My 70-year-old aunt smokes and eats more weed than anyone I know. Naturally, I wanted to see how she feels about it all …

My 70-year-old aunt smokes and eats more weed than anyone I know. That in itself makes her pretty interesting, but she's also been smoking for almost 50 years, which means she's lived through a significant portion of weed's evolution from devil drug to medicinal wonder. She's seen it transition from weak-ass grass to maximum potency. She's also witnessed legalization — something she never thought would happen when she started toking up in 1968. Naturally, I wanted to see how she feels about it all.

So I called her up at her home in Washington and asked her what it's like to see legalization through her surprisingly un-cataracted eyes. She also told me what it was like when she first started smoking half a century ago, how weed changed the socio-political landscape of America and about that one time she almost got arrest for blowing weed in a cop's face. I mean, the woman is like Cheech and Chong with a vagina; she's insane.

When did you start smoking weed?
February of 1968. I was 23.

How did you get it?
It was so hard. Everyone knew dealers and people's friends would grow it every now and then, but it was fuckin' impossible most of the time. At one point, I said 'Fuck it' and saved all the seeds from my leftover shit weed. I planted one seed each in a coke can, and had over 100 coke cans just lining my house that I'd pick the weed from. Of course you could get it from bands and musicians. I actually bought some from Donovan when I was 25 or something.

What was your first time like?
My friend invited my boyfriend and I over for dinner and told me there was some cigarette papers and this new marijuana stuff in the bathroom behind the shower curtain, and every time I went in the bathroom, I should smoke it, so I did. But I didn't get high! I went out and asked her for some to take home so I could practice, and for a year, I practiced and didn't get high. I think I thought it was like alcohol, where you take a few sips and you're a different person or something. Also we were smoking shit weed, total grass.

What was the general attitude about it at the time?
Oh my god, it was so underground. It was so secretive. I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to smoke with me, and he got so mad. 'No mother of my children will ever smoke that shit!' And he was a hippie. Of course he smoked more than any one later on … he opened a fucking plant and pie store.

How did you smoke it?
When I was growing up, my dear, no one ever even heard of pot and I didn’t smoke by first bathtub joint until I was 23 years old. But when they came around, they were rolling joints and blunts. Some people had bongs.

Were there actual stoners back then, or were people too iffy about it to smoke that often?
Oh, yeah. There were people that wouldn’t even get off your floor.

What would you do while you were smoking?
Oh my god, the dancing and the laughing … you wouldn't believe it. We'd sit and smoke at parties, and they were so much fun because no one knew how to be high. We'd all just come from the fifties, with everyone trying to wear the right pillbox hat and matching gloves and shit, and pot made everyone the opposite of that. It was so liberating, I can't even tell you. We'd dance around with our shirts off and just scream laughing. We'd go to shows … listen to music. Same shit as you do now. Of course I'd go to work stoned as fuck too.

How much did it cost?
A fuckin' dollar or something. I don’t really remember. It was never that expensive unless you knew you were buying really good shit.

Were people making edibles and shatter and wax and stuff?
Never, are you kidding? The best we could do was put some twigs and leaves in some hot water and call it tea. That was our extra edibles. Sometimes people had hash and it was exotic, but otherwise, there was none of that shit.

When did people's attitudes toward weed start changing?
There wasn't an exact moment, but it was such a fuckin' normal thing with bands. Everyone who touched a musical instrument was high. So when they started to get famous, and were all stoned as shit on camera and on stage, people started to think it was cool. And they started to do it more. And the younger generations, which I was all over, started to use it more and more. It's not so much that people's attitudes started changing, it's that it became popular because of music and it got widespread. Gradually, people were cool with it. It became mainstream.

A lot of people in your age group are the ones pushing legalization efforts through, and signing laws into effect. Do you think that has anything to do with growing up during the '60s and '70s when attitudes towards it were changing?
Totally. The people in charge now are the same people I was falling over laughing with back then. They’ve been hiding their support for weed for a while to get ahead and maintain credibility, but the lawmakers who grew up in my generation grew up having weed really affect culture. It opened up people’s minds so much. It made you so self-reflective. If you never thought about your own existence, you definitely started to when you started smoking. That’s why people got so protest-y in the '60s and '70s with things like Vietnam and Watergate. Nothing had ever made anyone think so much before, and it was so refreshing coming from an era like the '50s where everyone was a goody-two-shoes and thought whatever the government told them to think. So that’s where today’s lawmakers are coming from. They haven’t shown that side of themselves for obvious reasons, but they grew up in that mindset, even if they themselves weren’t the biggest stoners.

Well, if weed makes people so self-reflective and ruminative, why aren’t today’s youth as motivated to enact change as they were when you were growing up?
People are used to it now. And people are so much more self-absorbed. Because of the Internet, the fucking computers, the fucking TV, all the Hollywood media bullshit, people’s self reflection comes in the form of them looking at themselves, not society. Kids smoke weed and realize they should be DJs, not protest all the shit wars we’re in or fight for the environment. They have grandiose realizations that the should get new fuckin’ iPhones, not a new society.

Do you think weed has lost its power for social change?
Not entirely. I think it’s still capable of making people think in the right direction, it’s just a matter of what people do with that. Next time you get high, think about bigger shit. Then take off your pants and run down the street.

What's smoking weed like you these days?
I use pot just as much as I did then. It’s a total part of my day. It’s just more out in the open now. You can talk freely about it. You can opinions about it.

How often do you smoke/ eat it today?
I eat a brownie every night, and I smoke when I need to.

Did you ever think legalization would happen in your lifetime?
Not when I was younger. It was so underground. That’s like me asking you if you ever thought heroin would be legal. But as the years go by, and you see people’s attitudes changing, you start to develop hope, which turns into legitimate interests, which turn into socio-political movements. Twenty-year-old me would have dropped right on the floor if you told me weed was legal, but 70-year-old me is just like 'Fuck, it’s about time.'

What's your opinion on legalization?
I think it’s fucking awesome. It blows my mind. But it’s not where it needs to be.

How so?  What’s it like for you to live somewhere with legal weed?
Fuck, it’s not even a thing here. They didn't even tell us it was an an issue on the ballot until five months before they legalized it. It was illegal, then suddenly it was legal, and no one made a stink about it. In Colorado, they took that shit and made a business out of it. Everyone got on the bandwagon, and it seems like everyone knew about it and was invested in it before it happened. In Washington, they made barely any press of it, so weed is legal, but no one’s doing anything about it.

Do you wish you lived somewhere like Colorado, where weed isn’t only easier to access, but it’s part of the culture?
Well, yeah. It sounds like a fucking utopia. But my entire life, I’ve lived without recreational weed. I know how to get it on the black market, and so I don’t care. It doesn’t affect me.

Even though weed is legal, you still get it on the black market, right?
Yeah, I get it from some person that just grows it in their yard. I’d maybe go to a dispensary if Washington actually had any that worked, but it’s always cheaper on the black market.

How do you think legalization is affecting the black market?
There will always be a black market. It hasn’t affected anything at all. I would think that prices would go down because of competition though. Plus, it’s just so much easier to buy your shit from your friends who live down the street. You don’t have to pay taxes, they grow it in small batches, they give you samples, and you don’t have to deal with any bullshit. It’s so worth it to have a close friendship with a dealer.

Is the weed now more potent?
Now you can dust your fingers across a bud, lick your fingers, and be as high as you’d be if you smoked 10 joints in those days. You had to smoke so much of it. It didn’t get really potent until the '70s. We were just smoking weed we thought was strong. But today, it’s spectacular. You shouldn’t have to put a half hour’s worth of stuff in your body when you can take one second and be that high.

When you do smoke now, how do you do it?
One hitters. Or vape pens. Vape pens are the shit. They’ve been around for what, like a year?  Those things are so crazy to me; the fact you can smoke vapor and not fuck up your lungs. And you can carry it around in your goddamn bra and smoke wherever you want.

Do you feel like today, you’re living in some sort of vision of the future when it comes to pot? What’s it like for someone like to observe today’s landscape?
Well, I have to think of it as observing the landscape from a 20-year-old’s perspective and then a 70-year-old’s. There was all this change in between, and each decade, I had a different view on it.  Your 20s stoning was hysterical. Your 30s are a little more mature. Your 40s are like, 'Oh my god, I have to hide this shit, I’m gonna be 50 soon.' Your 50s you get used to it and don’t give a  shit, and your 60s, all of a sudden that shit is legal. So how I even say what my vision of it is? It’s just changed with the decade. But now that I can sit out on my front deck and smoke pot, I can’t even believe that. I never thought I could just blow smoke in my neighbor’s faces.

What's your best weed story?
There are so many. But my favorite has to be when my friend Lynn and I were living Chicago and we decided to go see a movie by my house. So we maybe smoked like 16 joints or something, who knows. We were so fucking high. We put on our sunglasses to hide our eyes, and we were walking around a corner when a fucking copper pulls up next to us and goes, 'Get over here.' And Lynn goes, 'Why, were we speeding?' (laughs ferociously.) And the cop says, 'Take your damn glasses off,' and we figured he wanted to check our eyes … and he proceeded to torture us and eventually he just left but … oh my god why would she say that? It was the funniest goddamn thing.

Weren't you just arrested for smoking weed?
Oh my god … My friends Joan and Nancy (Joan is a college professor and Nancy is an ex-nun) booked a hotel room downtown in Seattle on the Fourth of July so we could just lay in our room and get fuckin’ high and watch fireworks. But as soon as we get there, there’s a big fuckin’ non-smoking sign on our door; turned out it was a non-smoking hotel. The hotel was like don’t even think about smoking here. So we’re like shit, what do we do? We go downstairs and start drinking because it’s the Fourth of July, and we’re across the street from a park. We figure once we’re good and drunk, we’ll go lay on the grass in the park and smoke our weed. That’s the first thing you have to know. We were fucking drunk. The second thing you have to know, is we couldn’t walk the two feet across the street to the park, because we were fucking drunk. All of a sudden a boy, a skinny, tiny Puerto Rican boy, comes riding by on a rickshaw. Joan doesn’t even think twice, she just flags him down and goes, 'Can you take us to the party?' He’s like 'Sure, misses,' and we all climb in. Now, this rickshaw is a two seater. There are three of us. This kid weighs 30 pounds. We each weigh 200. So we are jammed into this rickshaw, just heaving and drunk screaming. This kid can’t get any speed, so we have to walk the thing over to a hill so he can get some momentum. But when we get to the park, it’s closed. Blocked off or something. So the kid goes, 'I know of a place we can go.' So this little motherfucker takes us to a trolly stop under the Space Needle in the middle of five thousand people. He took us to the most populated place in the entire city. So I’m like 'Fuck it, we traveled a whole block to get here, let’s just do this thing.' So Nancy lights up and takes a huge hit in the middle of this crowd, and as she’s exhaling, the kid goes, 'Oh, look a policeman.' There’s just enough time for Nancy to swivel around and look where he’s pointing, and by the time she does, she’s exhaled right in this cop’s face. Two more cops come, they take down all our information, screaming at us, 'You can’t do this shit here, this is the Fourth of July. How old are you women? What are you doing this for? You can’t get high in the middle of the street in front of four million people.' They lectured us forever, and then pissed off. It was the greatest thing that ever happened.

Do you think sex is better on weed?
Honey, everything is better on weed.