matchbox for $5. Most folks called an ounce a lid because if you didn’t have scales you could approximate by covering a coffee can lid in pot. I almost said bud just now and that would have not been accurate. Back then a bag of pot was sort of whole plant. There was bud, leaf, stems, sometimes roots and always lots of seeds. Everyone I knew who smoked pot had little tiny round holes burned in their clothing, upholstery and bedsheets from burning seeds. Most folks rated the size of the bag more than the potency. If your pot was dense or your dealer shady you ended up with a two finger bag, an average bag was a 3 finger bag and sometimes you lucked out and got a big fat 4 finger bag. Weed could be from anywhere but the bulk of what was out there was Colombian and then there was a little from Mexico but you also got pot from Jamaica and other places as well. The Columbian pot had a really distinct taste and smell that I truly miss and feel very nostalgic about. Potency for average pot was lower than now but still very good and I did get a chance to smoke some Maui Wowie and some Matanuska Thunder Fuck back in the early 70s that was as good as almost any strain today.
Matt Grew up in New Jersey and started smoking in 1976. Back then weed imported from Columbia and Mexico was the norm. Actually, the kids in my high school had no idea of the origin of our pot. If it was strong we dubbed it Colombian, if it was lower quality and full of stems and seeds it came from Mexico. If it was super potent or exotic in some way we called it Jamaican ganja or Panama Red. Really, we had no clue.
In the late 70's the price of imported pot was about $40 an ounce. We did not weigh the pot. Four or five fingers full on a baggie was an ounce. Two to three was a half. Smaller amounts — a quarter ounce or eighth — were called nickle or dime bags. A loose joint sold for a dollar.
A good portion of the pot was stems and seeds. Before you rolled a joint you had to remove the stems and seeds. To do this we used a record album with a gatefold sleeve and a book of matches. Keep in mind that the album you used was important. It said a lot about the type of stoner you were. Hippies preferred The Grateful Dead Skull and Roses album (the one with Bertha). Metal heads used Black Sabbath's Paranoid. Intellectual stoners? The White Album. Average run of the mill teenage stoner? Led Zeppelin II or the first Skynyrd album. The kids into funk and soul used a Funkadelic album. When Husker Du released Zen Arcade in 1984 it was a big deal. Finally an American punk rock album with a gatefold sleeve worthy of cleaning your pot on!
The quality of the pot was different. Yes, you had to smoke an entire joint to get a decent buzz but the high was different from today's knock you on your ass after three hits weed. The high from good Columbian weed made the world seem surreal. You felt carefree. It motivated you to go outside and experience things like watching a group of Italian men play bocce at the park. You laughed hysterically at the stupidest things. And two and a half hours later, when the buzz wore off, there was no sluggish weed hangover. You either rolled another number or did something else.
In 1979 I was busted by a cop with a quarter ounce of stems, seeds and a little bit of weed. A friend and I had just left the kid's house who we bought it from and were arguing about how badly we were ripped off. I held up the bag and measured the count with my fingers as a detective was driving past. I didn't rat on the kid I bought it from but decided from that point on I would never get busted again. The police in our town had two detectives assigned to the juvenile division who were always busting the same ten kids who sold pot out of their bedrooms. I decided to steer clear of my high school pot network and started scoring my weed on the streets of Manhattan.
The best spot in lower Manhattan was on 17th Street between 8th and 9th Ave. They sold good quality Columbian pot. The fact that I bought my pot from a Puerto Rican dude named Fabian on the streets of New York made me seem like a badass to the kids in my NJ high school whose only trips to NYC were to concerts and hockey games. Of course I made it sound like me and Fabian were tight when he really didn't know me from Adam. Kids in my school wanted me to score weed for them. I refused. From a legal standpoint that was dealing. But if they were cool I told them they could come into the city with me and I would introduce them to Fabian. Fabian must have been amused by these geeky white boys from the burbs who considered him the weed equivalent to Tony Montana.
Once I was walking down 8th Ave with a girl from my school to score when this big Harley rolled across the sidewalk and into a gas station. The rider removed his helmet to fill the tank. It was Lou Reed! Of course by the time we were on the train back to Jersey we didn't just see Lou Reed pumping gas but smoked a joint with him and Fabian on the steps of a NYC brownstone. My cool factor really shot up when the story got embellished to the point where I scored my pot from the same badass Puerto Ricans Lou Reed copped his heroin from. (In the early 80's, when this happened, Lou Reed was clean and sober and probably on his way to an AA meeting.)
In the early 80's domestically grown sinsemillia began to replace pot smuggled from Central and South America. The price went to $200 an ounce but the higher quality and lack of stems and seeds meant that $50 worth of the bud lasted just as long or longer than $50 worth of the imported weed. The high was different. The world did not seem as surreal and really powerful pot would incapacitate you for a couple hours. No laughing fits or conversations about how the universe could be a single atom on a giant's fingernail.