As we move towards legalization, and pot becomes even more ubiquitous and banal, it will become more important than ever to remind the non-cannabis consuming community, why we find this common weed so uncommonly attractive. It’s just a matter of marketing. If you want to sell a high-end luxury product like appellation controlled, Humboldt grown, fair trade, organic, salmon-friendly sun-grown sinsemilla for a premium price, it really helps if your customer A) has the money, B) can read the label, and C) cares.
That means you need well educated, higher income people to want your product. Current statistics show that the higher your income, and the more education you have, the more you gravitate towards alcohol, while low-income, sub-literate people invariably smoke weed. How do we convince someone who is bright, successful, has plenty of money, and feels optimistic about the future, to make time for marijuana?
It won’t matter how good your weed is, if the people who can afford it, don’t want to get high. Cannabis is the ticket, not the main attraction. Getting high is the main attraction. Here in Humboldt County, we focus a lot on the quality of the ticket, and how much money you can make selling tickets. Drug dealers have always run the box office, but what’s going on in the theater? What’s so great about getting high, that it’s worth buying these expensive tickets? Do you think people pay $10 a gram for weed, just so they can cough and hack on smoke that tastes like diesel fuel? You can do that for free, any day of the week, just by standing on the sidewalk downtown.
We’re losing the media battle. TV and movies portray drug dealers as gangsters, or business-people, two of our primary cultural archetypes. On the other hand, high people, that is, people portrayed as being under the influence of cannabis, usually appear vacant, generally seated on a couch, in front of a TV, surrounded by empty junk food wrappers. If they say anything at all, they’ll do it inarticulately, and punctuate it with giggles. Who wants to be that guy?
Is that what getting high is all about? How stupid do you have to be, to begin with, that that even looks attractive? I mean, if that’s what people do when they get high, it’s not just a waste of good weed, it’s an insult to good weed, and a waste of a good life. No one aspires to become a vacant half-wit; so why would anyone spend money on a drug that promises to transform them into one.
When I was growing up, I only saw high people portrayed in the media, on anti-drug propaganda that I knew could not be trusted, but I knew that Miles Davis smoked weed, and I knew that Bob Dylan smoked weed. If you asked me to give you one example that showed off the very best of human intelligence. I’d probably pick something like The ESP Sessions, by Miles Davis and his band. I’m not even a jazz fan, but I cannot deny the genius and the passion so beautifully expressed on that record. Do I want to smoke what Miles was smoking then? Fuck yeah, even if it was the same brown seedy weed the rest of us were smoking, because Miles was smokin’ back then.
On the other hand, do I want to smoke Snoop Dogg’s special Chemdawg Reserve strain of premium sinsemilla?Fuck no, because Snoop Dogg is a no-talent drug-dealer with atrocious taste. I don’t want to be like him at all. Miles Davis was a man of music. He was shaped by music, and music poured through him. Snoop Dogg has got his mind on his money and his money on his mind. It shows, Snoop. It shows.
Is today’s high-tech sinsemilla really better than the brown seedy weed we all used to smoke in the ’60s and ’70s? I think that all depends on how you look at it, and I’m afraid that bright, successful optimistic people are not going to see anything very inspirational, exciting or special about our current cannabis culture, and as a result, might just choose to skip cannabis altogether.
That would be a shame, because cannabis has a lot to offer everyone. Stupid people cause fewer problems when they smoke weed instead of drinking alcohol, but bright, talented people often find they have better ideas, greater sensitivity, and a higher level of coherence when they smoke weed. I just wish I could point to more contemporary examples.