Saturday, March 2, 2019

Celebrating Women's Herstory Month

March was declared Women's History Month in 1987 by the United States Congress, after being petitioned by the National Women's History Alliance. The these for 2019 was "Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence."  The for theme 2020 is “Valiant Women of the Vote.”

We've got some Visionary Tokin' Women to celebrate!

Let's start with actress/poet Dora Shaw, who was apparently inspired by FitzHugh Ludlow’s writings to try hashish on July 4, 1859 with novelist Marie Stevens Case, who recorded the event in The New York Saturday Press (7/16/59). After a fascinating experience where Case reports, "I was fast becoming a sphinx—my head expanded to the size of the room, and I thought I was an oracle doomed to respond through all Eternity...'Do you not see,' I cried, 'that I am stone....and if you make me laugh, I shall be scattered to the four winds.'" After seemingly having a vision of the Egyptian Goddess Seshat, the women watched a fireworks display. "The effect of the hascheesh was still upon us a little and the rockets seemed the most astonishing and gorgeous things in the universe." So the first recorded use of American women taking cannabis happened with a fireworks show.

In 1869, writer Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, published "Perilous Play," a short story in which a group of young socialites enjoys hashish bon-bons. It ends with the declaration, "Heaven bless hashish if its dreams end like this!" A Modern Mephistopheles, the novel Alcott published anonymously in 1877, contains a much fuller description of hashish's effects on a heroine named Gladys. "I feel as if I could do anything to-night," Gladys announces, and she came to them "with a swift step, an eager air, as if longing to find some outlet for the strange energy which seemed to thrill every nerve and set her heart beating audibly."

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Mrs. Maisel and the Golden Glow

UPDATE 5/23: Borstein shows up for her character Susie Myerson's roastamonial "smelling like Cheech and Chong" after hotboxing in her limo in the final season of the series. Pot jokes ensue. 

12/19 Bornstein told Seth Meyers she inhaled something in Amsterdam and felt the effects before developing  her "Amstergang." 

9/19: Bornstein took the Emmy for her role, and her speech brought us the rallying cry, "Step out of line, ladies!"

As talent agent Susie Myerson in Season 2 of the Netflix series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—the role for which she won an Emmy last year and just scored her second Golden Globe nom—the very funny Alex Borstein finds, smells, and smokes a joint...and then takes a glowingly stoned bubble bath. The character is based partly on Tokin' Woman Sue Mengers.

Another memorable character of Borstein's, Ms. Swan, smuggled in "the medicinal kine" on MadTV, and liked to be "just a little bit stone" in a skit where she outwits a protection racketeer.

Rachel Brosnahan, who just picked up her second consecutive Golden Globe for her lead role in the series, puffed in Season 1 with Luke Kirby playing Lenny Bruce (a stoner gal's dream date; at least one known Tokin' Woman, Annie Ross, did so).

Mrs. Maisel leads a charmed, wildly unrealistic life, but since Brosnahan's last Netflix appearance was as a call girl on House of Cards who becomes the obsession of powerful politico—leading to an end almost worse than the subway slaying of another female character—it's nice and notable that the matriarchal village behind Mrs. Maisel, which Brosnahan thanked in her acceptance speech, has given her a more positive and empowered role to portray.

The plot of the series plays into just what Glenn Close—who toked onscreen herself in The Big Chill—got a standing ovation for at the Globes, when she spoke of her mother sublimating her own needs to her family's. Mrs. Maisel, who wears a cocktail dress and pearls as did Tokin' Woman Joan Rivers, is also said to be based on housewives-turned-comics Phyllis Diller (whose hair has inspired a marijuana strain) and Totie Fields. But actually, show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino said at Paley Fest it was inspired by her father, a New York comic, who would sit around with his friends in the backyard smoking "odd-smelling cigarettes" and making each other laugh.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

2018 Tokey Awards


We've got to give this year's honor to former First Lady Michelle Obama who, in her new memoir, candidly wrote about smoking pot with a high school boyfriend in his car (where they also fooled around).

Asked by Robin Roberts of ABC's 20/20 why she didn't leave out the marijuana mention, Obama replied, "That was what I did. It's part of the 'Becoming' story....Why would I hide that from the next generation?"

Obviously her youthful dalliance with weed didn't turn Michelle into a worthless pothead. It may even have encouraged her interest in organic fruits and vegetables.


Other famous women who outed themselves this year include Kristen Bell, who said on the podcast WTF with Mark Aaron, “I like my vape pen quite a bit," adding that it doesn't bother her sober hubby Dax Shepard when she uses it occasionally. Her admission stirred some controversy, leading to Shepard tweeting in support.

Charlize Theron, while promoting her marijuana-themed movie Gringo, told E! Magazine, "I was a wake-and-baker for most of my life" and said to Jimmy Kimmel that she had "a good solid eight years on the marijuana." Now, she and her mom share edibles they use for sleep.

Fran Drescher, who wrote about her battle with ovarian cancer in Cancer Schmancer, keynoted a medical marijuana conference in Portland this year. Not only did cannabis help with her own recovery, she reports her father is using it to deal with his Parkinson's disease.

Gayle King, guesting on The Ellen Show, mimed smoking pot while talking about Ellen's recent birthday party, where Amy Schumer told King that she wants to get her high. King says she's planning to try it, and that her friend Oprah Winfrey "has smoked a little marijuana too." In a separate interview on Ellen, Oprah declared the pot-infused birthday party "the most fun I ever had. I don't even know what happened to me." I wonder if she got a contact high (at least).

In other outings, Liz Phair talked about smoking weed with Joe Rogan. Miley Cyrus promised she'd be back to smoking someday, and now says her mom got her back to smokingCarly Simon said she uses CBD oil on her knee, and Toni Braxton embraced CBD as a treatment for lupus. Chelsea Handler,  Kathy Ireland and Gwynneth Paltrow announced cannabis products or brands, as did Estée Lauder.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Mary Todd Lincoln, A Hemp Farmer's Daughter

Last week, the Mary Todd Lincoln House in Lexington, Kentucky celebrated the 200th birthday of our former first lady. It's fitting that the celebration came as Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell signed off on language for a farm bill that will legalize hemp cultivation in the US, should President Trump choose to sign it.

Mary Todd was a Southern Belle from a prominent, founding family of Fayette county, Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Office in Lexington:

Hemp was introduced at an early date [in Fayette]. Nathan Burrowes, a county resident, invented a machine for cleaning it [in 1796]. The soil produced fine hemp and in 1870 the county grew 4.3 million pounds. The crop declined in the 1890s because of increased demand for tobacco and competition from imported hemp from the Philippines. In 1941, when the federal government saw a possible shortage of manila rope from the Philippines, farmers were encouraged to grow hemp once again for use in World War II. The crop declined again in 1945.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Film Review: "Weed the People"

Weed the People, the Ricki Lake–produced film about the journey parents and their children with cancer are taking with cannabis, could be the best documentary I've seen on marijuana, possibly because it's a film made by women and largely depicting women.

The film follows several children undergoing cancer therapy, who are able to stop using powerful opiate painkillers and sometimes see their tumors shrink while using cannabinoids. The intimate stories of the families are exceptionally powerful, and the film goes further to interview doctors, researchers, and activists, presenting a historical perspective on the war on marijuana that has put patients in jeopardy by the illegality of cannabis, and the roadblocks to research on its uses in the US.

One mother summed it up well when she said, "I just find it staggering to accept that with the billions of dollars spend on cancer research, that the medicine we're relying on is made is somebody's kitchen."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Michelle Obama Writes About Using Marijuana in New Memoir

Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming, released today, contains a passage about her high school days when she and a boyfriend named David “fooled around and smoked pot in his car.”

Asked by Robin Roberts of ABC's 20/20 why she didn't leave out the marijuana mention, Obama replied, "That was what I did. It's part of the 'Becoming' story....Why would I hide that from the next generation?"

Obviously her youthful dalliance with weed didn't turn Michelle into a worthless pothead. She graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School, and met her future husband Barack Obama when he interned for her at a law firm.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

RIP Cassie Gaines, One of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Honkettes

The Honkettes: JoJo Billingsley, Cassie Gaines and Leslie Hawkins
A new documentary is out on Lynyrd Skynyrd, the rockin' Southern Rock band that lost its singer/songwriter Ronnie Van Zant along with band members Cassie & Steve Gaines in a tragic plane crash on this date in 1977.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave Here Tomorrow interviews surviving members of the band and reveals how Cassie and her fellow Honkettes classed up the group as its back-up singers.

Cassie Gaines joined the band in 1975 and later recommended her younger brother Steve join in as a guitarist. She was mentioned in stories recounted in the film as the band member who always had marijuana, and it was said of Steve that he "was no farmer, but he could grow some bud." When the band opened for the Rolling Stones, Very Important Pothead Jack Nicholson smelled Cassie's weed and asked if he could take a toke.