High Times on the Main Line

And in Chestnut Hill. And Blue Bell. And many more of Philadelphia’s most buttoned-down places. How a generation of otherwise straitlaced moms and dads are rediscovering their inner stoners … and making pot legit

Still, you have to wonder: How did the same people you see photographed for local society columns become the Cheeches and Chongs of Chestnut Hill (if Cheech shopped at Neiman Marcus and attended gallery openings)? Is a generation desperately trying to hang onto its receding youth pairing bong hits with Botox in an effort to look and feel 17 once more?

Then again, attitudes have changed drastically toward the once-taboo drug. It’s as if we’ve reached a turning point in our view of pot, which is regarded these days by many as a perfectly valid lifestyle choice, rather than a passé and slacker-ish habit. The question looms, though — with our formative years in the ’70s and ’80s spent getting yelled at by our parents to do our homework and not smoke pot, is lighting up as an adult the ultimate, if somewhat silly, act of rebellion before we hurtle headlong into old age?
 

IN 2010, marijuana is suddenly everywhere in pop culture. And today, it’s largely portrayed as a lighthearted, almost upscale pursuit, connoting boho chic and an appealing rakishness, like wearing Lululemon workout clothes or driving a Prius. Smack in the middle of Bryn Mawr, a cute-looking spot called Omar’s Hookah Cafe has opened. Granted, you can’t buy or use pot there, but still, it’s a hookah bar in Bryn Mawr. Think of the current climate as less Woodstock and more Anthropologie, less Haight-Ashbury and more dinner-party-in-Haverford.

The theme to most contemporary portrayals of marijuana: Pot is naughty, harmless fun! On a recent episode of Parenthood, a father confiscated his teenager’s weed, and later ended up smoking it with his brother outside the teen’s school auditorium. In last year’s It’s Complicated, Meryl Streep’s character, an accomplished bakery/cafe owner in her 50s, gets gloriously high with Steve Martin (playing an architect), has a blast dancing at a party, and then makes chocolate croissants — rolling her own pastry dough from scratch, no Doritos in this movie — to sate a case of munchies. (On a side note, I don’t smoke pot, but does anyone really stay high for four hours after smoking a single joint, as Meryl does in that movie?) And it’s this age group that a government study recently singled out as the folks who got high in record numbers in the past year, with some 4.3 million people over 50 copping to illegal drug use. And what’s more, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released earlier this year, fully 81 percent of Americans say they’re in favor of legalizing marijuana, at least for medical use.

With the taboo once attached to pot dissipating as quickly as smoke from one of Omar’s hookahs, non-teenage Philly marijuana fans are increasingly less shy about sharing their joie de bong hit. “I was recently at a meeting with a client,” says Doug, a consultant who lives outside Chestnut Hill, “and after we were done with the meeting, he fired up his bong and offered it to me.” Doug’s business partner, Steve, who’s in his 30s, says he

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  • andrew

    I don’t know where the writer got there information but i believe some of your supposed facts about health risks where wrong. Many medical studies from reputable sorces have concluded that not only does marijuana not contribute to head and nek cancers but actually thwarts the growth of aggresive cancer cells. Cannabis has cannabinoids in it that can be used to treat cancer. While many of us love to see attention brought to this plants flowers, we don’t want any inncorrect information printed about it that would make people scared of it when they shouldn’t be. Could you please research this better and print a retraction.

  • andrew

    I don’t know where the writer got thier information but i believe some of your supposed facts about health risks where wrong. Many medical studies from reputable sorces have concluded that not only does marijuana not contribute to head and neck cancers but actually thwarts the growth of aggresive cancer cells. Cannabis has cannabinoids in it that can be used to treat cancer. While many of us love to see attention brought to this plants flowers, we don’t want any inncorrect information printed about it that would make people scared of it when they shouldn’t be. Could you please research this better and print a retraction. P.S. sorry the first draft had some spelling errors that i forgot to check first, i will agree with the effected memory part…that’s true

  • linda

    On Nove 6, 2000, i received a call from my father. by 52 year old brother had been found dead in his home. the cause of death, MALNUTRITION! i REFUSE to allow anyone to die this way! we are not sure what he was sick from, but i know he was unable to eat but REFUSED to smoke cannibis cause he wanted to be SOBER! NOW HE IS DEAD! I use cannibis to help me with my crohns. it gives the ability to eat and keep foods down!
    did you know the first car was fueled by hemp? just think where we would be now if it STILL WERE! LEGALIZE HEMP NOW!

  • linda

    sorry.. i didn’t check my typing before entering. my brother died in 2009 in a medical marijuana state! california! because of the stigm! everyone join us for a march on washington on july 4th! as adults, we should be able to relax any way we want to! NO ONE HAD DIED FROM MARIJUANA USE! LEGALIZE HEMP! SAVE OUR PLANET!

  • smoke

    mad blunt passing

  • hgjhgjg

    cocaine’s more prevalent

  • Tim

    Cover of mag is Pot is Back….Main line. Then you mention all around Philly. Then you mention “70s celebrities openly smoking pot” without naming amyone! Not sure why you are making any comparison between to legalized marijuana, legislators trying to get medical marijauna passed and recreational use. There is no connection and you fail to make one. You fail to make an valid connection to Cailfornia medical clinics and the “liberal” Po-Tel and the so called Main Line wave or marijuana use. Your fact about African American women being arrested more than white women for marijuana use is worthless. Why do you think there is such a desparity in arrest %age? Did you use arrests of black women on the main line versus arrests of white women on the main line? Further into the article, again comparing medical marijunia legislation to recreational use is worthless. BTW, Doug in your article likes cocaine instead o pot now. What is the relevance to your article???? This whole article, from the provacative cover, to the weak research, is complete garbage. So you interviewed some people that still smoke pot and you…

  • deborah

    Never have I been so disappointed in Philadelphia Magazine. Just what you don’t want your teenager to see coming from a supposed reputable news source. EXTREMELY disappointed – canceling membership after 20+ years.

  • Pinchy

    So many times we forget all the good, Sure medical, but also renewable resources for paper, fabric, oils,the seeds themselves are high in protein and essential fatty acids.
    you can be a critic but don’t tell me what i can or cannot grow in my yard.
    In addition, THINK OF ALL THE TAX REVENUE if we were to legalize and tax this…

  • Matt

    Article was good but was wrong about a number of things. For one, you no longer can be arrested for small amounts of pot in Philadelphia b/c it has been downgraded to a summary offense rather than a misdemeaner.
    Also of note, pot does NOT cause lung cancer or head/neck cancer, as can be seen in numerous studies on Pubmed.com .

  • Ryan

    I’ve been smoking the whole time I’ve been reading this.

  • Carlton

    The information on marijuana risks seems flawed.
    Marijuana is one of the safest substances out there. safer than most foods we commonly eat. it doesn’t cause cancer. it prevents it. The cannaboids in marijuana cause the cancer cells to eat themselves. There hasn’t been a case where a person got cancer from marijuana use. marijuana is also proven to help your lungs. The cannabis smoke helps to open receptor cells in your lungs allowing for better breathing. it also helps with blood flow to the brain, which allows for improved cognitive thinking.(info from government funded studies)-Google: “government studies on marijuana”

  • Angel

    I am shocked how miss guided this article is.I agree legalizing marijuana will do worlds of good.However,how can anyone make an educated/informed decision, when careless people speak about the dangers

  • Juliana

    If marijuana became legalized, it would create jobs, it could be taxed like cigarettes, which would help the government’s huge debt, it would also save law enforcement millions of dollars they are wasting trying to bust people selling pot. If you are an adult and you want to relax and smoke a doobie at the end of the day, who has the right to tell you that you can’t do it? I thought this was the land of the free? But I guess we aren’t quite as free as we used to be.

  • Juliana

    If marijuana became legalized, it would create jobs, it could be taxed like cigarettes, which would help the government’s huge debt, it would also save law enforcement millions of dollars they are wasting trying to bust people selling pot. If you are an adult and you want to relax and smoke a doobie at the end of the day, who has the right to tell you that you can’t do it? I thought this was the land of the free? But I guess we aren’t quite as free as we used to be.

  • Juliana

    If marijuana became legalized, it would create jobs, it could be taxed like cigarettes, which would help the government’s huge debt, it would also save law enforcement millions of dollars they are wasting trying to bust people selling pot. If you are an adult and you want to relax and smoke a doobie at the end of the day, who has the right to tell you that you can’t do it? I thought this was the land of the free? But I guess we aren’t quite as free as we used to be.

  • stephanie

    the industry is way more than just growers and smokers. this article could expand upon that. there’s even a local philly publishing company that just launched SMOKED Volume 2 and is pushing glass pipe art into the light. check it out on http://www.gritcityinc.com

  • Larry

    Finally an article that tells the truth about who uses marijuana. As a long time casual user I would love to be more outspoken about this, but who wants that stigma put on them and one that could cost me my job. My friends are all professional people who like to smoke on a Friday or Saturday and why should anyone care. But government propaganda has labeled it as dangerous and we live with ignorant laws. From my experience, alcohol is much worse.