Boomers Smelt It

Mister Boomer lives in one of the 21 states that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The purpose of this site is to inform and remind our boomer generation of how we fit into — and helped shape — the historical and cultural happenings of our boomer years. Under that umbrella, certainly marijuana, and all its social and legal implications, was a part of the boomer era.

Boomers knew it as weed, grass, pot, reefer, joints, mary jane, ganga, and a host of other semantic euphemisms. Be that as it may, the bee in Mister Boomer’s bonnet today is all about the terrible odor of today’s cannabis (the current cleaned-up naming of marijuana) as opposed to that of the stuff from the 1960s and ’70s. Let’s face it, weed stunk then — why else would kids have opened windows, sprayed air freshener and lit candles in an effort to hide their smoky transgressions? But, today’s smell is beyond awful.

Now, Mister B may have been accused of being a joker from time to time, but he was never a smoker or a midnight toker. So in full disclosure, he is coming at this situation as a non-user then and now. Still, as it turns out, his nose is correct; there are scientific studies to back up his observation that the smell emanating from anyone smoking today’s cannabis is much more odoriferous than that of the weed from the 1960s. This smell is directly related to the potency, according to Mister B’s research.

A study done in Colorado (the first state to legalize cannabis) discovered that the content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in today’s buds is up to three times more potent than what was present three to four decades ago, and the National Institute of Health seems to back up the numbers. Other studies have added that this increased potency is due to better control of the growing process combined with consumer demand for a Rocky-Mountain high, in Colorado and beyond. In the 1960s, the primary growing source of weed consumed in the U.S. was Colombia. Boomers will also recall Mexico as a source, or some recall home-grown or California sources. Today the crops are locally grown in the states in which it is sold, since technically, cannabis remains an illegal substance on a national level, and therefore cannot be legally shipped across state lines. The industry is now applying science and technology to cannabis growing and harvesting as it has with other consumer crops.

Meanwhile, back to the smell. Mister B lives in New York City. He has observed, on a daily basis, that there is no space safe from that smell. People walk down the street smoking joints, yes, but more often the younger set is vaping cannabis oil. Still, the smell is there. Enter a subway car or an elevator and it is immediately evident that one or more people have just had a few hits. Co-workers, store employees, on-the-street messengers, and especially people on their lunch hour, are now partaking freely without fear of arrest, and, evidently, without any concern for the smoke or smell in their wake.

Mister Boomer always had an aversion to smoke in any form — even the swirls wafting off a charcoal grill is not a tempting aroma to him. This frustrated some of his friends who had “fallen under the spell of the deadly scourge” of our youth. Consequently, he had friends who would try to tempt him with edible versions of their homemade brownies, but it was not in Mr. B’s wheelhouse. If that makes Mister B a real L-7, so be it, as long as the smoke does not enter Squaresville.

As a parent and/or grandparent, how do you feel about the odor of marijuana smoke in your home or business, boomers? Did you yourself partake then or now?