The cult of forgetting

Serene Lusano is the News & Review's creative director. She curated and guest-edited this 420 issue.

It was three years ago around this vividly green time when I read about the ease of procuring a medical marijuana card and purchasing legal weed (“Going legal” by Anthony Siino, 2015 420 Issue). It was then that I decided to extricate myself from the pharmaceutical industry of self-betterment, and instead set off on my own in the medical marijuana industry of self-discovery.

Like most people who go to a psychiatrist and actually tell the truth, I was prescribed a colorful variety of medications, all of which came with round-trip tickets back to the couch clutching a laundry list of terrifying and sometimes life-threatening side-effects. So with a small bounty of half-full pill bottles tucked away but a hurricane of concerns ever mounting, I started experimenting with marijuana in search of existential respite.

At first, I kept extensive spreadsheets to track strains and sensitivities, purchased expensive gadgets to remove the stigma of what I was doing and experienced a lot of confusion inextricably entwined with curiosity that has kept me enrapt and repacking for three years now.

These days I smoke neat little dry salads of median-priced herb out of a $5 glass pipe when I want to leave this existential plane for an hour or five, draw cartoons, and listen to what the Spotify algorithm feeds me.

This though is not a story of final respite, but very much a continual journey through my own subconscious at heightened sensitivity. There have been times I smoked myself into sideways hellscapes that mirror my most prescient horrors. I’ve seen vortexes emerge from paintings, felt friends turn into vitriolic enemies as we discussed identity politics, felt time move, jump and skip in a non-linear helix while a lover whispered freedom backward into my subconscious. One time I had $70 of Indian food delivered to my apartment and was afraid to answer the door when it arrived. I was everything I already was, turned up to 11, until after coming down, when it all seemed like a vague memory.

This year’s 420 Issue is packed with budbound content, as always, to sate your curiosity, your intellect and your giggle bones. Remember to drink water and don’t forget to laugh. We’ve got a lot of time on this rock, until we don’t.