For everyone who lived through the era of Reefer Madness and the Marlboro Man, these are strange days indeed.
Cigarettes used to be cool. Now, they prompt unfiltered scorn. But the devil's weed? It's high times for that, man.
Who could have predicted that CVS, the nation's largest drug-store chain, will stop selling tobacco products at its stores, including three in Santa Rosa, later this year?
Or that thousands would gather at the Sonoma County Fairgounds in December to smoke weed in full view of the cops for the Emerald Cup cannabis competition?
"Tobacco is on the way out and cannabis is on the way in," said Asa Shaeffer, chief executive officer of the Sonoma County Collective, a home-delivery-only dispensary headquartered in Santa Rosa.
Cigarettes are becoming harder to find and more expensive, while ever-expanding rules restrict where they can be smoked, a trend that began decades ago with bans on planes and widened, in California at least, to take in restaurants, parks and apartment complexes.
In Sonoma County, smoking is outlawed in multi-unit housing in unincorporated areas, as well as on all county-owned property and certain outdoor areas. Several cities have similar restrictions.
But while marijuana remains illegal to most Californians who don't have a prescription for its medical use, Colorado and Washington this year toppled that makeshift legal barrier, allowing the sale of marijuana for recreational use. In California, legalization proponents are gathering signatures for no fewer than five ballot measures in November.
National surveys show the opposing trends clearly: Cigarette smoking has been on one prolonged slide over the past 50 years, while marijuana use is on the rise.
Debate about the shift still is charged in medical circles, with health officials especially concerned over the assumptions made by youth about the supposedly more benign impacts of marijuana.
In other venues, however, the question appears to be settled.
In Sebastopol, the city's newly appointed mayor is the first in the nation with a pot dispensary connection.
Mayor Robert Jacob, executive director of the marijuana dispensary Peace in Medicine, declined an interview this week. But his assistant issued a statement in which Jacob extolled the virtues of marijuana, saying it has not caused a single death in 5,000 years, dating back to the "Chinese medical compendium."
"Not all smoke is created equal," the mayor said.
But critics warn that by dropping a smoke for a toke, the nation is simply switching from one bad habit to another.
"It's a surreal atmosphere," said Michael McCracken, who counsels Sebastopol teenagers about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
It's been apparent for some time, particularly on the North Coast, that tobacco and pot have been staging a role reversal.
Sitting outside an IHOP restaurant on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, Greg Pressley, who described himself as homeless, said people view his cigarette habit as "disgusting." But if he lights up a joint?
"That's OK," he said.
His friend, a man who gave his name as Irish, said when he walks in downtown Santa Rosa, he's more apt these days to get a whiff of marijuana smoke than of tobacco.
Hollywood has taken notice of the trend. The cigarette smoking on "Mad Men" is as retro as Don Draper pounding cocktails in between ad meetings.<NO1><NO> A show like "Weeds," on the other hand, may reflect the growing tolerance for marijuana in many parts of the country.