Brought to You By… Pt.1

Don’t believe for a second your stoner friends spend less than you just because they stay in Friday night while you drop $14 on a drink to get some stranger’s attention. Between gear and comforts, there’s a whole industry devoted to servicing the suburban weed demon. Grinders, backpacks, pieces, Doritos Locos, skateboard trucks, bottle opener flip flops, Dutches, Arizona Ice Tea, eye drops, Netflix subscriptions, ashtrays, papes, Christmas lights, Vans, tobacco, filters, lighters, more Dutches; shit adds up. Factor in that Call of Duty releases a new title every year, and, ya know, the actual cost of dro, and you have a pretty extravagant lifestyle.

Of course, where there’s money and diluted senses, there will always be businesses jostling to make a buck. The fact that weed remains mostly illegal hasn’t deterred ad execs one bit from trying to subtly infiltrate the “subculture.” And what’s the best way to communicate with a group that you’re afraid to be seen with? Use a messenger. Or, in this case, a rapper.

The situation: In March, 2010, a group known as The Smokers Club debuted at SXSX. Members included stoned speechless droolers such as Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa, and Smoke DZA as well as more lucid acts like the Black Hippy collective and Big K.R.I.T. Noticing a preponderance of Rap Genius pages popping up when they Googled themselves (or perhaps sensing a bond with a man who once released an album dedicated to their product), the rolling paper company Raw decided to cosign this posse of America’s Most Blunted for a regular tour. Today, The Smokers’ Club has broadened its palette some, bringing aboard wannabe oldheads and even an official Wu-Tang headbanger. Basically, anyone the under-18 set nods (then nods off) to while rolling a spliff.

The upshot: This shouldn’t be such a big deal, but I respect Raw for admitting they’re aware what people use their product for. Also, I’m down with advancing the notion of concert spaces as neutral turf in the Drug War. Promoters who feel otherwise are just hypocrites. Finally, it’s nice to see someone’s looking out for Slim Thug. I worry about him sometimes.

The downside: The limited edition Curren$y ashtray may have been a step too far. We get it: drug rug-clad weed smokers are just as brand-conscious as everybody else. No need to make them rub their ash in it.

The verdict: It’s healthy to be wary of businesses that claim your behaviors, attitudes, and especially your drugs. After all, marijuana began it’s long ascent toward public acceptance over fifty years ago as a sacrament in a militantly anti-consumer counterculture. But last year two states legalized pot and surveys continue to show more and more Americans condoning its use. Meanwhile, the last three presidents have all but admitted to getting high behind the bleachers. Pot’s basically in the tribe at this point. So in sponsoring The Smoker’s Club, Raw isn’t co-opting any youth movement, it’s reaching out to an increasingly affluent demographic that will soon have it’s own cutesy, one-size-fits-all marketing label. Dollared dropouts? Reunion-weekend tokers?

Follow Luke Hopping on Twitter at @lukeylaserdisc