Baltimore City Paper

The High Life: Mystery weed Gray Haven reviewed and in praise of smoking in public

Detail from "At The Grey Havens" by Greg Hildebrandt

I'm smoking a bougie apartment complex on the edge of the city with hella amenities; I'm smoking a charming supporting character with a mysterious past from an '80s soap opera; I'm smoking a third-tier metal band signed to Metal Blade that opened for Fates Warning in 1986; I'm smoking Gray Haven, a mysterious weed strain, a Sativa I'm pretty sure, with a lithe smell. Who knows really, because there's no information about Gray Haven online and no one I know has heard of it and my dealer told me it was "new" and he might be pulling my chain but then again I'm constantly asking him for what I've not already smoked, being a weed critic and all, and so I'm bound to end up with something in my bong and not a whole lot of information about it.

Or maybe, probably, my dealer misunderstood or misheard his connect and perhaps this is some Heaven-related strain (there are many including Blue Heaven, Heaven's Gate, Heavenly OG, and so on) and he just spelled "Heaven" wrong on the baggie but asking around about Gray Heaven yields no information either.


A weird weed for sure, its molting high is flexible. Like transition lenses, it changes up, a deep pensive high inside, something more chillaxed when I left the house. And Gray Haven's dense smoke set off my fire alarm which might be why it's called Gray Haven, due to the massive gray cloud it left in my little apartment.

Baltimore, not just my apartment, will soon smell like weed the way Washington D.C. currently smells like weed, we can only hope. Decriminalization has been going on here for a few years now, medicinal dispensaries are finally on their way, and so begins Maryland's slow and steady crawl towards legalization, for realz maybe—barring some truly bonkers legislation from burning-cross-in-sentient-form Jeff Sessions, which we should consider a real possibility.


A Washington Post story by Maia Silber from earlier this month—accompanied by an illustration of a Washington Monument-sized joint from CP contributor Alex Fine, by the way—titled "It's summer, and Washington smells like weed. Everywhere, all the time" addresses the obvious byproduct of legalization that nevertheless shocks everybody: you smell weed way more when it's no longer illegal to smoke it. The piece is a funny meta-alarmist scene report, though a touch puritanical still and oh-so-D.C.: ("Walking her dog on a Monday night in Adams Morgan, Brianne Molloy said that she usually catches a whiff around here in the evening. She didn't know who was doing the smoking"), it has a hilarious headline and, ultimately, makes the important point that, as Silber writes, "theoretically, we should all be much more blasé about this."

What's lingering underneath this worry about weed smell and smoke is the way we've all had broken windows policing style "logic" branded on our brains: that weed smoke, like dirt bikers and sex workers and dudes pushing pills at the market and homeless people being out and about at all is bad or troubling instead of you know, things that, even if you're not into them, can totally happen near you or next to you or interrupt your life for a hot minute and everything will remain OK. And like all those things, weed outside in the open—for all to smell and smoke if they want—is a shortcut to conviviality.

During Pride last month, weed wafted from all directions, during the parade especially and later on that night when Big Freedia's boozy, bounce songs got full-bodied and blunted—a combination of her music playing at a crazy loud volume and because of well, the crazy amount of loud being smoked all around her. It was that "Music is changing, drugs are changing, even men and women are changing" speech in "Trainspotting" right there happening on North Charles Street, if only for a couple of days but still—aggressively queer, hard-as-fuck party music pounding as everybody, plenty of them proudly gender-fucked, partied and smoked up like it's not a big deal because it isn't a big deal.

A few days after Pride, still making my way through this dub of Gray Haven, some texts from an equally baffled friend who got some Gray Haven for himself. Apparently, the Grey Havens are a Tolkien thing.

"Grey Havens is on the West Coast of the Middle Earth and it's where the elves launch their boats from to go to the undying lands," he texted. "After the Numenoreans (Atlanteans), under the influence of Sauron, attempted to invade the undying lands, the gods sunk their island, changed earth from a flat arrangement into a globe, and put their lands somewhere else, but the elves are permitted by their grace to travel the 'straight road' and apparently sail their boats through space to get there."

He didn't see any connection between the name and the strain, though: "I'm stumped tbh at no point did I feel like an elf at an idyllic harbor on that stuff but I can see how it would be good marketing to make people hope that they would."

Gray Haven

Strength: 7


Nose: Dirt right after a summer rain

Euphoria: 7

Existential Dread: 3

Freaking Out When Crazy Person Approaches You: 2

Drink Pairing: Tropicana's Watermelon juice

Music Pairing: Keydo Foolfunk, "Funklyfe 3: Rickjameshawty"


Rating: 7