I remember buying nickel bags and dime bags of weed when I was in High School, because I was not able to scrape up $40 to buy a whole ounce, which was also called a lid back then. A nickel bag was less than an eighth of an ounce and it only cost $5, but it was usually loaded with sticks and seeds, which you can’t smoke, well at least I didn’t. An ounce of pot was also called a four-finger bag, as people would hold up the bag and judge the amount in it by placing their fingers next to the bag to see how tall it was compared to your fingers and if it didn’t measure up to four-fingers, then you were shorted. No one actually weighed the pot that they bought, it was all done by eye. A kilo of pot, later called a key came in a brick, marijuana that was packed tightly together for smuggling purposes, and before my time, pot was measured out and sold in Prince Albert tobacco cans that had a lid on them and the lid became an ounce. After I got out of High School, I had a much better connection, who had really good stuff and I bought in greater quantiles then, like quarter pounds and pounds of weed.
My friend lived in Greenwich Village and he knew this guy who was a writer for High Times Magazine, so he had to write reviews on all different types of pot. In order to write about it, he had to try it and he had all different types of cannabis and sativa, which he gave to my friend to sell. Most of the marijuana was green, but he had black, red, orange, purple, yellow and gold and a lot of them had names like Skunk, Kush, Wacky weed and he also had Thai Stick every now and then. I had my own scale, so I could break down the pounds into ounces, but my particular skill was being able to roll the perfect joint. When we went to my friend’s apartment in Greenwich Village, he would always hand me a bag of weed, like an ounce and tell me to roll it up. I could get 50 nice size joints out of an ounce, so this was an all-night effort for me.
First you have to clean the weed, which means getting rid of all of the sticks and seeds, so the joint will burn properly. You need the right touch for this and many armatures would grind the weed into powder, which would make the joint snake down one side, so you need to be careful when you are breaking up the buds. You have to crush them gently between your fingers and I would pull the buds apart, which leaves you fingers very sticky, that is if it is good weed loaded with resin. This may be where the Rolling Stones got that name for their 1971 album, but with that working zipper on the cover, it probably has a sexual meaning. It is an art form tearing buds into the right size pieces, so that they maintain a certain consistency, (small enough to be rolled without ripping the paper and not ground down into powder) and this only comes with practice and patience. I am a two-handed steam roller, so I need a surface to roll a joint on, although some people can do this with just one hand and no surface, which always amazed me. Back in the day, I guess I was pretty much of a wild child, but somehow, I managed to live beyond the age of 27.
Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is lid.