Reefer Madness: The $1000 High
June 22, 1993
If swapping one’s spouse for a million green borders on indecency, what about smoking $1000 pot?
The latter question is no longer hypothetical. Owing to the success of the Reagan-Bush crackdown, marijuana prices in New York City have doubled and tripled in recent years, with top-end product selling routinely for $500 an ounce, and up. The price can rise to four figures when the demand for designer weed converges with the scarce supply of something like Khyber Bush, an unusually potent and pleasing hybrid of Mexican sativa and Afghani indica.
The concept of platinum-card cannabis offends Pete Gorman, a 42-year-old senior editor at High Times. “Yes, federal forfeiture laws have driven out small growers and replaced them with semi-professionals who demand professional prices,” Gorman said over the telephone. “But the best stuff — I mean the best Humboldt, the best Thai — is still $350 an ounce. The rest is just taking rubes for more money. It’s just a plant; it takes light and water. Would you pay $1000 for dandelions? I’m an old hippie. I won’t buy their sneakers and I won’t buy their dope.”
Ethics aside, what is it like to inhale $1000 dope? This writer was able to obtain a sample of Khyber Bush (dense, purple-streaked, green-gold buds dripping with crystals and smelling like thyme) and recruit a jury of impeccably resinated testers with known ties to an alternative weekly newspaper. All but one considered the Khyber of serious McCartney quality. “It was like getting stoned for the first time,” remarked a female head in her thirties. ‘”A third-eye opener,” asserted a veteran male herbalist. Here are their tales from the Khyber Zone.
Female Head: She was an ex-grower and dealer to media celebrities in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when even the most exotic strains cost between $300 and $400 an ounce. “This is textbook pot,” she observed. “I have never smoked more intense stuff or seen buds so thick. The genetic engineering is obvious. The only thing comparable came from plants I tended myself. After two hits, I was extremely, pleasantly ripped. My desire was for food and wine rather than sex. It reminded me of when I was young and naive. I had the same purity of response, but without the teenage silliness. However, tolerance built up quickly.”
Male Herbalist: Upon three measured puffs, he felt an unprecedented craving for food and sex, in that order. As he wondered how to satisfy his monstrous appetites, an estranged girlfriend telephoned and insisted on a housecall. “Before I gave her a new G Spot,” he reminisced, “I stopped by a landmark deli and ate a hot pastrami sandwich with a side order of onion rings followed by a slice of cherry cheesecake, something I have not consumed in such perverse combination in years. Although I have ingested native flora on Maui and Jamaica, this is the most splendid grass ever, a veritable octopus’s garden.”
The lone dissenter on the jury was a Hibernian hempster with gourmet tastes and Gore-Tex lungs. “The absolute best weed in memory was Nepalese buds that sold for around $400 in 1986,” he said. “This is trippy, a little speedy and certainly mightier than cheaper products available, but it’s vastly overpriced. Anybody who charges $1000 for marijuana is a war criminal.”
Pete Gorman, an idealist when it comes to THC, goes farther. “Marijuana is almost completely in the mind,” he argued. “The other night I smoked 25 joints on a bet, but two tokes in the afternoon gets me no higher. I still believe that one joint of anything can make any five people stoned.” Of course, the biggest disadvantage of costly marijuana is the tolerance time bomb. “If you smoke one or two joints a day for three days, you’re no longer smoking $1000 dope,” Gorman insisted. “Since you lose the effect so quickly, you might as well return to the cheaper stuff.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 21, 2020