In "Grandma's Stoned!," a 21-minute YouTube video on the channel MaryLovesGlass, the titular Mary Reitz has just woken up and taken several consecutive pipe hits on film. Ever increasingly blazed, she tries to recall a story about a previous time she was stoned, when she mistook the battery percentage on her iPhone for the reading on her heart monitoring app that she uses to track her atrial fibrillation. She laughs when, trying to convey the confusion of the situation, she confuses herself even more: "I have an iPhone on my app! I mean, I have an app on my iPhone!" By the end of the story and the video—she's been blowing clouds of smoke throughout—she looks incoherently fucked, and she knows it, but she takes one last hit. "Fuck. Jesus," she laughs, and then tries to compose herself and her facial expression, tenting her hands under her chin for an added look of seriousness. Her red eyes and spacey smile betray her, in an endearing way. "Subscribe to my channel, please," she says, sweetly.
It's typical that Reitz's vlogs, which are technically bong and pipe "reviews," or haul videos, meander into non-sequitur stoner anecdotes, and that's what is fascinating about them—especially if you are also stoned. In a video that eventually announces who's won her wax pen giveaway, Reitz takes bong hits for nine minutes, complains about her husband's gnome collection, and then asks her viewers to leave comments with suggestions on how to deal with his annoying abundance of lawn decorations.
While most of her videos are arguably about nothing—in an amusing, Seinfeldian way—for her thousands of subscribers, it's delightful to watch a 60-year-old woman with greying hair and a comforting maternal voice smoke her way through various pipes and bongs without any agenda, other than getting super stoned. Reitz's uploads often get comments like, "Be my gramma [sic] please!" and any negative comments aren't tolerated by her fans, who are quick to respond, "Respect your elders!"
In one of Reitz's first videos, she tries out a new bong, taking up half the length of the video to load the bowl, and gets a ton of bong water in her mouth; that is to say, her appeal is in being an affable grandma who's just having fun exploring her unlikely new hobby. "Sometimes I plan out my videos," she tells me over the phone, "but then I start smoking... and that's the end of that."
"I was very hesitant to smoke weed at first," she says when I asked her how this all started. "I was raised in a family that believed cannabis was just bad. I was a D.A.R.E kid." But when Reitz was diagnosed with stage three chronic kidney disease, she was convinced to try it by a friend who was on dialysis and used cannabis to mitigate his symptoms. "He talked to me for a solid year before I ever tried it, but he finally convinced me to get my son to get me some weed. Before I started smoking, I was depressed, in pain, I had a lack of motivation, I had a hard time sleeping. The cannabis really helped all of that." Reitz is now a medical marijuana patient in Washington State, where weed was legalized in 201
While it took Reitz a year to give weed a try at the age of 58, her YouTube channel was a spontaneous accident, not unlike when most parents attempt to use the Internet. She started looking for bong tutorials online and found Jane Dro, a weed reviewer who she considers a mentor. One day, when Reitz received a subscription box of weed accessories in the mail, like the "WeedTubers" from whom she was learning online, she thought it would be funny to make a video as a joke for her sons. "I taped the opening of my BurnBox to send to my boys as a joke, but I uploaded it publicly to YouTube like an idiot," she laughs. "I didn't know any better! I didn't know the world was going to watch me. But it took off from there. It was really wild. I'm disabled, so I don't work anymore. My husband still works, so he's gone all day. My channel has become something that motivates me and gets me up in the morning."
Reitz now has 5,000 subscribers who all consider her to be their 420-friendly grandma. "I have thousands of grandchildren now," she says of her fans. But unlike other famously chill grandmas, like Baddie Winkle, Reitz doesn't think too much about curating her brand. She owns about seven bongs, dozens of pipes—some sent by companies who ask her to review their products (though her channel isn't monetized)—dabs daily, and compares the pleasure of loading a bong to baking cookies—but she won't likely be caught wearing a "420 blaze it" t-shirt. "That's not my look," she says, laughing at the suggestion. "I'm a grandmother. I can't decorate my walls with pot leaf stickers. If companies send me stuff like that, I like to give it away to the young people."