New Star Blogs

Happy 4/20, here’s an excerpt from Andrew Struthers’s new pot book


9781554201150-Sacred-Herb-Devils-Weed-3DlWe total­ly meant to have an entire new Andrew Struthers book for you today, but as the gan­ja gods say, “no effort when tea is smoked.” In his defence, wran­gling sto­ries from over a hun­dred pot­heads is like herd­ing cats that are also pot­heads. The book will be here soon — we’re say­ing June at this point — but in the mean­time here’re 797 words, includ­ing ten from P. K. Dick, from Struthers’s fourth, com­ing book The Sacred Herb / The Devil’s Weed, now just two months over­due.

From The Sacred Herb / The Devil’s Weed by Andrew Struthers




Last spring my Protes­tant work eth­ic took a hit when two pot dis­pen­saries opened on my street. They call pot the Great Unmo­ti­va­tor, and sure enough, sum­mer was long and hot, I went swim­ming instead of writ­ing, by Fall I began to run out of cash on a reg­u­lar basis, and when win­ter rolls around I des­per­ate­ly pitch a book idea to my pub­lish­er. But he doesn’t bite, so I pull a sec­ond book out of my ass, like a rab­bit from a top hat, sur­pris­ing even myself:

What about a book on mar­i­jua­na?”

He says, “How soon can you turn that around?”

Ka-ching! We agree the per­fect launch date is April 20, or 4:20, but it’s already Decem­ber, and no one works through Christ­mas except hedge fund man­agers and elves, so on Jan­u­ary 1 I real­ize I have 29 days to write 50,000 words, and it can’t be done, espe­cial­ly blitzed, so I don the man­tle of artis­tic respon­si­bil­i­ty, stub out, and step up.

Two days lat­er the man­tle begins to chafe, and by Day Three I’m back to smok­ing my brains out and hop­ing some of them will land on the page, then I recall how Tom Sawyer tricks his friends into white­wash­ing his Aunt’s fence, which inspires me to Skype a hun­dred pot­heads from my Face­book feed and get them to write the book for me, and it works — I near­ly make my dead­line, which feat I hope will dis­pel the myth of pot as the Great Unmo­ti­va­tor.

But the book comes out as one long ram­bling sen­tence. I mean, does it even make sense? You be the judge. The jury. The Exe­cu­tion­er.

*  *  *


I know a lot of peo­ple who think God sleeps in pot.”

— Phillip K. Dick


त्रेता युग

I’m curled up at the bot­tom of a hip­pie hot tub in Tuff City, breath­ing through a yard of rub­ber hose that once con­nect­ed the heater to the propane tank, hav­ing just ingest­ed what Ter­rence McKen­na calls a hero­ic dose of THC baked into a choco­late cake, and embarked upon that inward voy­age Joseph Camp­bell calls the hero’s jour­ney, although I ate the cake by mis­take, so tech­ni­cal­ly it’s more of what my big Swedish pal Mar­tin would call a total fuck­up.

But it’s too late to wor­ry, my only chance is to relax and float down­stream, which is prob­lem­at­ic thanks to my Protes­tant work eth­ic, some­thing I can’t just ditch because I’m from Scot­land, where we invent­ed the idea, along with TV, asphalt and soc­cer hooli­gans. Scot­land is a cul­ture divid­ed against itself, because the State is Chris­t­ian but the peo­ple are Celts. The Chris­t­ian Heav­en is a gat­ed com­mu­ni­ty with a con­trolled entrance, like a pub with a bounc­er, but the Celtic Oth­er­world is all around us, only it’s invis­i­ble, like a dope ring behind a line of trees, or a group of friends smok­ing from a grav­i­ty bong in a base­ment. At any moment a Celt might turn a bend in a coun­try lane, or lose the path in the woods, and find them­selves sud­den­ly sur­round­ed by Oth­ers: brown­ies, bogles, kelpies. There’s no short­age of tales where a farmer or small busi­ness own­er or pos­si­bly some sort of banker, just so long as he has a three-point­ed hat and a horse, tar­ries too long at the bright­ly-lit pub and on his ride home stum­bles through a ring of toad­stools in a field, where fey jigs reel him in and he dances wild­ly ’round till dawn, when he finds twen­ty years have passed and he’s old. Such is the faerie ring.

Sub­sti­tute dope for faerie, and you have my life in Clay­oquot, which I vis­it­ed for the May long week­end when I was twen­ty-two and filled with sal­ad plans of con­quer­ing the world with books and movies, and won’t be leav­ing for three more years, when I’ll be push­ing forty.

No mat­ter — the first thing to slack­en when you get this gooned is the time­line. Not Time itself, which rolls implaca­ble as a mill­stone, but the line of time, the illu­sion of future and past, that use­ful fic­tion we must soon aban­don along with democ­ra­cy, cap­i­tal­ism and gen­der roles. Not Gen­der itself, which will con­tin­ue to stuff us willy-nil­ly into its crude slots at birth, but gen­der roles, and Mary Jane might be the hand­maid to our tale of cul­tur­al col­lapse. Don’t get me wrong — it’ll be a dis­as­ter, we’re poised to junk every insti­tu­tion that makes escape from brute exis­tence pos­si­ble, and if there’s one thing bet­ter than get­ting back to Nature it’s get­ting away from Her, a secret I learned from liv­ing sev­en years with no elec­tric­i­ty or plumb­ing, in the hip­pie com­mune on the edge of town.