All photos courtesy of @WhereYouSmoke
@WhereYouSmoke sprouted in a moment shared between a spliff and the great outdoors. Run by an anonymous artist who grew up in LA, the Instagram account and online platform celebrates cannabis lovers who like to light up alongside Mother Nature.
Each week, we’ve asked @WhereYouSmoke to share a few favorite Instagram uploads with MERRY JANE, and so far it’s been trip after trip to photographic cloud nine. For this week’s edition, we decided to spotlight smokers who live in states and countries where weed is currently illegal, or legislation is about to change, including Canada and Israel. Before we dive into the smoking snaps, @WhereYouSmoke wanted to share this story of a friend who got in trouble with the law:
During my first month in New York, around 2010, I got arrested for smoking weed in public. I was at a concert with some older friends, and after it ended we wanted to keep the party going. We went outside the venue and around the corner, and then someone brought out a bowl and less than a gram of weed. The crew sat against a building and lit up, but things shortly turned sour. Within moments of taking my first hit from the pipe, a taxi cab pulled up in front of us. Four muscular men got out, including the driver, and I immediately hid our stuff beneath my legs (remember, there was a wall behind us and nowhere to properly ditch the stash).
The men walked up to us and flashed their badges — these weren’t your average cab passengers, after all. The cops asked us to stand up and saw the bowl and weed. They asked who it belonged to, and since I was with older friends and the stash belonged to a girl I had a crush on, I said it was all mine. The cops immediately cuffed me and put me in the cab as my friends started freaking out. In the car, squished between two meat-headed pigs, I asked why they were in an unmarked cab and why they were using their resources to arrest me for a pinch of weed. They said they were looking for someone else in the neighborhood, but I happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. They couldn’t let me go with a fine because I had paraphernalia — this was before New York had decriminalized weed, I believe.
I had to spend hours and hours in the cell until my information was processed in Albany. The cops were pretty neutral about the whole thing — I remember them casually saying I could be stuck in the precinct all weekend if the paperwork wasn’t processed. The whole time I was in the cell, I didn’t beat myself up for the charge and arrest. It was dumb that we were smoking with a bowl in public, but we weren’t being conspicuous or cocky. We were on a side street and not in plain view. Plus, who would have expected four undercover cops to materialize from a cab and stop a bunch of hipsters for taking a couple hits? Instead, I kept thinking about how backwards the legal stance towards weed was in the state, and how I was lucky that this was my first offense. The thought kept turning over and over in my brain: what a fucking waste of police resources. The charge was ultimately expunged, and it hasn’t come back to haunt me yet (*knocks on wood*). I still smoke in public around the city, but I’ll never use a bowl out in the open again.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Photo Taken at the Top of Coliseum Mountain in Alberta, Canada
@WhereYouSmoke: Where was this photo taken?
@cass_master: I took this photo on May 20th, 2017 at the top of Coliseum Mountain, just North West of Nordegg, Alberta. My boyfriend and I decided to do the three hour hike to crest this mountain, but we weren't doing it without a little joint for the top. The day was hot, with very little wind. There was still snow at the top in places, and we would throw snowballs at each other to stay cool. Once we found a perfect view of the snow covered Rockies, we set up my hammock on the side of the mountain, and sparked our well-deserved doob.
What’s the thing you find most special about smoking with Mother Nature?
Smoking in nature is the safest, quietest, most peaceful feeling there is. I feel more connected to the outdoors when I smoke in places like this, because it allows me to slow down and admire every small detail of what's around me. I become more appreciative of nature and it's effortless beauty. In my post-secondary schooling, I'm actually studying Environmental Science. I find myself applying what I've learned in school when I see different rocks, soils, and plants while smoking amongst Mother Nature. I point at something and say, "That's Arcostaphylos uva-ursi, look at its pretty flowers!" My boyfriend laughs and keeps walking, but it's my happy place.
What is the weed culture like where you’re from, with laws in Canada now beginning to shift?
Weed culture where I'm from is definitely a growing lifestyle. In high school, I was "a little punk" for smoking marijuana. Now, everyone is giving it a go. It is easy to access high quality weed here, most of which comes straight from British Columbia. Since I've started smoking, the laws have remained the same until recently, when Trudeau proposed a bill to make the use of recreational marijuana legal in Canada. Although still in its early stages, I believe by this time next year, cannabis will be legal. The only trouble I've ever been in was from my mother. I personally have never been in trouble with the law, but that's because I like to smoke in places like my picture above!
Photo Taken in Goblin Valley State Park, Utah
@WhereYouSmoke: Where was this photo taken?
@harvestrayne: Over Thanksgiving break, my sister and I visited our aunt and her family. On this particular day my sister, my cousin, and I road tripped to Goblin Valley State Park and went for a hike. Smoking the entire ride up, the first views and rock formations were incredible. I obviously brought along my 7pipe to enhance the rest of the experience. This photo was taken during our first smoke break on the hike, after we proceeded to scale a mountain and came across a rock wall dead end. The day consisted of steady adventure in which mary jane served as the perfect accompaniment. The ride out of the mountains was just as beautiful as the rest of what we had witnessed that day — the winding road through the inside of those valleys was totally mesmerizing.
Where’s your favorite place to light up?
My favorite place to smoke is outside. Whether I am sitting on my porch, or in the middle of the woods, the fresh air changes everything. I am not sure if it makes me feel more connected with nature… but it makes me appreciate my surroundings. Ideally, I would smoke a joint in a hammock while surrounded by trees, with a view of the ocean, and the sound of waves crashing.
What’s the weed culture like in Utah?
I am shameless about my consumption of THC, meaning I smoke where I want, when I want, with no fear of consequences. Although everyone else from my area may not have that same reckless attitude, I would say about 7/10 people I know smoke on a daily to weekly basis. Weed is easy to buy off the streets, and is often dispensary quality since medical marijuana is legal in my home state.
Ever gotten in trouble for marijuana?
I have never gotten in trouble for smoking, but I have been on the cusp. During my freshman year of college, a few friends and I were smoking in one of the guys’ dorm rooms. Our RA usually did rounds around 11, and it was nearing that time. Before we knew it, there was a knock on the door. Although my friend had taken precautions — wet towel under the door, duct tape around the outer border of the door to seal in the smell — the loud had somehow reached the hallway. Due to my shot-ass memory, I don't remember exactly what happened next, but after I proved to the RA that I resided in the building I wasn't held responsible for any of the illegal actions. Other than that I have gotten off pretty easy in all of my smoking experiences, but knock on wood, I definitely don't want to jinx that.
What’s one of your favorite things to do once you’re stoned?
My favorite thing to do after I smoke, besides eating, would 100% be swimming. I love that shit. Whether I am in a jacuzzi, or swimming pool, or the ocean, water = happiness. Like I mentioned, the only thing more enjoyable is stuffing my face with pizza/sushi/ice cream. Ultimately eating any of those things, while submerged in some water, and simultaneously smoking a joint, sounds like cloud nine to me.
Photo Taken Near Kiriat Haim, Israel
@WhereYouSmoke: Where was this photo taken?
@nahalghadd: The photo was taken in a nice place 20 minutes from my home near a river. It’s not a very known place, and that’s exactly what I love about it cause it’s always quiet. I love getting high with my friends and going to a party or just chilling, but my favorite thing to do is just go to that place, light a nice joint, pick up my notebook and pen, and just draw with some music in the background — maybe bring my husky for a walk. There is something about it that just gets me so relaxed and happy and relieves me of all the stress I internalized during the week. I don’t worry about smoking outside.
What is weed culture like in Israel? Is weed easy/safe to access?
If I had to guess, I think about 30% of people between the ages of 16-25 smoke weed in Israel. I don’t know about older people. Up until a year ago, if you got caught smoking/buying/selling/holding weed you would be arrested, assuming you didn’t have medical permission for it. Fortunately, the government decided to change that by decriminalizing weed. Now, if you’re caught with weed, you only have to pay a fine of 1000 shekel (which is about $250 US) the first time you’re caught. The fine doubles to 2000 shekel the second time you’re caught, and the police get involved if you’re caught a third time. That may not be much, but at least we're on the right track to legalization (I hope).
Getting good weed is hard in Israel because the only good bud is medical. Some dealers have access to it — and the ones who do are far from my town so I have to drive to the nearest city to buy weed. It’s also very expensive here, like really expensive for what you get. One gram of weed costs 100 shekel ($30) and sometimes it’s not that good. In other countries, weed at this price is usually an incredible strain or something, but here you don’t know what you’re buying. We don’t have Purple Kush or Super Silver Haze (which is amazing — I tried it in Amsterdam) We just buy what the dealer has and hope for the best [laughs].
Do you think weed will ever be entirely legal in Israel?
I think weed will be legal someday just because it’s becoming legal around the world. People just have to understand that it’s not that bad. I hate it when people call weed a “drug.” Cocaine is a drug, crystal meth is a drug — weed is just not in that category. I actually think that if weed is illegal, then alcohol should be, too. Alcohol causes violence and illness and you can die if you drink too much, while weed doesn’t have the same inherent risks. You could never smoke to the point of overdosing.
May we ask why you’ve chosen to stay anonymous?
I chose to stay anonymous because I serve in the military (not out of choice — you have to in Israel) and if you get caught using marijuana in the military then you automatically go to prison. So yeah, this fucking sucks. Long story short, weed is AWESOME and I hope we’re getting closer to legalization because it’s taking too long!
If you like to photograph your outdoor smoking adventures, check out the submission page at www.whereyousmoke.com. And follow @WhereYouSmoke on Instagram.