Tag Archives: weed

Puff Puff Pass

Main Piece: 

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant and the interviewer.

Interviewer: So you’re an avid weed smoker, right?

Informant: oh yeah, I’ve been smoking basically everyday since highschool. 

Interviewer: Dope, dope my guy… So I know there’s a lot of stoner-specific terms which are thrown around when people are smoking together, do you have any idea what some of these would be?

Informant: Yeah definitely, for starters, a lot of my friends call weed “kush” or “bud” amongst a bunch of other things haha… and everyone knows the whole 4:20 hype, but I’d say the biggest one by far is “puff puff pass”. 

Interviewer: and what does “Puff Puff Pass” Actually mean?

Informant: It’s basically when you’re smoking a joint or something and you’re supposed to only take two puffs before you pass it to the next person in the rotation. It’s mostly a respect thing just so everyone’s getting their fair share of bud and all that. 


My informant is from Minnesota, growing up with a mix of liberal and conservative friends. His parents were both born in America, however, have more republican views than my informant’s more liberal views. Even though he lived in Minnesota, weed is still very prevalent amongst the youth there. He moved to California for college and his smoking habits have stayed more or less the same. 


I think it’s interesting how stoner culture is generally looked at in a negative light, with people saying they’re lazy or disrespectful, while in reality, they have countless sayings and proverbs enforcing moral “rules” on how to be the best smoke buddy. I also found it interesting that stoner culture’s around the world use the phrase “puff puff pass” even though most of the other slang that people use tends to  vary a lot between places and age groups. 

The legend of 420

Main Piece: 

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant and the interviewer.

Interviewer: So you smoke weed, right?

Informant: oh fuckin’ boy do I haha

Interviewer: and what’s your favorite part about it?

Informant: I mean, what’s not to like? Good times with good people, there’s not much else I’d ask for. 

Interviewer: And you’ve obviously heard of 420, right?

Informant: I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet knows about 420 man…

Interview: haha yeah you’re probably right, but do you know the significance behind the number 420?

Informant: I’ve heard a couple different things… most people I talk to, though, say it used to be a police code or something… like if they got a call about some people smoking it would come up on the radio as a “Code 420” or some bullshit like that but I don’t know how much i believe that haha, I feel like it’s just an excuse to get baked if I’m being totally honest. 


My Informant is a 21 year old male who has lived in California for over 20 years. He smokes weed daily, as does his circle of friends. 


I spoke to my informant over a zoom call during the coronavirus epidemic. We initially had plans to meet in person, but we weren’t able to for obvious reasons. 


I think it’s funny that there’s so much hype behind the number “420” but no one really knows where the number came from. They all seem to have some idea of dissobeying the law, though, even though weed is now legal in an increasing number of US states.

Matthew McConaughey arrest story

Informant – “Have you heard the story of Matthew McConaughey’s arrest? It’s a local legend at this point. So McConaughey lives up in Westlake. And apparently, one night, he was making a lot of noise so his neighbors called the police. When the police arrived, they went around the back of the house and there was Matthew McConaughey, completely naked, smoking a joint and playing the bongo drums. Imagine being the officer to see that. McConaughey is living his best life.”

Informant – “I don’t know if it’s true. I think it is. I don’t know where I heard it from though. It’s like a famous story in Austin.”

I think the story is so popular because it humanizes an A-List celebrity. Here’s a critically acclaimed actor, someone we put on a pedestal, breaking social norms and restraints and generally acting ridiculous.

The Beatles Lighting Up with Bob Dylan

Folklore Piece:

“Uh, so the Beatles… This was around 1964 I believe. John Lennon and Paul had discovered a Bob Dylan record in 63 when they were in Paris, they thought it was amazing, and they really wanted to, well John in particular, really wanted to meet Bob. And they came to the US, John decided he wasn’t ready to meet Bob Dylan because he thought he had to be as ego equal. John Lennon didn’t think he was like up to bar to meet Bob Dylan. Finally, the Beatles had a little bit of success in 1964, if you know anything about the Beatles history, probably the biggest band in the world. Finally, they decide to meet Bob Dylan at this hotel, I forget the name, in New York City. And The Beatles are in there waiting with their posse. There were several rooms that Bob had to get through, like media and things, but he finally gets through and The Beatles had some wine, like some really nice wine, and they offer it to Bob and he says ‘Uh… No. Do you have any cheap wine? I’m not into super nice wine’ and they were like ‘No, so what should we do then?’  They were trying to figure it out, and Bob says ‘Well I know you guys like to smoke, so like, do you wanna, do you wanna get high?’ and they were like ‘Oh shoot, we’re not… we’re not gonna do that. That’s like, we’ve never done that, we’re not really sure about that.’ Bob actually thought they sang about smoking in one of their songs, saying ‘We get high,’ or something, when really it was something else. Um, so anyways, Bob lights up and hands it to John and Paul who are both way too scared to try it, so Ringo tries it and they all just start laughing. Hot-boxing in this room with Bob Dylan. And that’s what inspired them later when, anytime the Beatles wanted to smoke, they’d say ‘Let’s have a laugh’. Um, but yeah they all got super high with Bob Dylan and that led into the really self-concious period of The Beatles for Revolver and Rubber Soul, which I would argue are some of their best music.”


Background information:

This was told to the participant in his two unit class on The Beatles. The professor told him this story, but he claimed to not know if it was true or not. Considering that The Beatles and Bob Dylan are both rock and roll legends, he said he would not be surprised if the story was embellished over the years. He likes the story because of what impact it could have potentially had on The Beatles career and is a fun way to explain the difference in sounds between The Beatles’ records.



The informant says that the story would most likely be told in a format that people were talking about music and/or The Beatles. He doesn’t think it would be a story that he would tell his family, unless they had brought up an interest in the band or a conversation about it.



Legendary Figures can span from athletes, like Babe Ruth, to politicians, like Abe Lincoln, to musicians, like Marilyn Monroe, and everyone in between. What is unique about the legendary figure is that we know, for a fact, that these people existed. It is both their actions and the way in which they are talked about that becomes folklorized.

What helps transform these somewhat ordinary celebrities into the status of legend is often what they do beyond just their physical work. If all we had in a vacuum of knowledge was The Beatles’ CDs, we might think they’re pretty good, but would not understand the iconic image they represented for decades. To familiarize and identify ourselves with these legends, we’ll often tell folk stories that we feel are representative of their character. In this story, The Beatles make the transition from proper European rockers to far out psychedelic rockers. While the genre shift is evident in their music, this story helps explain why it may have happened, which, when combined with the personality of Bob Dylan, is what makes it so entertaining.

Cherries and Cherry Queens

My informant is a college junior studying cognitive science and creative writing. He is a casual pot smoker.

He heard this piece of folklore while working on a ranch near his Texas hometown, from an older man who taught him and his fellow ranch hands all about weed culture. He likes it and it means a lot to him because it reminds him of the time in his life when he was a ranch hand and of the people he worked and lived with at the time. He says he hopes to bring the same vibe of that group of people to his friends and smoking pals now.

This interview was performed in the informant’s bedroom.

“What’s a cherry?”

“A cherry is, um, when you light the bowl and then you smoke it and then after you’re done smoking it it’s still like, lit, like there’s still like a red glow in the bowl, so it’s called a cherry and you can pass it and then you say ‘oh it’s cherried!’ and then they quickly but without lighting it continue to just smoke it, and then if they can continue to pass it around the circle and it gets all the way back to you and it’s still lit, then it’s like super cool and like a very rare feat, and then you’re officially the cherry queen. Oh and cherry queen is like an automatic pass, like if you’re cherry queen, and you get cherried, no matter when it stops, it comes back to you and you get to light it again. So like if it goes all the way around the circle and then like two people down it’ll come back to you and reset at you.”

These kinds of very specific stoner traditions and stoner language prove to me that this subculture is very developed and widespread, which counters the notion of stoners as lazy and generally not serious. Within stoner communities or microcommunities, these traditions and lingo are very important and tend to distinguish experienced smokers from newbies.

dreadlock gesture

(I didn’t hear this, but my friend did, so even though it was directed to me it was technically my friend serving as the informant:)

A guy approached me at a concert (I have dreadlocks) and said, “I hate to stereotype, but do you have a pipe?”

A lot of people stereotype someone with dreadlocked hair to be a dirty hippie stoner bum, which is not always the case, but why this guy prefaced his question with “I hate to stereotype”…