High Femme: Queer Cannabis Culture and Edibles

Calling all Homoganjas!Let’s talk about anything and everything marijuana related, from legalization to pop culture to how to make your own bong using a box of Diva cups and a broken lamp.

Whether you’re a newbie who doesn’t know a blunt from a joint, or you’re planning your gay dream wedding to Mary Jane, this column is for you. Puff, Puff, Pass.

Header by Rory Midhani

High Femme_Rory Midhani_640px

Recently, I experienced an honest to goodness marijuana-induced epiphany. A real one, mind you, not a stoned whim like cookie dough cake or selling bagels outside my dorm room window to pay for school books. (Although I think there’s definitely something to that cake idea — will workshop it later.)

I was sitting in the vintage common room of a lovely fellow Straddler I had met on a few different occasions. She shared a rambling, ancient house with several other people in downtown Los Angeles, and though I’m several years out of college, I still appreciate the low-key, hippyish vibe of a co-op. The Straddler had started having a weekly series of hangouts where queers would get together to drink, smoke and talk. Sometimes there were board games, other times there were dance parties.

But back to my epiphany. As I exhaled, it struck me that my queerness and my love of marijuana were connected. Not just connected but woven together, like the ninth grade hemp bracelet that got me sent to detention. At the time, it seemed like a major violation of my First Amendment rights (as most things seem to a 14-year-old girl). I mean, I was just wearing the bracelet. There were girls in my grade who smoked theirs!

One girl in particular, who I’ll call Missy, didn’t just smoke her hemp bracelet. She smoked lawn grass and tree bark; she even smoked oregano one time, which she claimed gave her a “wicked high.” She had greasy hair and Doc Martens, which immediately meant she was the coolest person I knew. She was also my first girl kiss, and couched in the pretense of a dare, she pressed her teeth against mine. It was quick, clumsy and tasted like smoke and rebellion.

Weed continued to hang around my budding queerness; it followed me to college, where it lingered around poetry slams and straight girl flirtations. Weed played a prominent role in losing my girl-ginity to a fellow smoker. It also served to embarrass me, when I did edibles with the same girl and got so high I couldn’t find her vagina. Couldn’t. Find. Her. Vagina. Amazingly, not only did she continue to have sex with me, but she still talks to me to this day. Weed and women seemed to occupy the same side of my personality I desperately didn’t want people to know about. That clandestine, hidden away part of me that I felt was broken and unfixable. Because nice Jewish girls weren’t supposed to smoke weed or sleep with women. Or at least that’s what I thought.

When I came out of the closet/hot box, things started to change. Being queer wasn’t some secret identity I had to be ashamed of. I told one person. Then two. Then everyone. The dam had burst and the word was out: this girl likes girls and ganja! I felt the walls of my own making crumble around me and I embraced myself for who I was. Hallelujah. I was home.

There’s a few small sites of kinship between the fight for marijuana rights and LGBT rights. Both issues are still ignored and mistreated by the federal government, who would rather put the onus on individual states. And both issues are often the victims of poorly worded, deliberately confusing campaigns of misinformation and misrepresentation.

But the tide of public opinion changes slowly but steadily. That’s why  marijuana culture and politics are important to discuss, and the more we open these doors and let the smoke out (or in) the less threatening and mysterious these issues become.

Consider this column a key hole through which we can fall into a larger discussion of pot politics, smoking (hot) queers, hemp herstory and the like. So refresh your bong water, clean out your pipe, and bust out your rolling papers. You’re about to join a big queer online smoke circle. Take a seat and relax, we’ve been expecting you.

Where NOT To Be When Edibles Kick In

Even the most seasoned marijuana user will tell you that edibles — like straight girls and Southern weather — are fickle. Sometimes they wash over you gently like a calm tropical breeze. Other times, they knock you on your ass so hard you fall asleep for six hours and come to cuddling someone else’s cat. Then you will wake up more fully and realize you are not in your apartment. You’re in a barn and that cat you are cuddling is a baby goat. But she’s here, so we may as well give her a name. How about Doobie?

Because edibles hit everyone differently, there is no surefire way of knowing when the high is going to kick in. It could be ten minutes after you ate that brownie, or it could be 45 minutes before the after effects of your weed-infused kale salad kick into gear.

For this reason, if you are doing edibles, make a plan for yourself. If you are going to stay at home watching cartoons, then congratulations. You know how to do edibles. If you are going to see the New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys reunion show, then make sure you have a sober friend there to shuttle you to and from the concert and keep an eye on your tripping ass.

The following are the top ten places you do NOT want to be when the edibles kick in. Write these down in the margins of your Alice B. Toklas Cook Book and try to avoid them at all costs.

1. An avant-garde experimental theater production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children.

2. A serious discussion about the future of your relationship (marriage, kids, joint bank accounts and puppies) with your sober significant other.

3. Up to your knees in mud in the middle of a dried up lake because you thought it was a shortcut to that amazing house party.

4. Mother’s Day brunch at the Sheraton while explaining why you changed your college major from Engineering to Philosophy. Also, you are wearing a silk dress shirt from Banana Republic that highlights (hehe, high) your sweat stains.

5. Defending your dissertation on the benefits of medical marijuana usage before a board of professors and your peers.

6. Trapped on the treadmill at the gym because you forgot how to get off the damn thing. It’s just you, the pounding of your sneakers, and that Road Rules marathon on the gym TV.

7. Meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time at the church Sunday social. Did I mention you are meeting them as one of her “friends”? She specifically asked you not to mention any gay stuff but suddenly you need to know everyone’s theories on who shot Jenny from the grassy knoll. That’s how that thing happened, right pastor? Silk dress shirt makes a repeat appearance.

8. Watching The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. You will be paranoid and inappropriate, but think that people can’t hear you because of your “locked-in syndrome”.

9. During your pitch proposal in the board meeting when you decided to beef up your Power Point presentation with music from Ani DiFranco and star sweeps between each slide.

10. When you run into your totally together ex-girlfriend at Ralph’s shopping for organic tomatoes with her cute new girlfriend. Cute new girlfriend looks clean and her clothes are definitely ironed. You are braless, wearing a Ninja Turtles cutoff tee, and buying three different kinds of white chocolate.

And as a bonus, four words, one great place to be when the edibles kick in:

PEDRO. ALMODOVAR. MOVIE. MARATHON. You’ll thank me later.

Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” column exists for individual queer ladies to tell their own personal stories and share compelling experiences. These personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

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Chelsea Steiner was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, where she works as a screenwriter/blogger/sex educator. She's the writer/director of Thank You Come Again, a queer sex positive web series based on her experiences working the Pleasure Chest, which you can follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She’s obsessed with dachshunds, Buffy, 90's dance parties, and roller derby. She loves the word "Jewess" and wishes more people used it to describe her. Follow her ramblings on Twitter and her cute puppy pics on Instagram.

Chelsea has written 46 articles for us.


  1. good post, hilarious anecdotes! thought i’d mention that for me edibles take a lot longer than i’d expect. the first time i tried them i had a cupcake, didn’t feel anything, had another an hour later, didn’t feel anything… then an hour or so after that it hit me suddenly
    same thing now, although i’ve learned that i should wait longer before deciding to eat more. it usually takes me at least an hour and a half to feel any effects. digestion takes a while, after all

  2. (1) I think being high during an avant-garde experimental theater production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children would be AMAZING.

    (2) I kind of resent that queerness is intersecting with cannabis culture as you describe. I’m not a lesbian because I’m alternative to anything (straight culture, sober culture), I’m a lesbian because I’m attracted to women. I consider myself queer, I guess, but it’s not my culture. (My culture is probably librarian culture, honestly.) I like seeing representations of myself in the media (Hello, PLL recaps and Grey’s!) but I’m not about to get an alternative lifestyle haircut. I’m mainstream. I want LGBT to be mainstream, too. I think cannabis culture conflicts with this.

    Did this make any sense? If you’re into queer culture, more power to you, but I don’t think it’s for me. Is this post the type that can foster worthwhile discussion?

    • Yeah, my (small handful of) queer friends and I are pretty mainstream, too. I don’t know if I really resent that marijuana use and ALH’s and other “alternative” things are considered part of queer culture, but I do often feel ambivalent about seeking out more queer friends because of the reasons you mentioned. However, I just did a quick lit search out of curiosity, and there does seem to be a correlation between sexuality and substance use, so I’m guessing this article/series will be relevant for a lot of people and could prompt some great discussions.

    • I like the article, and I think the cultural relationship is very significant. Just because it doesn’t apply to you doesn’t mean it can’t foster worthwhile discussion.

      I’ve gotta say it–I don’t really like the flavor of these here comments. You ‘guess’ you ID as queer but you would never get an alternative-lifestyle haircut? You’re queer but you don’t want more queer friends? That all sounds a lot like internalized homoshaming. So those of us who do get into queer culture aren’t ‘normal’?–and I see that you are equating normal with acceptable? I don’t get it. What is normal? And what is the obsession with appearing normal? There is nothing wrong with being queer. And by virtue of living in a heteronormative society, being queer by definition isn’t mainstream. The point of queer culture is to break down and challenge those underlying assumptions about sexuality and gender. We should be embracing our whole selves and exploring our identities free of mainstream constraints, not continuing to shame ourselves needlessly with them. Also, who says you can’t be a part of more than one culture? I want to be a part of many different cultures; it enriches me as an individual.

      Anyway, Chelsea, I really enjoyed your article. Keep up the good work!

      • Woah there. I’m not shaming anyone, including myself. I suppose what I really resent is that being a homo (or a bi) is equated with being counter-culture. And there’s nothing wrong with being counter-culture, or with being politically queer (heavens no), but it’s not for me. I work for the US government. I have a non-alternative haircut. I like being a part of mainstream culture. I just don’t want the fact that I’m attracted to women to interfere with me being a part of mainstream culture.

        Oh, and side note, when I asked if this post could foster worthwhile discussion, I meant my own comment, not the article as a whole. I realize that was unclear in what I wrote, and I’m sorry. The reason I added that to the end of my comment is that I realize that I’m likely in the minority on Autostraddle with my opinions, and I hoped my opinion would foster a good discussion.

        I don’t appreciate being told that I’m shaming anyone, especially myself. I spent enough time shaming myself for being gay, and then shaming myself for not being queer enough, that I’m very happy with where I’ve landed in society. I’m living the life I want, girlfriend and all. I don’t need to prove I’m queer enough by smoking weed or getting an ALH.

        Oh, and maybe Stephanie doesn’t seek out more queer friends because she gets attacked for voicing her opinions on queer culture. Just a thought.

        • Seconded. And Caitlin, “ambivalent” means “to have mixed feelings about,” which in my case means I DO want more queer friends but am afraid I won’t fit in with them because liking the ladies is about as counter-culture as I get. I think queer culture is great and I love that I can identify with some parts of it in my personal life and read about other parts of it here without having to partake. I enjoyed this particular article and I will probably read more like it in the future. I guess I just wanted to back up Christy’s original statement that not every queer person’s sexuality and marijuana use are woven together as the author describes.

  3. Autostraddle, why are you so great?
    Chelsea, I really really really
    wish you were my flatmate.
    But seriously….
    What was in that cookie I just ate?

  4. weed and girl love in the same conversation! it took me so much longer to come out as queer because of how much time i spent saying, “nah i’m straight, just really baked.” plus the stigma of both kept me from talking about anything i was feeling. thank you for this article!

  5. “It also served to embarrass me, when I did edibles with the same girl and got so high I couldn’t find her vagina. Couldn’t. Find. Her. Vagina. ”

    I just woke up and I laughed so hard at this. Thanks. I really needed that this morning.

  6. The avant-garde Mother Courage made me LOL so much I started choking on my sandwich. So thanks for that

    I trip ballz when I eat weed things, and always just very small amounts. Never watch Fargo after eating an edible. For reals. Steve Buscemi starts to look reeeeally scary.

    And you’re right, short-cuts to parties seem to happen. My friend and I were feeling the effects of a brownie and cutting through a forested neighborhood and we were pretty sure we were in Pan’s Labyrinth. Fun times

  7. I’m sitting here on the M11 bus grinning like an intoxicated hyena! Can one get a contact high from an essay?

  8. This is relevant to all of my interests. Also how does one get an invite to these DTLA straddler hang outs?

    Also, word to the wise: almost every bad edible story I’ve heard starts with “So I took an edible and didn’t feel anything after an hour so I ate another”. Do not be this person.

    • Haven’t we all been THAT person at one time or another? Awkward first edible experiences are almost as common as awkward first girl-time experiences. And who doesn’t know allllll about those?

      This article is amazing btw

  9. The thing that really got me about this article is that I actually went from an engineering degree plan to a liberal arts degree with a concentration in philosophy haha Ah, there’s no other place that gets me like Autostraddle. I live in the deep south so the greeenery is a tad more taboo here than other places. What I mean by taboo is everyone smokes but no one acknowledges that anyone smokes…if that makes sense. The hypocrisy of this area knows no bounds.
    As far as it being intertwined with general queer culture I definitely agree. It’s rare that I find a lesbian around here that doesn’t toke up. Or hell, I rarely find ANYONE in the LGBT community that doesn’t gets stoned every now and then.

  10. I want to shout it from the rooftops “I like girls and ganja,” no wait I need this on a Tshirt! No wait I need this as a tattoo!!! No wait I’m high and too lazy to do any of the above!!! *high fives* to all my fellow homoganjas!

  11. I am extremely honored to be one of the mystery women referenced in this. Chelsea, you are amazing and hilarious as usual.

  12. The pun on ‘high femme’ is killing me. There’s nothing I love more than queer weed puns.

    Also this feels like an appropriate place to put this:

  13. I was kind of high when I met my ex bffs family for the first time. Her mother is a by the book Jewish Latina, which can be a bit intimidating. So, it’s kind of like number 7, but different.

  14. Ohhhh edibles…another place to mention not wanting them to kick in would be on the interstate on the way to a family dinner. I don’t think I ever ate more or talked less…

  15. I’m in favor of making it legal and using hemp as a natural resource. But don’t care to partake in any smoking or however people ingest it. I don’t drink either so… More power to ya

  16. Is it a coincidence that this was published the same day there is a federal hearing going about Washington state and the legal cannabis there.

    p.s. the word Weed sounds like a high school word, and find that cannabis classes things up a bit.

  17. I’ve never identified as a high femme more so than I do now!!!

    I would be so so down to throw board game homoganja get togethers in Brooklyn, just need people to come!

  18. I’m pretty sure it was queers who showed me that stoners are not all necessarily annoying bro-dudes, and that lounging on the couch eating cheese and watching movies is quality time.

    …and now I have to call someone to make edibles and Daria happen.

  19. Awkward First Time Edibles Story Time!
    My roommate brought me a brownie for my birthday at about midnight on my birthday. We split it, and put on the Big Lebowski while we waited for it to kick in. She went to bed after about an hour, saying she didn’t feel anything. I stayed up another hour until the movie finished, then went to bed. LITERALLY as my head hit the pillow and I started to fall asleep, it kicked in. I had lots of quasi-half-awake-dreams about flying through space and sailing on a ship in the 1700s…

    • I’m not gonna lie…edibles before we arrived at the Grand Canyon caused me to cry like a little girl and ponder Native American ways of travel through the canyon. When I say cry like a little girl I mean I bawled for a good bit lol IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL

  20. i had my first hit when i was really young. 12 i think, my parents are cigarette chain smokers and i saw no difference between them smoking cigarettes and me smoking my first hit. it was no big deal to me when my friend asked me to roll with him. my friend was planting it under his bed. he would bring it out in the morning, put it next to the window and let the sun shine on to it. he would sprinkle water to it like it’s an ordinary plant. in the evening, he would then hide it again under his bed. we smoked the leaves but not the seeds. he preserved the seeds and planted it again for future consumption. i graduated from there, i don’t roll that way anymore but it was fun when i was young.

  21. Ah this is the best :) I’ve always found that being a stoner has set me apart from the queer community, so it’s nice to see some love.

  22. Also not-the-best-time/but-simultaneously-most-amazing-time to have some edibles: when your entire soccer teams eats some brownies before your game and you eat four, but have nothing else to eat that day.

    The game itself was awesome, the mad paranoia from tripping after the game was not :(

  23. Chelsea totally attended one of my avant garde theatre productions high! Which leads me to believe that 1 through 10 are all True Life: High Femme Stories. I love this article and Chelsea. <3

  24. Thanks so much for reading my article! Straddlers are the best kind of people and I’m crazy thrilled to be writing for you! Does this mean I’ll get more than five Twitter followers? I’m so effing excited.

    Also Jaffe, not all of those examples are true! But yeah, some of them…extremely true…I’m sorry I don’t apologize.

  25. Also, I love the term “homoganjas”. It sounds like a magical island teeming with fat blunts and coconut bras. Sign me up.

    XOXO GanjaGirl

  26. In regards to edibles, Amsterdam really has that figured out. It’s like the first time you have your first revelatory vegan dessert,and it’s so lush and rich. OMG, and the sleepy buzz, delightful.
    The other best edible I had was a banana cake at New Years Eve party it was green,like zucchini bread but yummy and sweet in taste and in buzz.

    Homoganjas unite!

  27. My favorite edibles story of all time: on my last night in LA visiting a friend I had a bit of a cookie around 8 PM and then we drove around Venice and looked at the canals, went and walked on the beach (where a crab pinched my foot…I think), and then dropped my still-high-as-fuck ass off at LAX at 11 PM. I have noooo idea how I made it through TSA. Literally. I remember next to nothing the process of getting from the car and to the airplane.

    Best. Vacation. Ever.

  28. This is such a good article. Edibles are amazing and this touches on all the reasons i love them, thanks for writing!

  29. I love edibles, they are so good for any culture! So many benefits to strong edibles, avoid the smoking and just eat the good stuff. I alwasy find the strongest edibles are the best, I love buying them online in Canada.

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