How to Spot a Pothead

Emboldened by recent events on campus, crack reporter Ben Frederick seeks to expose the seedy underbelly of Principia’s “Cannabis Culture” and promote transparency and mistrust.

I come from the Pacific Northwest, a region famous in certain circles for its marijuana culture. There’s even a town called Weed, California. Growing up in Portland taught me a lot of things about marijuana and the related lingo. It also taught me how to spot a pothead. So allow me to uncover the mysterious “bowl-packers” amongst us.

Observation Techniques: before you know what to look for, you should know how to look for it. Binoculars are only acceptable for use when in a crowd of eagle enthusiasts. Good observation means becoming part of the background. Pretend to read a book or listen to music. Practice listening. Soon enough, you will be able to see the clandestine ways of the elusive “ganja gang” here at Prin.

*Note: Oftentimes, a druggie will be convinced that what they’re doing will soon become legal, and somehow that makes it okay to do now. The fact of the matter is, marijuana is still an illegal substance and there really isn’t a justification for breaking the law.

So how do you know if your roommate is secretly “rolling fatties with Aunt Mari” behind your back? I have constructed a psycho-physio profile in order to more clearly identify and detain those that would “miasmize” our mental atmosphere here. If anyone you know fits the descriptions in the following categories, they are definitely “using” and should be reported immediately.

As with terrorists, profiling Potheads is notoriously difficult and counterintuitive. I have come up with a series of questions designed to expose the highly circumspect movements of the devious “doobie-folk.”

Section 1:  Family Background. Do they come from a stable or unstable family situation? Evidence shows that many “roach regulars” come from one or both of those familial circumstances. If you know anyone whose parents are either divorced or still together, they could be “on drugs” and might require closer observation.

Section 2: Financial Situation. Are they poor, middle class, or wealthy? Studies show that many drug users come from these three social strata. Due to differing levels of income, today’s user has many options from which to choose. The more potent weed, sometimes known as Maui Wauie, B.C. Bud, or the famous Purple Haze, is obviously more expensive and carefully guarded by the furtive druggie. Inferior reefer is cheaper—the lazy pothead (read: all) may refer to it as “ditch weed” or “Mexican sassafras.” If you hear someone mention any of these slang terms, immediately drop what you are doing and gasp really loudly so that they know they were overheard, then run away so that when they look for you they only see your stuff on the ground and you sprinting toward the School of Government.

Section 3: Appearance.  Potheads dress in a certain way. Everyone knows that. Taking a close look at someone’s appearance can tell you a lot about their after-hours entertainment. Let’s start with shoes. Anything made from hemp: absolutely a pothead. Flip-flops? Give them the boot. Converse? Duh. Uggs with leggings? Potentially, yes. Sneakers? They’re called sneakers for a reason, folks. Pretty much any kind of shoe is suspect, except whatever footwear I happen to be wearing.

Section 4: Style. Do they wear flannel? Vests? Jeans on a regular basis? Corduroys? Athletic shorts? Do they keep up with the latest fashions, or do they dress like they’re still in the 90’s? Do they wear t-shirts? Do they dress like they are going to school? According to my research, all these factors indicate recreational drug user.

Section 5: Spirituality. Spirituality is perhaps the most expedient indicator of someone’s involvement with drugs, and it’s easily measured, too. Do they regularly attend CSO or Church services? If so, cross them off your list of suspects; church means you’re clean. If someone rarely goes to church, chances are they’re “hotboxin’ with Kool and the Gang” on a regular basis. They probably skip church to go do it, too.

Section 6: Eating habits. I won’t spend much time with this; we all know potheads like to eat. Check for frequent convenience store usage, especially during the late-night hours.

Section 7: Taste in music. Potheads like music. Lots of music is a tell tale sign of a likely “baker.” Generally they listen to mellow tunes, especially reggae, but they have been known to dabble in other genres. Check your roommate’s iPod; if they have a lot of alternative rock, they’re probably “blazin’ with Maggie Thatcher” on the weekends.

Section 8: Personality. The superficial attributes of a pothead’s personality can vary, but they all share one fundamental addiction and it is this that will bring them down in the end. The Achilles’ heel of the Pothead always has been and always will be immensely helpful for identification—it is an addiction to instant gratification. Potheads want their pleasure here and now. They are impatient and will look for the easiest path to a sense of worth and enjoyment. Instant gratification is perhaps more insidious, and more harmful than the drug itself. If noticed, it should immediately be addressed and destroyed.

If anyone you know bears some resemblance to one or more of these categories, they probably own a bong and use it for purposes other than tasteful windowsill decoration.

Principia, let’s take a bite out of crime with McGruff the crime dog. Good luck spotting your first Pothead. They can be as elusive as the North American Freckle-Breasted Warbler, but that’s only because they’re paranoid.

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  • rathmoor

    Hi, Ben. Very funny and smart commentary. Jonathan Swift would be proud. Nicely done!

  • elleoneiram

    This is pretty hilarious.

  • jeff

    “Hotboxin’ with Kool and the Gang” made me laugh pretty hard.