Magazine writer and novelist Mike Sager has smoked weed in a staggering, strange variety of places: at 14,000 feet in the Nepalese Himalayas and on the beach of Marlon Brando’s private island with a topless Tahitian translator, to name just a few locales. He’s smoked with the likes of Snoop Dogg (who coughed when sampling Sager’s preferred strain), Rick James (who, for the record, never actually said “I’m Rick James, bitch”), Roseanne Barr and “Freeway” Rick Ross—the real drug trafficker, not the rapper. These and other stories are part of Sager’s collection, Stoned Again: The High Times and Strange Life of a Drugs Correspondent. The stories contained within are often humorous, sometimes sad and always compelling. Sager’s poignant prose erases the boundaries between celebrities, homeless people, drug addicts and others to uncover a central truth that may as well be his reporting mantra: People are just people, after all, and “if you can share your spit on a joint, the possibilities seem endless, wouldn’t you agree?”
There are few things more annoying than weed culture. When it comes to movies, the only thing that could get me excited about stoner culture is to throw some horror into the mix, and that’s what Halloweed (streaming on Netflix) attempts to do. Don’t get me wrong: Halloweed is not a great movie. In fact, it’s not even a good movie, but there is a certain charm in how bad it is. The basic plot of Halloweed involves two stoner step-brothers who move to a small town to escape the stigma of being related to a convicted serial killer. However, after a baby-masked killer starts murdering people (one hour into the film!), the brothers become prime suspects. (Wow, typing that out makes the movie sound like it has a plot!). This movie’s pretty much a string of gay-panic jokes and a lot of D-list actor cameos, including Jason Mewes (natch), Danny Trejo and Ray Wise. But I wasn’t high when I watched this, so that’s just, like, my opinion, man.
I rarely get high. A reliable whiskey buzz is a tried-and-true state of mind that I don’t mess with often. If I do plan on mixing, it would be with art and storytelling—visual trips like Gail Simone’s new comic book series, Clean Room. To start with, all of the covers by artist Jenny Frison are beautiful, panic-inducing pieces. Even in a non-altered state, I was staring too long. Clean Room follows journalist Chloe Pierce on her mission to know everything about Astrid Mueller and her organization. Mueller is a self-help cult leader who invites her devotees into a sterile, white room to have their demons exorcised. These demons (guilt, shame and fear), however, turn out to be literal monsters, and it’s horrifying and magnificent when they materialize thanks to artist Jon Davis-Hunt. Who knew I’d be addicted to a series full of suppressed memories, body invasion and gore? Not me, but I’ll continue to consume.
There’s something about doom metal that lends itself well to listening in altered states of consciousness. Perhaps it’s the all-encompassing sound of low-tuned riffs and the massive distortion, which often feels like being draped in opaque clouds of smoke. Or perhaps it’s the extended duration of the tracks, which unfold and extend seemingly into infinity. Pallbearer’s third album Heartless (Profound Lore) contains some of the most concise and immediate tracks of their career, but they’re also some of the Little Rock, Arkansas band’s most progressive, using the aesthetic of doom metal as a vessel for classic rock and prog-influenced compositions that are constantly shifting, always extending and reaching farther along on an epic journey. Heartless features some of the band’s best and most melodic songs, which means that an airbrushed custom van and a backpack full of Pineapple Express isn’t necessary to enjoy their riff odysseys. But that option is available should the listener prefer an enhanced musical journey.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big comic book dork, but my relationship with movies and film based on my favorite comics has been spotty at best. Most comic book films are formulaic garbage and TV adaptations are even worse. I honestly shake my head when thinking about what Netflix did to my beloved Daredevil and Jessica Jones #DumpsterFire. In the end, I prefer an innovative vision and that’s what makes Legion so damn good. Based on a somewhat obscure character in the X-Men universe, the FX show revolves around David Haller, a diagnosed schizophrenic who could be the world’s most powerful telepathic mutant if only he could lay off drugs and escape his demons. While the show is not technically based in the same cinematic universe as the X-Men films, series creator Noah Hawley (Fargo) has managed to create a truly original vision that doesn’t rely solely on non-stop action and one-liners. It’s the type of comic book show that even non-comic fans could appreciate, complete with psychedelic dream sequences, random Bollywood dance numbers, a killer soundtrack and an excellent supporting role from Aubrey Plaza.
The last time I dated a guy who was a stoner, he had recently decided to quit smoking. This meant that all he ever talked about was his decision to quit. After the relationship ended, I realized that it’s hard to be a stoner and date someone who isn’t and vice versa. So, for weed enthusiasts who only prefer to date people with the same passion for cannabis, the mobile application High There! is like Tinder for cannabis lovers. The social network works like Tinder, but it also considers the preferred method of smoking, stoney interests and the type of relationship the user is seeking, whether it’s smoking buds or a budding relationship. The application allows the user to scroll through people in the area, and a Hey There! button sends a request to chat. Bonus: Unlike Tinder, the application also allows the user to scroll back to someone they might have accidentally scrolled past. In all its thoroughness, the dating app provides an opportunity for weed lovers to connect.