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I’ve loved the culture of cannabis for a long time now. Not long after I first started smoking weed back in 1977, I started collecting rolling paper packs, and kept adding to the collection for roughly the first decade of my stonerdom.

Wonder of wonders, it turns out the collection survived for 30 years and, thanks to my sister Lynda to mailing it from Alabama, it now returns to the light of day. It was very much like opening a time capsule to again see these little relics of a bygone era.

Upon viewing the collection of 50-plus varieties of rolling papers — many of which are no longer available, or at least no longer being manufactured — I thought about how the tides of social change, i.e. weed culture, rolled across America in the late 70s, only to be turned back in the early 80s during the “Just Say No” Reagan years.

The change was very pronounced. It the late 70s it became perfectly fine to have brands of rolling papers called “Joint Wides” and “Reefer Rollers;” nobody thought twice about naming a brand of wraps “Insta Roach” or “4:20,” or calling them “Leaves” and putting a big ol’ cannabis plant on the pack.

Another sign of the times were the “social protest” types of rolling papers, prominently among them Patriotic Rolling Papers. Patriotics came in at least three varieties: American flags (so that you were burning the flag each time you smoked a joint); $100 bills (so that you were burning money); and draft cards (so that you were burning a draft card; unfortunately I never got a chance to buy a pack of the draft cards, so they aren’t in the collection).

Here are some ghosts from the past, and a few which have survived in one form or another to the present.

What were your favorite vintage papers? Why? Did you happen to save a pack?

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"Big Bambu" wasn't just a comedy album by Cheech & Chong. It was also a size of papers offered by the Bambu company.

“Big Bambu” wasn’t just a comedy album by Cheech & Chong. It was also a size of papers offered by the Bambu company.

Blanco y Negro = "White and Black"

Blanco y Negro = “White and Black”

For sheer beauty, it was hard to surpass the Cannabis Indica brand paper pack. Cannabis Indica papers were, appropriately enough, made from hemp fiber

For sheer beauty, it was hard to surpass the Cannabis Indica brand paper pack. Cannabis Indica papers were, appropriately enough, made from hemp fiber

Cherniak Cutsides offered perhaps the most uniquely shaped paper pack, due to the unusual shape of the papers themselves (the idea was to make it easier to roll a good joint)

Cherniak Cutsides offered perhaps the most uniquely shaped paper pack, due to the unusual shape of the papers themselves (the idea was to make it easier to roll a good joint)

I never was a big fan of flavored papers, but these Cooleaf papers were an exception to that rule. I loved these things!

I never was a big fan of flavored papers, but these Cooleaf papers were an exception to that rule.
I loved these things!

Yep, it's true, boys and girls: In the late 70s you could put a hippie-type dude on the pack and call 'em "Joint Wides"

Yep, it’s true, boys and girls: In the late 70s you could put a hippie-type dude on the pack and call ‘em “Joint Wides”

Whatever happened to upfront honesty about what was gonna become of those rolling papers?

Whatever happened to upfront honesty about what was gonna become of those rolling papers?

Wonder what THESE are used for...? Interesting side note: See the upside down "Adams Apple" up near the top of the pack? Just a couple years, later, during the Reagan "Just Say No" crackdown on marijuana culture, "Adams Apple" became "Republic Tobacco Company" overnight. Sounded a lot less subversive then, didn't it? Adams Apple/Republic Tobacco also made JOB rolling papers (by the way, if anybody tries to tell you they're "J Diamond B's," they've been pronounced JOB since at least 1849).

Wonder what THESE are used for…? Interesting side note: See the upside down “Adams Apple” up near the top of the pack? Just a couple years, later, during the Reagan “Just Say No” crackdown on marijuana culture, “Adams Apple” became “Republic Tobacco Company” overnight. Sounded a lot less subversive then, didn’t it? Adams Apple/Republic Tobacco also made JOB rolling papers (by the way, if anybody tries to tell you they’re “J Diamond B’s,” they’ve been pronounced JOB since at least 1849).

Leaves: "The paper that gives you just the right space"

Leaves: “The paper that gives you just the right space”

What did you do in the late 70s to take your pot party to that next level of wildness? You used Leopard Skins, of course. Duh!

What did you do in the late 70s to take your pot party to that next level of wildness?
You used Leopard Skins, of course. Duh!

I always loved the subversive cultural message on One & A Half papers, as well as that rockin' pot garden

I always loved the subversive cultural message on One & A Half papers,
as well as that rockin’ pot garden

Wanna torch the American flag and a joint at the same time? Patriotic Papers had you covered

Wanna torch the American flag and a joint at the same time? Patriotic Papers had you covered

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A statement against the excesses of capitalism or an endorsement of conspicuous consumption? Whatever the point, Patriotic Papers' $100 bills let you burn weed AND money

A statement against the excesses of capitalism or an endorsement of conspicuous consumption? Whatever the point, Patriotic Papers’ $100 bills let you burn weed AND money

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Randy's Insta Roach papers contained a wire reaching from end to end. The idea was to use the wire as a roach clip. Check out that stoned-ass roach bug that served as Insta Roach's mascot...

Randy’s Insta Roach papers contained a wire reaching from end to end. The idea was to use the wire as a roach clip. Check out that stoned-ass roach bug that served as Insta Roach’s mascot…

One of the many attempts to help neophyte and unskilled joint-rollers were Rolling Pouch papers, which had, yes, a little pouch to drop the dope into

One of the many attempts to help neophyte and unskilled joint-rollers were Rolling Pouch papers,
which had, yes, a little pouch to drop the dope into

If you were just too damn lazy to lick a paper, you could always use Stik-It, "The Only Self Sticking Rolling Paper." But then you had to pull off the little tab covering the sticky part...

If you were just too damn lazy to lick a paper, you could always use Stik-It, “The Only Self Sticking Rolling Paper.” But then you had to pull off the little tab covering the sticky part…

Hi, Marina! ;-)

Hi, Marina! ;-)

  • http://www.mernagh.ca Matt Mernagh

    awesome!! i love vintage and of course vintage marijuana items. i’ve never met anyone who has had a rolling paper collection. a true stoner! now you create the culture of cannabis. keep on toking.

  • ada grant

    oh my lord…how I remember the pink papers. that was the shit. we wanted everyone to know we were smoking a joint lol then the ones with the wires in them. hell I would still use those. thanks so much for the memories. I have to admit I have happly used just about all of them. again thanks for the flashback. ps once stoned threw out a joint thank god in pink paper we were able to go back and find it. lololol

  • Dabber Dan

    Damm, so did the Cutsides live up to their promise?

    You should post some pics of your pipe(s)/bong(s) collection, I know you have to have something, you couldnt possibly be smoking all joints all day, your fingers would bleed with all the Afgoo your smoking lol

  • http://LyndaLand.blogspot.com/ Lynda M O

    Still using the same kind I have been since 1984-hard to find but worth the search. I buy them $20 worth at a time. Hand the clerk a twenty and tell him/her , “I want however many pkgs of Top papers that will buy me.” I usually wind up with a dozen or more packs of 100 papers/pack. Lasts a good long time since I vaporize unless alone in the car. I remember the wired ones-they were slick and a great idea if the wire wasn’t toxic metal when hot. Learned to roll with a dollar bill around the paper-worked great. When I began rolling cigarettes is when I really got the hang of rolling joints. Using the same papers for both kept life simple; after I quit buying tobacco-same old same old.

  • Les Paul Marshall

    I forgot about some of those, the Blanco’s were very good. Some I’d never seen. Thank you.

  • dano

    damn cuz! i’ve probably smoked out of most of them. nice collection. sweet…

  • LINDA

    OMG how awesome,I remember all of them well back in the day and have smoked most all of them.I really feel old now!lol

  • thebeardman

    That is so cool. Wish I would have saved some. I smoked mine all up…lol.

  • Dee Kottkamp

    I remember a lot of these. We had strawberry chocolate alfalfa. Lol I’m not sure why I bought alfalfa but I did., My favorite was the psychedelic papers… so pretty.

  • http://www.mojomoon.net/ J Licciardi Martinez

    Wow! Very cool! LOVED Randy’s insta roach and the patriotic red, white & blue papers back in the day. We were burning those like crazy during the Bicentennial. Also remember the ones that looked like a cigarette to fool the cops? lol! Thanks for the memories! Still smoking today. Love the Juicy Jay’s line of papers nowadays.

  • stacey charter

    What an amazing collection. I think my favorites are the leapord print. Styling.

  • tspeak

    My favorite rolling papers from back in the day were those Rainbow rolling papers…I don’t know if they’re available these days…

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