The term "stoner" has long been synonymous with high school burnouts, collegiate-level slackers, and a handful of other male "underachiever" stereotypes. Of late, the word has gotten a make-over—a glamming up, if you will—thanks in part to the female cannabis lovers who are leading the marijuana industry's growth and stepping in to reclaim and normalize the once-loaded term. We spoke with seven women, all hailing from different social and professional backgrounds, about what it means to be a stoner, and how they're dispelling the negative connotations of the female smoker.
I was a late bloomer. I started smoking at 24, and I'm 30 now. When I was young, my dad was a big pothead, and he drank a lot. I was really religious, good kid, and the negative perceptions were there, like, "Only people with big problems are the ones smoking and drinking." Eventually, I fucking grew up and was like, "Wait a minute—it's not that big of a deal." I'd say the turning point for me was seeing my chill-ass home girls—women that I really admired and respected—smoking. I was like, "Oh, its not just gross guys that smoke weed."
I'm a comic. I tried to do stand up stoned, and it was terrible. I bombed so hard. The first time I was like, "Okay, maybe this just is my first time and I could've been paranoid or something." I did it another time and was like, "No, I can't do this while I'm high." Whatever. It gives me something to look forward to after my show.
If you smoke, people will assume that you're a stoner, especially if you're a girl. If you post a smoking pic, everybody is like, "Okay, you have a problem." And I'm just like, "Hey listen, I'm just trying to be like Rihanna, calm down." She's the greatest poster girl for female stoners. I don't want to compare cigarettes to marijuana, but remember back in the '90s, when all those beautiful supermodels smoked cigarettes, and it just seemed so beautiful? That's what Rihanna is doing with weed. For a long time, it was just the Sarah Silverman-type chicks, where they were just dressed-down potheads and they don't give a shit about anything, and that's never been my style. Rihanna makes it pretty because she's so fabulous. I like the way I look and I like to be dressed up and I embrace everything about myself physically, and Rihanna is that way too. She's in a gown looking beautiful and she has a blunt and she makes it so chic.
Market Research Analyst, NYC
I work at a company that does market research for a lot of Fortune 500 companies and big brands. I wouldn't say my hours are long, but I work the whole day that I'm at the office. You know how some people have a glass of wine? Smoking weed is just something I do to unwind at the end of a day or workweek. I don't think of being a stoner as part of my identity. There are so many more interesting things I do other than smoking weed.
When you smoke, you attract similar people as friends. At this point in my life, I don't really date men who would have a problem with it. But when I was a little bit younger, I can definitely think of many times when would go out on dates with men or have them back to my apartment and they'd see that I smoked weed and it'd become something of a turn-off. Sometimes there was the thought that maybe you weren't ladylike enough for them to be seriously interested in you. I consider myself a feminist; I consider myself political; I like having discussions and I don't back down from a conversation. In these cases, I think smoking can become a stand-in for other personality traits that they don't like.
Rapper and DJ, Bay Area
I don't know if there's sexism in the weed world. I think guys love smoking with girls. In the Bay Area, everyone smokes weed, so it wasn't really like girls were different from guys. Smoking weed was the way you'd try to hang out with a girl, like a cheap date. I don't think guys thought less of girl smokers; they probably thought they were cooler, honestly.
I'm a proud, successful stoner, I would say. I dab, which is the most extreme way of smoking. I'll take a dab at night after the baby's asleep, when it's time to get into my creative projects and get into my zone. It's so intense. You have to have a blowtorch, a dab rig, and this little tool to get the wax off the sheet. I'm sure a lot of people in New York haven't even seen it go down in real life. You can really mess yourself up if you burn yourself. And most of the time you look like a crackhead when you do it, so I try not to do it in front of other people or, like, adults, because they'll be like "Whoa, you're pulling out a blowtorch, what the fuck?"
I'm not really too much of a functional stoner. I have a radio show, and I'll have artists on there that want to smoke, and I'll be like, "No, I can't do this high, or I'll sound like an idiot." I'm really bored—I might try edibles. They were selling weed pizza and weed ice cream at the smoke shop, or whatever, so I was like, "Okay, I'll cop it." I didn't eat it yet; I'm waiting for the right night.
Weed takes me to a very tranquil place. It's something I choose to do because I enjoy it, not because I need it. I think most creative people are less judgmental, but socially, for sure, people judge women smokers differently than they do male smokers. People are still surprised sometimes if you're a lady. I think that's changed lately, because a lot more women are more open with it, and it can be sexy. I think as time has gone by, people have become more knowledgeable about that. It happens with time and more knowledge, and more and more states starting to legalize it. I really don't care what people think; it's a part of my life, so I'm fine with sharing it.
Being a singer, I bake a lot more than I smoke. It's less harmful to my voice and my throat and still mellows me out. I'm from the South, so I cook a lot already, and one of my ex-boyfriends bought me a book on cannabis cooking. I was just flipping through it and decided to just going to go for it. My specialty lately has been a lot of gluten-free carrot cakes. Being a productive stoner is all about control. I don't know if you've tried to control munchies, but once you control that, it's the same thing with getting work done. At first, I didn't wake and bake, but now but it really helps me to focuses me.
Writer and poet, L.A.
I probably smoked weed for the first time when I was 12 with my older brother. I grew up in Venice Beach, so it's pretty normal around there to be smoking pot. My stepdad, who is basically my dad, has always been a stoner. It's just never felt not-allowed or anything bad. My parents definitely weren't happy with me smoking pot at such a young age, but they were always aware that it was a little bit better for you than drinking. So being a stoner is honestly pretty wholesome to me.
At 19 I moved to New York and I started dating a guy who didn't really like it. He thought it made him paranoid or made him eat too much. He knew that I always had insecurities about my body, and struggled with eating disorders in the past; I guess he thought that it would make me feel bad. That was a moment of intense shame that I felt about smoking weed. My entire time in New York I didn't smoke weed at all, and I think it was the unhealthiest I've ever been. I did all kinds of other drugs, like cocaine and Xanax. When that guy and I broke up, I moved back to L.A. and sort of re-discovered weed again. I stopped doing all other drugs, got healthier, and felt a lot better with just having weed and nothing else.
The weed store that I go to is run by a bunch of beautiful girls who are so sweet. It makes me so happy to go in there and see everyone living their happy lives. There's such a weird sexism that goes along with smoking, and it's just recently being taken away. Smoking weed is such a male-dominated thing. I worked in a weed dispensary for a long time actually, and it was tough. You had a lot of really creepy, scary men come in there, not to mention the growers that you had to deal with.
I'm very open about myself. If I'm smoking a ton of pot, I'll be like, "Yeah, I'm smoking a ton of pot." In the writing community specifically, it seems people don't really think that somebody could be a productive writer or artist while being a stoner. I work actively to try to get rid of that stigma. Drinking and writing is such a common thing in the world—why can't smoking weed be too?
Jewelry designer, L.A.
I feel that when men get stoned, they can't do anything after; they're not as productive as women can be. The female stoner is a multi-tasker that likes to take the edge off. Being a stoner was never a taboo to me; I've never been one to hide anything. I was definitely a wake-and-baker kind of girl, but I've become more of a 4:20pm smoker, in order to balance my day. But, if I'm spending the whole day designing jewelry, I'm for sure stoned.
I've had The Sweet Leaf Collection since day one, when we launched in 2005. A big diamond leaf necklace was one of the first pieces I wanted to make. Over the years, I've added the studs, the body chains, the hoops, anklets, clutches, backpacks, and fanny packs. I'll put that leaf anywhere and everywhere. I can't really say that I've ever encountered any negativity toward my use of the leaf. I mean, we're California girls—it's what we were raised around.
The Sweet Leaf Collection has gained a really cute following. You'll find the most random girls that purchase it—very shy girls that don't even smoke pot. Rihanna wears a lot of my jewelry, which couldn't be more perfect. She's so fun to design and create custom pieces for. She's become my muse. She brings out the bad girl side of me, and I bring out the gentle bohemian in her. She'll wear all of those edgier designers, and then after that, she'll come back to me for her hippy moment.
CEO of IVXX Lifestyle Brand and founder of Spark the Conversation Campaign, L.A.
When I first started working with High Times Magazine, it was virtually impossible to get people to do interviews with us, especially women. Now, we're completely inundated with social media accounts and all these different sites that embrace beautiful hot women who use cannabis. The market is starting to gear up, and it's starting to cater to them. Women aren't afraid anymore that there's going to be a stigma attached to smoking weed. Women, in general, are leading this industry right now.
I love that I've been dubbed "the Anna Wintour of Weed" and "the Pot Priestess," because it's fun; it's a movement that doesn't really have a high priest yet. The leaf has become a symbol of freedom, and each time a woman puts herself out there as smoker, it's another step in a revolution. I feel like a revolutionary because I fight for the freedom of this plant. High Times is a part of my life and family, but I only came to this lifestyle after I survived cancer and embraced marijuana as a medicine. I'm proud that I choose cannabis. I'd probably be taking like 13 pharmaceutical drugs if it weren't for cannabis.
I embrace the term stoner, though the term has definitely grown out of the propaganda wrap that you get lazy and tired if you smoke it. Myself— I'm an entrepreneur, I'm an activist—I have a full time work that I do. I go to DC twice a year to lobby congress and I'm high while doing it. It's my medicine; it's what I choose to do. I take an active role in debunking the myth of what stoners act and look like.