I’ve loved the culture of cannabis for a long time now. Not long after I first started smoking weed back in 1977, I started collecting rolling paper packs, and kept adding to the collection for roughly the first decade of my stonerdom.
Wonder of wonders, it turns out the collection survived for 30 years and, thanks to my sister Lynda to mailing it from Alabama, it now returns to the light of day. It was very much like opening a time capsule to again see these little relics of a bygone era.
Upon viewing the collection of 50-plus varieties of rolling papers — many of which are no longer available, or at least no longer being manufactured — I thought about how the tides of social change, i.e. weed culture, rolled across America in the late 70s, only to be turned back in the early 80s during the “Just Say No” Reagan years.
The change was very pronounced. It the late 70s it became perfectly fine to have brands of rolling papers called “Joint Wides” and “Reefer Rollers;” nobody thought twice about naming a brand of wraps “Insta Roach” or “4:20,” or calling them “Leaves” and putting a big ol’ cannabis plant on the pack.
Another sign of the times were the “social protest” types of rolling papers, prominently among them Patriotic Rolling Papers. Patriotics came in at least three varieties: American flags (so that you were burning the flag each time you smoked a joint); $100 bills (so that you were burning money); and draft cards (so that you were burning a draft card; unfortunately I never got a chance to buy a pack of the draft cards, so they aren’t in the collection).
Here are some ghosts from the past, and a few which have survived in one form or another to the present.
What were your favorite vintage papers? Why? Did you happen to save a pack?
“Big Bambu” wasn’t just a comedy album by Cheech & Chong. It was also a size of papers offered by the Bambu company.
Blanco y Negro = “White and Black”
For sheer beauty, it was hard to surpass the Cannabis Indica brand paper pack. Cannabis Indica papers were, appropriately enough, made from hemp fiber
Cherniak Cutsides offered perhaps the most uniquely shaped paper pack, due to the unusual shape of the papers themselves (the idea was to make it easier to roll a good joint)
I never was a big fan of flavored papers, but these Cooleaf papers were an exception to that rule.
I loved these things!
Yep, it’s true, boys and girls: In the late 70s you could put a hippie-type dude on the pack and call ’em “Joint Wides”
Whatever happened to upfront honesty about what was gonna become of those rolling papers?
Wonder what THESE are used for…? Interesting side note: See the upside down “Adams Apple” up near the top of the pack? Just a couple years, later, during the Reagan “Just Say No” crackdown on marijuana culture, “Adams Apple” became “Republic Tobacco Company” overnight. Sounded a lot less subversive then, didn’t it? Adams Apple/Republic Tobacco also made JOB rolling papers (by the way, if anybody tries to tell you they’re “J Diamond B’s,” they’ve been pronounced JOB since at least 1849).
Leaves: “The paper that gives you just the right space”
What did you do in the late 70s to take your pot party to that next level of wildness?
You used Leopard Skins, of course. Duh!
I always loved the subversive cultural message on One & A Half papers,
as well as that rockin’ pot garden
Wanna torch the American flag and a joint at the same time? Patriotic Papers had you covered
A statement against the excesses of capitalism or an endorsement of conspicuous consumption? Whatever the point, Patriotic Papers’ $100 bills let you burn weed AND money
Randy’s Insta Roach papers contained a wire reaching from end to end. The idea was to use the wire as a roach clip. Check out that stoned-ass roach bug that served as Insta Roach’s mascot…
One of the many attempts to help neophyte and unskilled joint-rollers were Rolling Pouch papers,
which had, yes, a little pouch to drop the dope into
If you were just too damn lazy to lick a paper, you could always use Stik-It, “The Only Self Sticking Rolling Paper.” But then you had to pull off the little tab covering the sticky part…