The NegusWhoRead Guide to Marijuana


By Michael Harriot

*Warning: NegusWhoRead neither condones nor supports the use of illegal substances.

Disclaimer: I don’t smoke weed, but–like White people get to say–“I experimented with marijuana in my youth.”

As  America’s attitude shifts towards marijuana, a number of states have initiated referendums that will allow the legal sale and consumption of weed. While this may seem like a superfluous issue, statistics show that the war on drugs disproportionately affects African-Americans . Although Whites and Blacks use marijuana at about the same rates, Black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession, and that still doesn’t account for how often people of color are detained for suspicion, or who lose scholarships, financial aid and jobs because of laws governing a substance that–unlike alcohol, prescription medication and even Tylenol–has never caused a fatal overdose.

Because it is undergoing a transformation in how the general public perceives it both medically and recreationally, there needs to be a conversation about the use and understanding of cannabis. There are tons of literature explaining the various aspects of marijuana usage, but few concentrate on the cultural differences between weed consumption in the Black community vs the White Community… Until now. As a service to the our subscribers, we now present to you the NegusWhoRead guide to Marijuana.

What is marijuana? Marijuana is a plant. That’s it. We could go into the scientific classification, the genus and species, but you don’t need to know all that. Unlike most other “drugs” like cocaine, heroin and Krispy Kreme donuts, you can pick it straight off the stem and consume it. It is impossible to say who first discovered its mind-altering qualities. Some people say it was the Aztecs, while others say it was the ancient Chinese. There are some, however, who believe that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden was a cannabis plant, which is why God told Adam not to eat of it. He was basically telling Adam was “don’t mess with my stash, dude.” Others argue that before Moses freed the children of Israel, he smoked a joint with his brother, hence the “burning bush.” What else would chill you out so much that you could walk up to a Pharaoh and tell him, “Ay, yo, man… Let my people go.”

What does a marijuana high feel like? Good. Gooder than a motherfucker. You feel like you can pop-lock. Like being in a tickle fight with Jesus, Beyoncé and Teddy Ruxpin. It feels like how the notes from John Coltrane’s saxophone sound.

You know that feeling when just had sex and the orgasm was mind-blowing, and you don’t have the AC on, but you open the window and a cool October wind blows in, and there is a glass of grape Kool-aid beside the bed and the ice has melted just a little bit, and you drink it and you realize there’s just a little bit of lemonade mixed in there, and then you turn on the TV and there’s an episode of  Good Times on that you have never seen before, and there you are–watching Thelma, drinking ice-cold, perfectly-sweetened Kool-Aid with a breeze on your titties?

That’s what marijuana feels like

How does one consume marijuana? There are two ways to ingest pot: Smoking it, or eating it. I’m sure some enterprising and adventurous white people have come up with other ways (like how they soak tampons in vodka and insert them into the bootyhole) but we are talking about the Black community. Let’s break down the two ways of consumption even further:

Eating marijuana – Making a marijuana edible is a long, painstaking process, and if there is not a store that sells edibles near you (and there’s probably not, because you’re black) you must be able to cook. You put pot in anything from brownies, to cookies to candy as an edible. As soon as it is legalized, I think Patti LaBelle should start making Patti desserts infused with Kush, because that is the only way I’d eat a sweet potato pie out of Wal-Mart. I’ve seen them and they are too light-skinnedededed (if I pulled a sweet potato pie out of a box at my house, I’m sure I’d hear the voices of the ancestors cussing me out. Rosa Parks didn’t sit on the back of the bus on the Underground Railroad so we could eat pies manufactured in a warehouse.)

Anyhow, although it takes a while for marijuana edibles to kick in (or so I’ve heard), but the effect lasts much longer than smoking, and you know Black people love getting our money’s worth. The only bad thing about edibles is that whenever weed is legalized across America, I bet some slick white people are going to start making cheap edibles with very little pot in them, so don’t buy the Great Value weed cookies, get Pillsbury.

Smoking Marijuana – Smoking is the most popular and easiest method of delivery of marijuana. There are countless ways to smoke the substance–bongs, hash, vaporizers, pipes, joints, blunts etc. It is also the most detectable. If you’ve ever seen someone whose eyes look the color of Roma tomatoes, it is not because they have Superman-like heat vision. They are probably high. Smoke also leaves an odor in the air and gets in your hair, your clothes and even the walls of the room. Still, the high is immediate, which is why it is preferred. Almost everyone you know has smoked marijuana at some point or another. It why your grandmother’s house always smelled like a weird incense when you stayed at her house. It’s why there were little packets of “Job 1.5” all around your uncle’s apartment. Its why your mother and father always had an ashtray full of half-burnt funny cigarettes in their bedroom. Since the early 90’s however, the Black community had a meeting and settled on one primary means of smoking marijuana:

The Blunt

The Blunt  A blunt is a cigar filled with marijuana buds.We could perhaps have an entire textbook about blunts, so we will only cover the basics. Although there are some who consume Blunts by themselves, or smoke in other ways, in a 1992 treaty, signed in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, the executive board of Black people voted that blunts would be the official method of sharing marijuana.

Rolling a blunt Rolling a blunt is a skill and an art form. If you can’t roll a blunt, practice alone. No one wants a novice trying to prepare the smoke for an entire group.The gathering of blunt-smoking is a semi-religious ceremony with rules, customs and tradition. It is a spiritual journey that takes time and patience. Once you smoke a blunt with someone, according to the Negro constitution, you are bound as friends.

  • Materials The preferred cigar for preparing a blunt varies by region and time. At its inception Phillies were the standard. Soon the Midwest switched to White Owls, the northeast US moved to Dutchmasters while the South and some parts of Florida preferred Swisher sweets. Whatever the case, it must be voted by a majority of the smoking body and seconded by the blunt-roller. Never ever use flavored blunt paper unless you are smoking by yourself or with someone under 25. Grown people do not buy strawberry Swishers. I want to get high, not eat a Pop Tart. I’ll do that later.
  • Preparing the blunt Splitting the blunt is the simplest part of the exercise. Some people use a knife while others use a razor. You can spot a veteran blunt-roller even when they are not smoking because the fingernail on their thumb is usually a little longer, which is what they use to split the blunt. If they are in the top 10% of blunt-rollers, they also remove the “cancer paper” (a small leaf of paper between the outer an inner layer of most cigars) . No one has a definitive answer on what is in the “cancer paper” or why it is in every blunt, but it is generally agreed upon by 3 out of 5 ghetto doctors that it will give you cancer. The other two doctors pretended they didn’t smoke blunts. Pretended.
  • Filling the Blunt Once the blunt is split, you must fill it with marijuana. Some jurisdictions mandate that the weed be crumbled up to a fine granular consistency, while others simply put the entire bud into the cigar. This depends on a complex algorithm that weighs how much marijuana there is, and how high you want to get. Whatever the case, like all other weed-related items, there will always be one person in the cipher who tells the roller to put a little more pot into the blunt. Invariably, that person did not put in on the weed.
  • Wrapping the blunt This is the most difficult part of the operation, and requires skill and experience. Each person has their own method. Some people are potlickers and prefer that everything be moist and malleable (don’t worry, potlickers use a lighter to dry and sterilize the blunt, like a frontier doctor). Other blunt artisans only use spit to meld the two sides of the open blunt. The tricky part is knowing the relative tensile tightness of the blunt you are rolling. Too tight and you won’t get a good pull. Too loose and it will feel like you are inhaling a bonfire. This is the skill of blunt-rolling.
  • Finalizing the blunt I bet you thought it was ready to smoke, huh? Not yet, you silly negro. First you must finalize the blunt. You must repair any tears from sticks or stems inside that pushed through the wrapper. Like a medieval surgeon, you must patch the holes with other parts of the blunt. Some people will even use the cancer paper to patch the blunt (somehow, this is ok. Don’t ask). Then the roller must thump the blunt with their fingers. I don’t know why, but this is mandated in the official handbook. Now you can smoke it.
  • Smoking the blunt The person who rolls the blunt gets to light it, unless they don’t smoke marijuana (Yes, there is a group of people who are excellent, Hall-of-fame blunt-rollers who don’t smoke weed. No, that’s not weird. I’m sure there are bartenders who don’t drink). According to the manual, the blunt then passes to the right of the cypher. Never break the cypher. Never babysit the blunt (hold it too long while you are talking to someone) and the standard, unspoken rule is, you get two pulls, and then you have to pass it. Don’t be a glutton. I’m asking nicely. No one is gonna fight you, because people who smoke weed don’t often fight. Fighting is for alcohol.

Kinds of Marijuana The names for different strains of marijuana vary greatly. Again, it is largely by region. In California, they categorize it by the strain, potency and effects. In the south and the midwest, there are two kinds of weed–Mid (regular strength) and Loud(Extra strength). In the northeast, it is all about marketing. The weed man often names his product after pop culture things, how it makes you feel or how treacherous it is. If you buy some Ryan Lochte, it might make you piss on everything and forget what happened that night. On the other hand if you get some Rhianna you’ll feel like singing all night (even if you can’t sing) and you’ll probably like Drake’s music. Whatever you do, don’t smoke the Donald Trump. That has PCP in it.

Uses for marijuana There are peer-reviewed, scientific studies that show pot helps with muscle and joint pain, anxiety, pain tolerance, nausea, insomnia, chemotherapy effects and many other things. No one ever mentions the best and greatest use of marijuana:

Marijuana makes you happy.

With no side effects. There is no hangover the next morning. You can’t overdose, it’s cheaper than alcohol and longer lasting than an orgasm.

Seriously, though–I have a friend who is undergoing cancer treatment about to embark on her second round of chemotherapy on Monday.

I have a friend with Crohn’s disease who lost 40 pound in the last year because she can’t absorb enough nutrients even when she can eat.

I have a friend newly married who has anxiety attacks who is trying his fourth different medication because he and his wife want to have a child, but he can’t find an SSRI that doesn’t make him impotent.

If marijuana was legal it would help all of them tremendously. If you’re reading this in a state that has medical (or even recreational) marijuana on the ballot this election, don’t be stupid. There is no valid argument against making marijuana illegal except to help pharmaceutical companies, private prisons prolong the racist drug war. I’m not even a marijuana activist.

I just like Black people


About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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