If there’s one thing the U.S. government is good at, it’s collecting information. From the NSA to the CIA to the FBI, the feds are like vacuum cleaners, sucking up every bit of data they can find. All this information, this stuff, can be put to any number of uses. Sometimes it’s used to save lives. Sometimes the government does unintentionally hilarious things with it.
Did you know, for example, that the office of the U.S. drug czar keeps a public list of every slang term ever used to describe marijuana, everything except “marijuana” itself? Why would the government do such a thing, you ask? Do cops, teachers, and parents really need to stay informed on every one of the more than 2,300 street terms for weed (including “weed”)? Apparently, nobody has a good answer. Still, the list makes for great reading. You may soon find yourself asking your dealer for a dime bag of “Mary Warner,” a “jive stock,” or a lid of “sweet Lucy.”
So here, in no particular order, are five of the most creative names ever devised for cannabis – at least according to the narcs. But remember: This is just the tip of the 420 iceberg.
1. Black Mote
Do you take your coffee with four or more lumps of sugar? Do you crave pancakes and syrup as much as you crave weed? Would you go to any lengths to bring the two together? Then the black mote – weed mixed with honey – is your thing. Plus, only hardcore stoners will know what you’re talking about, and isn’t that the point?
“Pothead” and “stoner” are fine most of the time, but they get a little tired. Wouldn’t you rather think of yourself as a deadly snake? This term has real history – it arose from the jazz scene in the 1930s, when Stuff Smith released his hit single, “If You’re a Viper.” It was one of the earliest songs about marijuana use, and it’s been covered countless times since.
3. Manhattan Silver
You know those alligators that wind up in New York City sewers? Well, this term describes the marijuana version of that myth. Supposedly, a certain, special kind of weed results when cannabis seeds are flushed down the toilet. Deep in the sewers, Manhattan silver grows untended and produces buds that are silver because of the lack of sunlight. Actually, the story was a hoax dreamed up in the mid-1960s. But more than a few people have fallen for it, and the name remains long after the legend.
4. Square Mackerel
Leave it to Floridians to give pot a fish-based name. You may not hear this regionalism anywhere else on Earth, so use it often to convince others you know more about weed than they do.
This one goes back. Way back. Loco-weed was first used as a term for cannabis before the drug was ever made illegal – and not long after the Spanish term “marihuana” first entered the English language. “Loco-weed” was still in common usage at least as late as the 1940s. Today the term is used to describe other plants, including the hallucinogenic Jimson weed and the Oxtytropis and Astragalus flowers. But once upon a time, it meant exactly what you’d think it meant: “Crazy Weed.” Spot on.