A Tale of Cannabis Then & Now

Let’s take a little field trip, to the not so distant past, back when cannabis had seeds. It wasn’t just a seed here and there. No you could start a cultivation with the seeds you got in a quarter oz sack.This is back when a vast majority of cannabis came from Mexico. To put it mildly, we were lucky if mold was the only problem. 

Smuggling cannabis across the border was like a Cheech and Chong movie. Cartels found any way possible to get their product across the border. This normally consisted of “brick weed.” Since cartels saw cannabis as a crop, there was not much love given to the plants. Instead, it was buds (nothing like today’s standard) compressed together into a brick. Now, here comes the tricky part; the brick was normally wrapped in plastic wrap to minimize the odor. Furthermore, to limit smell, the bricks were often sprayed with ammonia or wrapped in dryer sheets.

This made shopping a pain in the ass. If you didn’t like what your dealer had, you could go to another one, but the chance of getting anything better was slim. It’s not like you have an app with dispensaries and deals. Hell, you didn’t even have a cellphone. And of course, there was no calling your hook up and complaining. They were in the same boat as you. Maybe they did get first pick, but they earned it. After all debricking was a time consuming mess much like trimming is today. 

Spending $20 to $30 on the steep end for a quarter was misleading to say the least. Sometimes the buds were so drenched with ammonia, you could use it in place of Windex to clean your windows. The “Bounce buds,” as I liked to call it, was named after the dryer sheets. One bud would taste totally normal; the next would taste like a linen fresh dryer sheet.

Summer was a god-awful mess, thus coining the term “summer time swag” or just “swag.” During the summer sources would almost completely dry up; those are the times when $20 got you buds with tree trunks for stems riddled with hundreds of seeds.

However, on the other end of that was “Christmas buds.” These little dudes stuck to the wall, socks, hair, still full of seeds and with enough stems to brew tea. It’s amazing it’s really considered cannabis; it was really more in the gray area leaning towards hemp.

Nevertheless, we smoked it. Hell, we’d walk 5 miles in the blazing heat to score, and this is how it was for decades…. Until……

The change happened. Suddenly, this new trend was taking over. “Kind bud,” that’s what we called it. Yes, I know there are other terms. But it’s my story! When this new kind bud arrived on scene, it almost always came from Cali. There weren’t strain names and yes, it was insanely more expensive, but there was love put into it. You could tell the person who grew it took pride in it. It wasn’t just seen as a crop. This is when merch/reggies became the name for all brick weed which started phasing out; kind bud slowly took over.

So the next time the dispensary messes up on your Leafly express order, or they sell out of the BOGO before you place your order, remember the generations before you. You want a better look? Go Google 1970s through early 1990s High Times’ covers. Yes, I know some bottom tier buds don’t leave much room to brag, but we still have come pretty far!!

Posted in

Allison Stein