James Delingpole James Delingpole

The grim reefer

What do you get when you prohibit cannabis? Skunk. And, says James Delingpole, the hybrid dope is driving people crazy

They say that if you can remember where it was you had your first skunk, you probably haven’t been smoking enough. But I can, quite distinctly. It was at the party of the daughter of a well-known literary agent, in the basement of their house in Notting Hill; the year, give or take, was 1991 and I was just getting ready to leave – having failed to pull again, probably – when I was stopped in my tracks by the most extraordinary smell. Skunk is called skunk for a very good reason: because it, smells exactly, but exactly, like skunk.

I didn’t know this in 1991. We were all skunk virgins then – apart, that is, from the groovy trustafarian dude I could see across the room, smoking in what appeared to be the epicentre of that intense, skunky smell. ‘Aha,’ I thought. ‘He’ll be the man, then.’ Because I’d already heard quite a bit about this skunk stuff from several of my fellow guests who’d tried some earlier and had become so impressively wrecked that they were quite incapable of identifying who had supplied it.

The trustafarian dude was very obliging and gave me several generous tokes on his fat one. It had no immediate effect, though I did quite like the grassy taste: it has a green intensity similar to the one you get from a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, I’d say. Then, quite suddenly, it hit me. Wham! And that was me completely wankered for the next three hours.

At the time – I was in my mid-twenties – being completely wankered on skunk at a party struck me as a generally splendid thing. No longer do you have to worry what you’re going to say to people or whether they’re going to say anything interesting back.

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