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Our Secret Marijuana Memories ~ L.A. Taco Writers Recall Their Fondest Highs For 4/20

10:49 AM PDT on April 19, 2019

Happy 4/20, Los Angeles. Tomorrow marks the unofficial worldwide day of cannabis appreciation. Although weed is fully legal in California, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, which makes no sense. Anyway, these stories are anonymous, but you can try to match the memory to your favorite L.A. Taco staff writers. Feel free to leave your own 4/20 memories in the comments ...

The Manuel Special

[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]ith few exceptions, marijuana was a lovely experience of my youth. I fell in love on weed, got through bad times in a cloud of smoke, and saw a lot of this country with one hand on my steering wheel and the other holding a joint. But now, as an old timer, I really only hang on to the great meals — none greater than the Manuel Special from the famed Boyle Heights institution known as El Tepeyac. One life time ago, after band practice in Bell Gardens, me and the boys went hard on some bowls, blunts, and edibles, and were filled with the type of thirst only a giant, legendary burrito could fill. So we jumped on the 710 and went north from BG to BH and ate what seemed like miles worth of chile verde smothered goodness. I can still hear the fork scrapes as we took that sucker down.

Summer of Barbados

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap] had a smoke out competition with my Rastafarian professor in Barbados. He found out I had some Cali Chronic with me and tracked me down. After trading half a brick of his island shwag for some nugs of my stuff, he introduced me to smoking out of a carrot carved into a funnel pipe. He said, “this is the best way to get really high.” After smoking from it, I had him hold my beer while I made him a gravity bong and respond with “No, THIS is the best way to get real high.” After smoking from the carrot and the bong, he turned to me and with those glossy eyes and said, “Let’s merge da cultures man!” We put the carrot on the gravity bong, packed it with both weeds, and before I knew it, we were out on the cow pastures with a few friends scavenging for mushrooms, tripping out, and having a blast. It went all night. We went straight to class in the morning, still tripping and reeking of weed and cow shit while the professor mustered through the lecture talking about how “the people of the world are like the colors of the rainbow.”

School Was a Blur

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]’m stoned and trying to figure out when and how I started smoking weed. But honestly, right now I don’t remember. I’m reaching into the end of high school but I also think it was on the first day of college. The other possibility is that I smoked weed the first time that summer, lounging around with the last of the summer crushes. School was a blur but I’m sure I was smoking through it. But I also did some dabbling in cigarettes, which was lame but part of the social ritual. For a while I didn’t smoke at all. Over the years I’ve dipped in and out with herb and all its components, and have found varying delights in different experiences.But at the end of the day, a good blunt with some sativa hybrid after a long week helps carry my worries away and keeps me focused and dedicated to the tasks at hand.

RELATED: Weed Lounges Coming to WeHo ~ But Who Is Getting Left Out?

Credit: Lord Jones Edible-Lounge.
Credit: Lord Jones Edible-Lounge.

Edibles in San Diego

[dropcap size=big]M[/dropcap]y first time was with an edible, in San Diego. As most encounters with edibles go, they took a while to kick in — longer than the advised hour. To make up for lost time, I decided, perhaps foolishly, to eat more. Still nothing. I called an Uber to grab dinner and things started to slow down. I remember the sensation felt something like when you chew spearmint gum and drink ice cold water, only on the top of my head like a crown of ice. Getting out of the Uber was a challenge because my legs felt like noodles and it was getting increasingly harder to concentrate on any one thing. I went to Crack Shack, the fried chicken joint. The crunch of the chicken felt like being reintroduced to fried chicken, the spice of the sandwich roared in my belly but I remained unfazed. After the meal, I heard the word “paranoid” and immediately turned to the family sitting beside me, thinking they were conspiring to kill me (not really). But the edibles worked their magic and I calmed down. I gave the family a side eye and called a ride home. The breeze hit my head again, only this time it activated memories of childhood. I rode home with a small trip down memory lane.

Too High

[dropcap size=big]S[/dropcap]omeone in my family grows the stuff, so my cousins are always stocked with pot. Ever see those memes about going on a walk with your cousins during family functions and coming back with red eyes? That speaks to me. Anyway, one time I visited my older cousin and she wanted to make weed brownies. We did. I didn’t know how much to eat. I saw my cousin (a hardened “party girl”) eat two of them, so I followed her lead. An hour later, the room started spinning. I felt like I couldn’t breath and I was having a BAD trip. I thought I was going to die. I waited for that horrible feeling to pass. I asked her to hold me so I could calm done. She said no. I woke up at 3 pm the next day still high.

First Edibles With Friends

[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]ne of my friends sold weed in undergrad, and being a resourceful young entrepreneur that she was, also made her own edibles. It was a chocolate chip cookie, of which I only ate half. She brought them to the house I was renting with three other people. I remember being way more chill and my legs started feeling like jelly. We went to Hollywood Video and rented Snoop Dogg’s Adventures of Tha Blue Carpet Treatment. I remember nothing from the video. I went to bed and didn’t wake up until noon the next day. I slept with my door locked and woke up to dozens of missed calls and texts from my friends asking if I was OK. Luckily, I had a nice brunch waiting for me.

College Graduation

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap] was sitting at my college graduation, looking back at all the last few years. I was a worried mess. I had avoided the “typical” college experience. I kept to myself, only spoke when I needed to, and avoided all activities. It was a perfect recipe for leaving college with no friends and no new connections. I had no idea what the future held. The girl who sat next to me during the ceremony was nice enough. She looked at me and asked if I wanted to take a hit of the pen they were passing around. This was my opportunity. I explained it was my first time. She walked me through it and warned me about coughing. I sat there as the school president talked about the wonderful opportunities in front of us. My cough cut into her pauses. I watched the smoke float above us. I don’t know what made me smile, but in that moment I felt a sigh of relief.

RELATED: Weed Is Finally Legal to Pack When Flying Out of LAX, But There’s a Catch

Photo by Lexis-Oliver Ray.

My Father, the Narc

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]s the child of a police officer and "undercover drug narc" for a local law enforcement agency, and someone growing up in the age of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign, I was too much of a good student and law-abiding citizen to even think of getting high in my teen or even college years. I didn’t try weed until I got to graduate school two time zones away in the Midwest. Even then, I waited until my 25th birthday. Some friends threw me a house party with plenty of sangria, beer, and bottles of spirits. I don’t remember if it was a joint or a bong rip, but my first attempts at inhaling were futile. A friend modeled for me, then I gave it another try. Ahhh. I was floating in the clouds and smiling a lot. The music sounded better and the food tasted awesome. My body felt loose and relaxed, and all my senses seemed heightened. The high was unlike any buzz or drunk feeling I’d get from my favorite libations. I fell in love with Mary Jane that night on my 25th birthday somewhere in the Midwest. "Wait til you try the weed in Cali," they told me. I couldn’t wait to get home.

First Date

[dropcap size=big]M[/dropcap]y memory comes during a first date with a woman I'd just met. The year is 2009; it’s taboo to be smoking outdoors still … kind of. We meet up in downtown, near the 7th Street Metro and it’s the middle of the workweek. My date sparks a blunt as we walk down 7th Street, in the thick of the lunchtime office crowds. This trips me out—how can we do this? We head to Clifton’s Cafeteria (before it was remodeled to be more nightclub-y). The food was a cloudy memory (probably for the best) but I’m pretty sure we ate some jello. We for sure tripped out on all the dark and dusty corners of Clifton’s, back then they seemed unlimited. We jumped onto the Red Line to check out the closed Hollyhock House. Laying in the grass, we lit the second blunt to the sun setting over Hollywood. It was funny how this woman and I met. I had been smoking, cycling, and pancaking with a homie at The Pantry at some dark morning hour when I bumped into her. I never saw her again after that day of high-sploration but it was one of the fondest and most memorable smokey L.A. days and I will forever be grateful for that trip.

RELATED: The History of Sativa vs Indica ~ Why Everything You've Smoked is Technically a Hybrid

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