Stories For Stoners: An interview with Marijuanera Mala Muñoz
“A chick who smokes a lot of weed” ranks as Urban Dictionary’s top definition for a delicious and underused word: marijuanera. Still, though this explanation is on point, UD’s sample sentence, “dat bitch is a straight up marijuanera,” paints a less than holistic picture of this hazy figure. Enter Mala Muñoz. Mala is, without a doubt, a Chicana who smokes her fair share of mota. She’s also a podcaster, producer, writer, educator, funny person, and roller-skating guaddess who packed a bowl ahead of our conversation about her newest venture, Marijuanera, a multi-media project which aims to put some affection on an oft-maligned way of being in the world.
MYRIAM: What is Marijuanera?
MALA: Marijuanera is a product of the Locatora Radio audioverse, an independent multimedia production company committed to archiving and celebrating the brilliance of womxn of color through podcasting, filmmaking, educational workshops, and live events. Marijuanera is our first show under the Locatora Productions umbrella. It’s a podcast for potheads and a web series about weed, a sketch comedy show that will air on YouTube and InstagramTV. The audio will be available on all your favorite podcasting platforms. Marijuanera is my baby. She’s multi-faceted and I’m excited to introduce her to everyone.
MYRIAM: How did you conceive of the idea for this blunt of a baby?
MALA: I’m a sucker for words. Being a writer and podcaster, they’re my everything. They’re my bread and butter. I’ve always loved the word marijuanera. I think it’s beautiful in the same way the word lesbian is beautiful. It’s strong and gorgeous to say but it also carries a stigma. I use it as a term of endearment.
MYRIAM: I love stoner folktales and jokes. Please tell me your funniest pot story.
MALA: When I was younger and broker, I’d lost my ID at one of my downtown haunts but I wanted to smoke. I had no cash and no ID so I couldn’t go to a dispensary. I thought, “What am I going to do?” I remembered a gentleman who was in my DMs who’d been asking me if I wanted to hang. A lightbulb went off. I wondered, “Does this young man like to smoke?” I hit him up and asked him, “Do you wanna hang out? Are you down to smoke?” He replied, “Yes, let’s do it.”
Selfishly, my intention was to hang out with him so that he could smoke me out. I arrived and we began talking and he said to me, “You know, I want to be really clear-headed and present now that you’re here. I really want to get to know you. I don’t want the weed to obstruct our introduction.” I sat there thinking, “LORD, GOD, HELP ME. Deliver me. What did I do to deserve this man who wants to get to know me sober? Why?”
MYRIAM: Oh my god. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Do you remember the first time you got high?
MALA: I was texting my high school friends the other day, trying to isolate the first time I smoked weed and I love this story. I had a sleep over one night with a group of high school friends. There were about four of us who went to a girl’s house. This was one of those homes where the parents let my friend do her thing and it was very casual in contrast to my home. That night, between the four of us, we killed a bottle of Patrón. We acted insane. We made out with each other. That was my first time kissing a girl. We had every intention of smoking weed. That was our plan. We were gonna get crossfaded but we were so drunk off the Patrón that we nearly couldn’t. Being overachievers, we pushed ourselves to do accomplish our goal. So, that became the night I first smoked weed and kissed girls. It was great. I’ll probably share the story for the podcast’s pilot episode.
MYRIAM: My Chicano dad owes approximately 25% of his personality to Cheech and Chong. What do Cheech and Chong mean to you?
MALA: Oh, man. I love Cheech and Chong. I love the world that they created with their personalities, movies, and the idea of being a Chicano pothead in LA. It’s fun. I’m grateful to them for opening up the space in comedy and film. They’re still doing amazing work. Cheech just opened that Chicano art museum in Riverside. In creating Marijuanera, I looked at their work and thought that it’s been a while since we had some fun West Coast cannabis material. My work is a nod to them. I think if Cheech and Chong had a niece, what would she be up to? What would she be doing? This work exists somewhere in that galaxy.
MYRIAM: In the trailer for Marijuanera, you ask, “Are you a clumsy pothead?” I’d like to throw the question back at you.
MALA: I have broken so many pieces and pipes. If it’s made of glass, it has a short shelf life with me. I’m working on it. I really am. Part of the show involves learning to be a pothead. There’s a process. It’s a hobby with endless accessories. I was doing a sesh with Susie Placencia, aka Susie Greens, of MOTA Glass, and we were using one of her bongs. The comments on my account were nice. “Oh, you guys are so cute!” But when Susie posted our bong sesh to her IG, which is watched by a lot more cannabis industry folks, the comments were like, “Does Mala even smoke?” Because there’s levels. There’s levels right? Some people take it very seriously. They think there’s a way to pack it, light it, inhale it and exhale it. I wanted to create something for the beginners, for the aspiring stoners.
MYRIAM: You’re a cannabis tía!
MALA: BOOM! Or a cannabis prima, if you will.
MYRIAM: You posted a picture of a beautiful bong that looks like a jarra my mom would display alongside the Mexican statuary and ceramics she collects. The image justifiably went viral. How is that bong working out?
MALA: It is such a beautiful bong. It fits my little hands so well. It’s meant to be held. It’s meant to serve as a practical item. Somebody looked at the design of a jarrita and thought, “A pair of lips can fit perfectly up here.” It’s such a smooth smoke.
MYRIAM What stories do you have slated to bring viewers?
MALA: On the podcast, I’ll be talking a lot about my own experiences and thoughts on cannabis and the ways that it has shown up in my life. I’m a big fan of lighting up and talking to myself. The thoughts and words flow and that’s exactly what I plan to share on the audio as well as interviewing our favorite stoners from across the country, in particular people of color who are involved in cannabis at all levels, from policy to products to growing. All of it. The web series will be a sketch comedy show which will involve some coves, acting, and interviews of some our favorite stoners who are in the arts and such. We’ll have all sorts of stories, stories for stoners. Check out the trailer for Marijuanera here. And follow Mala on twitter for more updates.