I LOVE WEED.

Food tastes better, movies look cooler, and it makes me feel like a stuffed animal. Weed is nature's way of helping me keep the shit together in my head and justifying my existence in the world. Weed is my safe place, my best friend, my daily rendezvous.

Unfortunately—and the irony is not lost on me—I hate weed culture with an equal amount of passion. Just like a being a fan of Star Wars or Jimi Hendrix, my relationship with this precious commodity grows complicated when I run up against the enthusiasm other humans have with it—an enthusiasm that always seems to muddle what should be a simplistic endeavor. 

I first came to this realization when I was getting stoned at a friend's house back in high school. I was looking though his stack of High Times magazines; sprinkled throughout the pages were photo spreads of piles of "the kind" with women in bikinis and deeply red eyes. This vision of apathetic sexuality confused me and probably ruined any chance of marijuana ever being a turn-on for me. Curiously, the actual centerfolds in these rags weren't even of the aforementioned babes—they were salacious close-ups of heavily crystallized buds. Are potheads supposed to masturbate to these?

Later that day I tried to watch a video compilation of "weed" comedians and found that I related intimately to their dirty bong observations, but I wasn't laughing. All of the jokes just highlighted my most repressed stoner shame. I was left asking myself, "Why does the thing I love have to be so tacky and disappointing?"  

Then I think about the iconic weed leaf. I believe cannabis sativa to be a beautiful-looking plant. But once it's been plastered all over Woody Harrelson's sweatpants, or brandished on a giant medallion, or embroidered into a Tasmanian Devil T-shirt, it becomes the logo of a club I don't want to be a part of. It makes even my own devotion to the sacred herb start to wane. Also, I refuse to believe that a filthy piece of rope with giant beads jammed on it is supposed to be worn anywhere, let alone be called jewelry. 

Of course it's not just the hippies and burnouts that make pot ridiculous. The scientists have gone overboard, too. Leave it to today's geniuses to turn our harmless little flower inside out and create products with scarily cryptic names like "dabs" and "shatter," which not only require blowtorches and low self-esteem to imbibe but change what should be a relaxing act into something darkly nefarious.

Luckily, sinsemilla has enough beneficial qualities to keep me in love with my favorite pastime, and as long as I never go to a music festival, watch a Bob Marley documentary, or enter a shady smoke shop, I will probably be just fine. Unfortunately, all of these situations are likely inevitable... I guess I'll just have to light up this tangerine-flavored spliff and do my best to forget about it.