In honor of the hundredth anniversary of Women’s Day, I present the top eleven women I think who’ve made a difference, cannabis-speaking, in my life.
11. Queen Victoria. If you are of a certain age, she is the first famous pot smoker that we heard of in the Sixties. Because she used cannabis for her majestic cramps, she also was the first internationally known Medical Marijuana patient that made the papers. England may be getting a new king soon, but Queen Vicky will always be the royal ‘oui’ to me.
10. Alice B. Toklas. In 1954, this cultural icon released her memoirs/ cookbook, appropriately called, ‘The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook.’ In this radical book, Alice cooked up some magic brownies and cookies (actually a hashish fudge but nobody ever gets it right) introducing the world’s first commercial edibles. These tasty little treats would later get mixed up with Mom’s regular cookies, periodically sending some Northern Californian grade school kids to the nurse’s office for an afternoon of heavy meditation and wondering if their hands are going to stay attached.
9. MaryAnn from Gilligan’s Island. For some of us, Ginger was too high maintenance (she had more baggage than the Howell’s) and MaryAnn seemed like the cool one. After Dawn Wells was busted for pot in 2007, America learned the girl-next-door on the island was more like the girl-next-door more than we thought. She was the one maintaining to get high.
8. Barbra Streisand. In 1970, when weed was a felony to even think about it, when Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack men drank and caroused from the stage nightly in Vegas, the Divine Ms. S was miffed. If they could party from the stage, why couldn’t she? During one of her shows, Babs lit up, smoked a joint right there in the main room, saying it and I’m paraphrasing, “it smoked like butter.” Later on rock and Motown groups would turn-on Barbra to the newest grass available forming a road-bond that few in the public ever knew about.
7. Hillary Clinton. On July 22, 2007, the Hills come out for Medical Marijuana, supporting America's second largest cancer charity, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. At the time, the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton called for an end to federal raids in states where medical use of marijuana is legal, while John McCain backtracked on an earlier promise to end the raids.
6. Margaret Mead. Like Carl Sagan, another very smart person who enjoyed banging the gong and was able to make it to work, whether in the lab or to the islands. The anthropologist who became an avid smoker after contracting a disease and use the boo medicinally, at first. She later testified before congress to legalize the stuff because of the relief she received from smoking the weed. Congress said no deal but gave her the Medal of Freedom after she passed on to her special isle in the sky in 1978.
5. Blues singer, Bessie Smith. The Queen of the Blues maybe a no-brainer but while others like Ella sang about pot and the vipers, Ms. Smith belted out hep tones and lived a life that only comes from hanging around the blue smoke.
4. The Hollywood Girlz. Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, Natalie Portman, etc… these confirmed Hollyweed A-listed hotties could probably change the course of the world if they announced they would only date potheads.
3. Valerie Corral. If you have a medical marijuana card in your purse or wallet, you should thank Valerie and Mike Corral. In 1973 in a car accident with a small plane, (you figure out whose fault it was,) Valerie was left in pain and suffering seizures and convulsions. The prescription drugs of the time left her daze and did nothing to treat her symptoms or give her any kind of relief that didn’t interfere with her quality of life. In other words, the drugs the doctors gave her left her a zombie without fixing anything. Valerie was an instrumental in writing Proposition 215 and her work has been published in medical journals across the U.S.
2. Lady Buttercup. Lady Buttercup is one of my original heroes and one of the first women to deal lids on the West Coast. She started dealing in 1971 in the Haight Ashbury when the bizness was pretty much male dominated. Now in her seventies, she still sees customers and has some regulars that are older than her. In San Francisco, we forget that there are still those stay-at-home dealers that continue to ply their trade. If it wasn’t for the pioneers like Lady Buttercup who has been providing righteous bud for the forty years, we’d still be drinking cheap red wine before concerts. When I asked the Lady why and how she got into dealing she responded, “At the end of the Sixties, women were becoming lawyers and doctors. So I thought, why not? Plus, I thought women were nicer than men. When I started there were no other women doing it. A bunch of us [women] decided that the world needed our energy to balance out the guys who running things.”
1. My friend, Deb. Not her real name, but don’t we all have a Deb, not a Debbie or Debra, but a Deb or even a Debbie-kins. Who at a party or funeral will come up to you and ask if you’re holding without apologies or a hint of “What?” That fun chick you’ve known since high school who doesn’t bust your balls even when you call her a chick because you’re buds- in all senses of the word. That sacred person over the years who is your smoking pal and bestest ganja buddy ever. The Gal Pal every guy should have that helps them with their wardrobe and then complains that your joints are pregnant. That person you can always count on to take a walk with you, no wink required. That person who reminds you that joint of Santa Marta Red that we smoked in ’75 before the Springsteen concert was maybe the best joint ever. Or maybe it was the Acapulco Gold before the Homecoming game in eleventh grade. Or maybe it was that doob in the parking lot in her Dad’s old Dodge before…
To all the women in my life, who have either got me high or made me, get higher in one form or another, I thank you.
Dinner’s on me tonight.