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

As for her own teenagers, Bridget says that while she’d be worried about them getting into trouble at school for having pot, she doesn’t think it’s such a big deal for teens to experiment with it. “I wouldn’t really care,” she says about her kids having ganja, “but I’d pretend I did, to make an impression on them.” Since it’s illegal, she says, she counsels them (hopefully convincingly) to avoid pot.

Ironically, it’s the more proper-seeming couples who are at the vanguard of the New Pot Culture — driven to numb themselves, one guesses, by the pressures of managing the complications of a productive adult life.

Amanda, the stylish Ardmore mom, was never much of a pot-smoker in high school or college; her renewed appreciation for pot started on a kid-free vacation in — where else? — Jamaica, a hub of high-grade stuff. “We smelled it from all directions,” she reports. Her husband made a few discreet inquiries on the beach and came back with the goods, which turned out to be “amazing pot!” she says. “I don’t know what was in it.” They sat on the balcony of the five-star resort, puffing away after dinner, and Amanda found that not only did it make them as carefree as teenagers; it also gave them both the sexual stamina of 18-year-olds.

Jumbo mortgages, aging parents, the white-knuckle experiences of teaching your kids how to drive and helping them prep for SATs — all of these might send you to your shrink, but more immediately, to smoke a bowl. The fact that it’s illegal makes it all the more deliciously verboten. If you’re smoking pot, you’re officially not old and boring — right?

NOT EVERYONE on the Main Line and in Chestnut Hill, however, thinks pot is so chic and fun. Like any substance, pot can quickly transition from occasional indulgence to daily habit, and one friend tells me she’s observed her 30- and 40-something friends getting too Woody Harrelson for her taste: “When I hear that my friends are smoking pot before they pick up their kids at school, I don’t think that’s okay.”

Another person who doesn’t think pot is okay is Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. Though recent buzz (no pun intended) would have you believe Williams is pushing to lighten punishment for potheads, Williams states, “We are not decriminalizing marijuana — any effort like that would be one for the legislature to undertake. The penalty available for these minimal-amount offenses remains exactly the same.”

What Williams is proposing, explains his communications director, Tasha Jamerson, is to expedite the court proceedings of people arrested with small quantities of pot: “You’d be arrested, obviously, but if you’re not violent, if it’s a first-time offense, you would get a summary offense, and you’d be able to go to a treatment center or pay a fine.” The D.A. is trying to lighten the load on Philly’s overburdened courts, Jamerson says, and speeding up and streamlining the process would save the city time and money.