Slog tipper Joe Szilagyi sent these along:
These commercials have apparently been repurposed from the Colorado Department of Transportation. This first one interests me because it seems to take place in a public park. Aren't pot smokers supposed to only enjoy their marijuana within the comfort of their own homes?
Also of interest: All of these commercials focus on male pot smokers. Are female stoners ever going to get any goddamned respect? One more after the jump:
Last month, New York Times writer Maureen Dowd traveled to Colorado to investigate the state's new commerce in legal marijuana for recreational use. She wound up lying paralyzed in a hotel bed while locked in a psychological staring contest with the grim reaper (or at least someone in a very convincing grim reaper costume). The cause of Dowd's morbid paralysis: just a few nibbles of a marijuana-enhanced candy bar she'd gotten at a Denver dispensary, the surprising strength of which led to widespread discussion of the dangers of ingesting pot.
These dangers are real. Yes, Maureen Dowd could've done more to investigate proper dosage, and yes, the clerks who supplied her with the multi-dose candy bar could've done much, much more to adequately serve the needs of their customer. (I’m not talking about anything huge, just a pot-store equivalent of a food server saying, “Hot plate.” It’s in a business’s best interest to send customers away happy, not psychotic and burnt, and hopefully marijuana capitalists will implement industry-wide standards ASAP.)
But until the day comes when marijuana sellers take proper responsibility for the experiences of their customers, and/or personal marijuana dosages are as ingrained as those of coffee and alcohol, how to enjoyably experience edible pot is something all users must figure out for themselves. Here are some tips...
Around the time the prez warded off a man in a horse mask, this happened:
"Asked him if he wanted a hit of pot...he laughed! #legalizeit #iinhaled," says Instagrammer Matt Anton in the accompanying caption. More evidence that you don't have to actually smoke the stuff to have a good time.
MARY, 60, MARIJUANA SALESWOMAN FOR 20 YEARS
Why did you start selling marijuana?
Well, I was a single working mom with a smart son who had his heart set on going to a fancy East Coast college. I promised him that if he could get in, we could pay for it. An old hippie friend of mine was a small-time [marijuana] farmer, and I love to garden, so it made sense to get into the business.
Aw, what a good mom! You started growing pot to fulfill your son's childhood dreams! I can relate—my mom dated a series of real-estate agents to fulfill my childhood dream of living in a house with a pool.
She sounds like a lovely woman.
She's all right. I mean, she refused to date a pool boy, so I had to clean that damn thing every summer. Did you have any moral conflicts with becoming a marijuana saleswoman?
You know, at first I did. I had a teenage son, and parents are rather indoctrinated with anti-marijuana propaganda through school and the news as much as their children are. At first, I worried that my son would become a drug addict because of me, or his friends would. That was my biggest fear: having a fellow mom on my doorstep, crying, because she caught her son or daughter smoking my weed and traced it back to me somehow. That I would become the gateway to some kid dying in an alley with a needle in his arm.
By Malcolm Smith:
I bought a bag of marijuana today at Cannabis City, Seattle's first legal retail pot store, just after they opened at noon. (Surprisingly for a pot store, they opened on time.) It was a different experience from every other time I've bought pot—and I've bought a lot of pot before—not just because there were dozens of TV crews swarming outside. What legalization provides, prohibition never could: explicit certainty about what I purchased, what it contains, what it doesn't contain, where it came from, where the money goes, and the promise that every time I purchase this product it will be essentially the same.
Here's the excellent pot, the bag, a receipt, and a very detailed label:
Consumers will decide whether all that certainty is worth the price; the two-gram bag was $40, including $10 in tax, which is generally higher than street prices.
Some people already say it's not worth it. Standing beyond the media frenzy was John Stuart, 24, who was wearing a pair of pot-leaf-print shorts and a Marilyn Manson t-shirt. His friend had a white pit bull on a rope. Were they waiting to buy pot inside? "No, because I got a medical-marijuana card and it's way too expensive at Cannabis City," said Stuart. "You could go to Westlake Park and get it for $10 a gram. That's a lot cheaper than going to the store."
But the pot Stuart can buy in a dispensary or in a park will never be like this. The glut of information on that label represents something between government overreach and a pot-lover's dream come true.
The largest typeface on the label details the precise composition of the drug. This strain is called OG's Pearl, which contains exactly 21.5 percent THC (the predominant set of psychoactive chemicals in cannabis). The label then lists the CBD, a more narcotic chemical found in marijuana, and the nonpsychoactive CBG. The label goes on: These buds are 80 percent indica-type cannabis (as opposed to the more stimulating sativa, which presumably makes up the other 20 percent). It lists the moisture content (6.25 percent), the day it was harvested (June 2), the day it was tested (June 23), where it was grown (Kitsap County), how it was grown (indoors), and who grew it (Nine Point Growth Industries).
If I like this product, I can buy it again and it will reliably be the same thing. If the product changes—how or where it's grown, whether there are shifts in chemical composition at the next harvest—it will be right there on the label.
"The whole place was built for a safe," says Chris Stipe, one of the managers of Main Street Marijuana. "It used to be a jewelry store, which closed back in June, I think, and it was not easy for us to find the right location for the business. There are these rules and guidelines you have to follow, and you have to hope the landlord is totally cool with it. It's legal but it's a new thing." The glass cabinets that once displayed golden rings, glittering necklaces, and sparkling gems will soon display two strains of pot in neat little packages. The variety in the store, however, will not be found in the pot but in pot's paraphernalia, which are presently displayed on the top of the glass cabinets—pretty pipes, pipes that look like bones, psychedelic pipes, and an unusual cast of baroque bongs. At the north corner of the space is an ATM (the business can only accept cash), and behind it is the massive safe. "Generally the feeling about this store's opening has been very positive. There have not been any protesters, the situation is not political, and the city isn't divided," says Stipe.
Indeed, this has been my impression. Vancouver is really relaxed about this major turning point in its history.
Are you high enough to really enjoy this video of a hedgehog's birthday party? (Or are you so high that it's confusing/terrifying?)
How about this video of animals dancing to excellent late '80s hit "Push It"?
Wait, wait, everyone loves animal videos. Maybe this calls for a poll, instead...
When I was in my teens and early twenties, I didn't much enjoy pot. It always made me completely incompetent at social interactions (as opposed to mostly incompetent at social interactions) and I'd often wind up, literally, drooling on myself. I preferred drinking, and I could count the number of times I smoked pot on both hands. And then I quit smoking, and that made me even less inclined to smoke pot—the harshness of pot smoke practically makes a drag from a Camel Light seem like a soothing velvet lung-cloak in comparison.
In the last few years, though, I've learned to love pot. The thing that won me over was a watermelon-flavored pot lollipop, which I consumed while all alone in the comfort of my own home, accompanied by nothing but a huge stack of DVDs. (I wound up watching Jason X for the first time, and I loved it.) Every few months, I'd enjoy an edible—mostly in lollipop or fake Jolly Rancher-form, although brownies and cookies are okay every now and again, too—like that. When it comes to getting high, I most identified with this quote from Avengers director Joss Whedon:
"I think weed's a fine thing, for the enjoyment of and, occasionally, for thinking about movies," Whedon says. "I don't use it socially because it does not improve my socializing. And I never, ever smoke unless it's the last thing I do that day because there's a long period of stupid that comes after it that's pretty useless. You don't need it, but every now and then it takes you to a different place."
And that's been okay for me—a way to slow down and stop the internal chatter and relax into a puddle every month or so. The craziest thrill I've gotten from pot comes from brushing my teeth while high, which feels so fucking good that it ought to be illegal. And that's about as adventurous as I've been. I love taking long walks, but I can't imagine taking a long walk while very high. Pot doesn't make me hungry, so I've luckily never had to live through the indignity of trying to buy food at a store or a restaurant while out of my face. I can't even imagine going to a movie theater after consuming an edible, because I think the other people in the theater would freak me out.
But lately, I've been enjoying the hell out of JuJu Joints. The website for JuJu Joints describe them as "sleek, discreet, cannabis vaporizing e-joint[s]," and that's about right. They're single-use e-cigarettes, and they each contain about 150 hits. The thing I prefer about JuJu Joints as compared to edibles is that the high kicks in after a couple minutes (as opposed to a couple hours) and you can regulate the high more efficiently—if you're looking to feel a little more relaxed than usual, you can drag on the Joint once or twice. If you're looking to LOSE YOUR MIND, you hit it four or five times. (I still consume edibles, but only when I want to shut myself in for the night with some bad horror movies.) There's little to no odor with JuJu Joints, the mist is a totally different sensation from cigarette smoke and so it doesn't stir up any uncomfortable memories of smoking, and for an occasional user like me, one Joint lasts forever.
Living in Seattle in 2014 means encountering a whole lot of pot smoke while walking down the street. Every time I wander into thick cloud of the stuff, I practically want to chase the smokers down, grab them by their lapels, and shake them until they realize they could be enjoying other, more civilized options. Why the hell would you jam a plant into a piece of glass and light it on fire, I want to ask them, when there are so many superior ways to get high?
Back in 2012, when Sleep's mighty Dopesmoker album was reissued, The Stranger ran a survey of songs that will enhance your marijuana experience to the utmost. Now seems like a good time to revisit it. Dank me later.
Dominic is now racing back to the office from Sodo, and between the million-degree heat and the fact that he was reporting on a place where you can buy bags of marijuana, there's really no telling if he'll ever make it back to the office. But in the meantime, he was nice enough to tweet out a picture of a package of legal weed. Take a historic look:
My first legal pot purchase and the receipt to prove it! Roll a joint in your grave, Harry Anslinger. pic.twitter.com/NI1CnLNbp9— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) July 8, 2014
Remember a year ago when they were still trying to decide what to put on those labels? And here it is, at last.
Good luck getting back here, Dom!
Cannabis City says they issued 47 press passes for their tiny storefront, but they ran out, with even more press clamoring for passes in the hour before the store opened, and the word on the street—literally, I was just standing out on the street—was that there's not that much pot for sale and it could run out as fast as the press passes.
The crowd is a mix of mainstream Seattleites with a few holdouts of the relic hippie pot culture, people who are rightfully there to bask in the achievement that they've worked for for so long.
But, as Ben Livingston and I reported earlier, this is not about countering the black market, not yet about a functional market that replaces the illicit one. For now, it's basically a dog-and-pot show.
At noon, the doors opened to the first customers and now the real test begins, to see if over the next few years, this can actually be the predominant model to sell marijuana in Washington State. I'll report later on the first pot sales and what, exactly, we found when walked inside.
That looooong line outside Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham this morning? It kept going strong 10:27 a.m., nearly two and a half hours after the first legal pot sale in Washington, when the last person filed in the door.
By that time, a pizza truck had pulled into the parking lot to feed the crowd. Top Shelf sold out (230 bags of two grams worth) of their first variety, OG Pearl Kush, one employee said.
Kudos to the pot shop's crew and their customers. The former were highly organized and on top of their game, expertly managing the media; the latter, patient and universally friendly. Before I left, Ward Nelson, the store's manager, walked across the parking lot towards the pizza truck and exclaimed, "The state's got nothing to worry or complain about!"
Yes, Washington's pot legalization is very far from perfect. I heard folks grumbling about the high prices. Some said other drugs ought to be decriminalized. People mused, their brown bags of pot in hand, that demand will outstrip the legal supply, leaving the underground market thriving. One man stood outside holding a marijuana stem and complained that it's still virtually impossible for him to start his industrial hemp textile manufacturing business.
But to focus on all of that would be to miss the most important part of the day: the symbolism of being able to legally get a bag of pot like you would a bottle of beer. All the folks in the video above who definitely are not smoking their first batch of weed today? They were all giddy at the thought.
"I remember smoking out in the woods" to avoid being seen, said Kyle Szegredi, a graphic design student at Whatcom Community College who's on the cusp of transferring to Seattle Central Community College on Capitol Hill. "And now it's come this far to where I can walk into a store and buy legal marijuana." He says he probably won't bother with risking fines or under-the-table buys any more.
"All my friends smoked weed" in high school, he says. "I gotta be a bit more adult now. This feels more adult." Washington's growing up!
People are rejoicing that pot stores are opening today—pot stores, for god’s sake—and rejoicing certainly seems appropriate. For too long, pot laws have been a racist, unwinnable, expensive mess. If this alternative to prohibition succeeds, the new regulatory models of farms and stores in Colorado and Washington State could serve as a model for national change.
But if it fails?
If it fails to replace the black market, if it fails to extract profits from cartels and the gangs still get rich, if drugs are still easier and cheaper to buy on the street, and if we fail to make pot an above-board industry? Then it becomes a warning to other states, and fodder for those who argue the illegal pot market is unbeatable and legal regulation is too quixotic for America to pursue.
Which is why Washington's experiment is off to a concerning start.
Most troubling, the system that kicks off Tuesday is designed to replace less than 10 percent of the state’s black market for pot. Of the 24 stores that have received licenses so far (out of 334 expected to eventually get licenses), very few are in dense urban centers where demand is greatest. Only one store is in Seattle—Sodo’s Cannabis City—and it’s one of just two stores in all of King County, the most populous county in the state. Pot is expected to run out quickly in the first weeks. Shortages look inevitable for months or years. The prices, as a result, will likely be artificially high.
So the illicit pot market we’re trying to crush? It will be practically unscathed. That’s not what voters wanted, nor is that necessarily what they voted for.
It’s true that the feds are making Washington State jump through hoops to avoid a legal challenge. It’s also true that some people with licenses but no store yet blame themselves for the delay. (“It’s natural for people to blame others,” John Branch, who has a license to open a store in Seattle, told The Seattle Times. “But I’ve got no complaints… I’m being cautious and careful.”) Still, it's clear that when it comes to many of the structural problems we’re seeing now, they are overwhelmingly the result of the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s preventable mistakes in putting our new legal pot market together. The board, which was tasked with implementing a 2012 marijuana initiative, created many of these problems with a heavy-handed, poorly informed rulemaking process and a lottery that allowed in too many people who weren't quite ready to become pot sellers.
To be clear, we’re not so high that we can’t see the big picture. Legal pot—even a flawed system—is an accomplishment, so we’re not suggesting this system is worse than pot prohibition. No matter how rocky the road to get legal pot or how long the lines to buy a gram, it’s better than the long, rocky road to jail or fines afforded to the pot smokers in 48 other states.
But, Jesus, did the state screw this pooch. Here are some of the biggest things the state bungled on the way to full legalization:
Not enough pot
You'll never believe the name of the consulting firm hired by the state to estimate how much pot we’ll need. It’s a company called BOTEC, short for—no shit—“Back of the Envelope Calculation,” which is shorthand slang for a simplistic guess that lacks mathematical proof. BOTEC told the liquor board in 2013 that Washington needed to license 2 million square feet of pot canopy over the first year of legal stores. That would, according to their estimates, satisfy a mere 25 percent of the existing pot market and leave the rest of market (three-quarters) to run illegally.
And the state went with it.
I'm spending the day in Vancouver, Washington, which is a bit of an odd place. True, it’s not exactly a small small town, though it does feel like a small town (population 160,000). Nor is it a deeply conservative place (Obama carried this county, twice), though it does feel deeply conservative (lots of the usual pickup trucks guzzling up and down Main Street, a lawn equipment store near its center, a population that’s generally older, and lots of American flags everywhere). There is no architecture to be found here, nothing really stands out. Everything interesting appears to be across the river in Portland, and everything that is not interesting appears to be in Vancouver.
Or at least that was the story until now.
Tomorrow the mayor "is going to cut the ribbon for the first pot store in the city, Main Street Marijuana," a man named Blake says after we meet at Main Event Sports Grill last night. A young man to the right of us appears to have just passed out—the bartender wakes him and warns him. According to Blake's telling, the mayor has been pushing for a light-rail connection into Portland that would require building a controversial new bridge. "He didn’t get his bridge, but opening pot is not bad."
Blake is correct. The pot store that opens on Main Street on July 9, the first of its kind in the history of this city, is the biggest thing that has happened to this county since it helped elect our country's first black president. The pot store is the one thing that is truly and finally interesting about Vancouver. Portland has nothing like it. Portlanders will have to drive their cars across a bridge to buy pot here legally. “Yeah, true,” says a middle-aged Portlander who happens to be at the Main Event. “But Vancouver has lots of great bars as well. It's not as dull as you think.” So know Vancouver is all that.
His lady friend, a flight attendant who lives around the corner, says: "I can't wait to show my son the [the pot store] when he visits." Finally, something a Vancouver mother can be proud about.
Thirty years ago, you could have said: One day Vancouver will have a light rail running through it, and no one would have found this to be at all nutty—maybe a bit optimistic. But if you said: One day Vancouver is going to vote for a black president instead of his white opponent and then a few years later Vancouver is going to open a pot store on Main Street, a store any adult can go into and buy marijuana products in much the same way they can buy alcoholic beverages, you would have been taken to an insane asylum.
“I'm a millennial, and I've got to say I never thought I would ever see anything like this in my life,” says a local resident named Ben, who won't give me his second name because, he claims, there is no other surname like it in the whole country. Now we are standing in front of Main Street Marijuana, which is in the high-end section of the street—the low-end is near the old bridge. Up the road is a Starbucks and fancy-looking bakery with outdoor seating, Blue Door Bakery. The Starbucks is alive with casual talk about the pot store. Some do not know how it is going to make money selling "only one ounce of pot," others are wondering about how the taxes will work, others are talking about how it is done in Denver, and none of these people look like hippies but the kind of men and women who buy expensive lawn mowers.
There are no Main Street Marijuana signs on the business yet, and its windows are frosted. There's just a piece of paper stuck to its door announcing the day and time of its opening:
“They had to wait for shipment from Spokane,” says a young man heading down the street. “I heard they will only have only 10 pounds to sell. That be gone in no time.”
“I’m actually looking at a pot store," Ben says, just before walking away. "It’s so unreal. And I went to Evergreen. I know all about weed, though I don't really smoke it. But I'm still fucking amazed, man. I actually lived to see this.”
Today is an historic day in Washington. I'm not there, but if I were, I bet I'd be feeling a lot of the same good vibes that were creeping through window cracks on November 6th, 2012, when Washington became the only state where you could smoke legal recreational weed while looking out at the ocean. Instead, I’m in Boston. How did Boston spend election day 2012? Whooping it up for legalizing medical marijuana, like it was the 90s. People were calling it historic, in the same city that started the American Revolution.
I'm jealous, of course. Still, it gives me a certain comfort to watch Seattle legally bake into an historic haze—one that will waft up over the Cascades and, ideally, form into the shape of a middle finger aimed at Idaho. But then there's Spokane. Spokane, the city I grew up in, passed I-502 by almost 10,000 votes. Spokane, the city I and almost all of my friends abandoned for wealthier, costlier coastal Narnias, will have three legal marijuana stores. That's one for every member of the Liquor Control Board, and two more than Seattle has. One of them opens today, on a street called Country Homes Boulevard, in a strip mall that also has a branch of a driving school and a jazzercise center.
It's official, folks: recreational pot is legal in Washington and the stuff is flying off the shelves at Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham. The line of customers is not letting up.
Cale Holdsworth, 24, was the man to make history with the first purchase: two grams of OG Pearl Kush, from a Bremerton grower, for the special sale price of $26.50 ($6.68 in tax). He's in town from Abilene, Kansas visiting family and affably did one interview after another with the dozens of reporters on the scene.
"What better way to participate and support the cause than coming down and being here for this," he told me. "This is mainstream, and now it's finally legal and we can enjoy it! This is another step in nationwide legalization, which I think we should strive for." He says he's eagerly awaiting the day when Kansas comes around.
Plenty of Canadian journalists are here, asking questions about what this means for their pathway to marijuana legalization. Activists are posing for the cameras with "Drug War Ends Here" and "No One Deserves to Go to Prison For A Plant" signs. There's even a dude wearing bright green Washington state flag as a cape.
Meanwhile, buyers file out beaming and holding up their little brown bags.
And across the freeway? 2020 Solutions, which planned to open but hit a late night snag with their quarantined supply. Manager Aaron Nelson said trying to be ready today was like riding a rollercoaster which suddenly disappeared. "There's no words" to describe the disappointment, he said, but they'll try to open by Thursday. In lieu of weed, 2020 is offering donuts and coffee this morning.
Legal, recreational retail pot sales have begun in Washington. Which leaves everyone with a very pressing, immediate question: Just where are we supposed to smoke this stuff?
The simple answer: in private.
Washington's Initiative 502 created the legal framework for a retail market, creating licenses that allow people to grow, process, and sell marijuana, and allowing people over 21 to buy and consume it. But it also said you can't consume pot (smoke it, eat it, vape it) in public and created no such licenses for bars, cafes, coffeeshops, or clubs that would let the public consume pot on their premises. People think of Amsterdam, where there have long been "coffeeshops" that sell pot and allow you to sit there and smoke it—it's not legal, but the government looks the other way. But here in Washington? "The law states you can’t consume within view of the general public," says Washington State Liquor Control Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter. "There's no provision in the law for consumption in public. That's in the law, that's not something we can change."
Carpenter adds that to clarify even further, the WSLCB "passed a rule that said if you hold a liquor license, you cannot allow the consumption of marijuana on your property." Why? Says Carpenter: "If you hold a liquor license, by virtue of holding a liquor license you are a public place, which means you can't allow consumption." You also can't consume marijuana in the stores that sell it, or walk down the street smoking it (public) or smoke it in a park (also public).
However: If you don't have a liquor license, and you don't sell marijuana, the WSLCB doesn't have jurisdiction over your activity. In that case, says Carpenter, "if you want to establish a private club for the consumption of marijuana, that's between you, your local authority, and of course the Clean Indoor Air Act." (That's the state law that bans smoking in most indoor places.) The only way to change the state laws about public consumption and create public spaces for pot-smoking, like Amsterdam-style coffeeshops, would be through the state legislature.
Legal pot shops in Washington don't officially open until tomorrow morning, but here in Bellingham, the good vibes are already flowing. Top Shelf Cannabis co-owner Tom Beckley and his eight employees are all smiles this evening as they put the finishing touches—hanging a portrait of Willie Nelson, preparing for a final product shipment from a Bremerton supplier—on their store tucked in an inconspicuous parking lot across from an industrial yard. They don't seem high, but they are happy.
"We're going to be the first one," Beckley says. Is he sure, though? There are about two dozen other shops opening around the state. "I'm pretty positive we're going to be the first one." Top Shelf will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, offering the first 50-100 customers a $10 per gram deal, with 18 plus pounds of kush in stock. Does he expect a big line? Yeahhhhh, he says, with a shrug and a smile. Prices will go up to $15 or $20 after that.
Weird how it's finally happening, huh? In case you've lost consciousness at some point during this many-years-long process leading up to Tuesday, Bob Young over at the Seattle Times has a handy FAQ. It begins:
Q: What took so long?
A: The short version: The state created something untested on the planet. (No, not even Amsterdam regulates commercial production as Washington does.) It did this looking over its shoulder at the feds and their prohibition of all marijuana. It did this by bringing outlaws, profiteers and opportunists into legal commerce with strict rules and stiff taxes. It did this with public input and a relatively open process. And it did this being mindful of the impact on children.
Other questions answered: "Can I bring family members if they’re not buying?" "Can I sample products in stores?" and "Can I buy plants?" (Yes, no, no.)
We will be covering Tuesday's first pot sales on Slog like crazy, as you can imagine.
Washington's first few pot retail outlets will open for business by noon on Tuesday the 8th. Jake Ellison at the PI takes a look at the stores that are preparing to open:
Cannabis City (2733 Fourth Ave S. in Seattle) and Top Shelf (at 3863 Hannegan, Suite 107 in Bellingham) should be two of 15 to 20 retail outlets licensed by the Liquor Control Board on Monday. Once the stores have their licenses, the owners can seal a deal with a grower — and 24 hours later (a holding time set by the board), stock the shelves with legal weed. That’ll be Tuesday.
Fox Q13 says another Bellingham store called 2020 Solutions intends to open first, at 8 am. No matter what hour the first shop opens, there will eventually be 334 marijuana stores in Washington state. But people are definitely excited to be there on day one: Curbed says Cannabis City will have ten pounds of pot ready for sale on the first day, and that they expect to sell out by the end of the day.
What do you think?
Can this be real?!? Or is FORIA just using the promise of "multiple orgasms" as a marketing tool? I know I don't trust this headline: "Cannabis Lube Will Get Your Vagina High" —'cause my Momma always told me to never trust what I read in any 'Cosmo rag-a-zine.
An all natural sensual enhancement oil thoughtfully designed for women. FORIA brings to your fingertips the power of ancient plant medicine to inspire deep healing and unlock profound pleasures. Hand-crafted from the female flower of the marijuana plant—one of the oldest known aphrodisiacs in the world—using modern extraction techniques for optimal potency and purity.
UPDATE: A tour operator claims he warned Dowd about over-consumption. I added an update at the bottom of this post and explain why that doesn't change a thing. Originally published June 4 and then moved up.
Lots of people on the internet are mad—imagine that, people on the internet are mad!—about a Maureen Dowd column in today's New York Times.
Dowd was in Denver covering Colorado's new legal pot industry when she ate part of a pot-infused candy bar and had a pretty common experience: She got way too high. When she wrote about it, leaders of the legal pot industry thought she was fear-mongering, sensational, and attacking them. But as someone who has gotten way too high eating pot myself—and seen lots of other people get way too high themselves—her description sounds pretty damn familiar:
I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.
I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.
It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.
Colorful writing? Yeah. She's a writer. But experiences much worse than Dowd's are increasingly common—Colorado hospitals are treating more overdoses from edibles. It's a problem. Still, she took responsibility for her actions. "I reckoned that the fact that I was not a regular marijuana smoker made me more vulnerable, and that I should have known better," Dowd wrote. Dowd said consumers need more information about the product they're buying and she pointed out a task force's excellent idea to demarcate edibles in serving sizes of 10 milligrams of THC, so users can calculate each dose. It's the classic personal story, big picture, solutions column.
But it infuriated the legal pot industry, which apparently considers coverage like this to be a dishonest attack on their kind and a deceptive conversation about edibles. Lots of activists and bloggers mocked Dowd. A lot. Taylor West, deputy director of National Cannabis Industry Association, unleashed a torrent on Twitter calling the column a "joke" and implying it wasn't "fact-based." Here was another one of her posts:
If @NYTDowd drank a handle of whiskey and ended up in the ER, would anyone consider a column blaming Jack Daniels credible?
— Taylor West (@Taylor_West) June 4, 2014
This "it's the same as chugging hard liquor" analogy—an analogy echoed around the angry internet—misses the point so much that you'd have to be stoned and drunk to make it.* So I was curious what Dowd thought about the backlash, if she still supported legalization, etc.
So I e-mailed Dowd and she replied.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board last week released the results of a lottery held to determine who gets a shot at operating a retail marijuana store in this state. The agency had allocated a total of 334 licenses to specific cities and counties across the state, and says that 75 jurisdictions required a lottery because of intense interest.
Bob Young broke the news of the lottery results, interviewing mostly unhappy applicants who did not win (and one Seattle dispensary operator excited about winning in Ocean Shores, where the lottery odds were much better). Seattle is now slated to get 21 pot shops—a number that City Attorney Pete Holmes asked state regulators to increase—and 191 qualified applicants vied for those spots. (Which is 13 more than the number I calculated in March, for the record.)
The liquor board expects to issue licenses in July, which means we could see the earliest retail marijuana stores open this August. But the majority of these stores will likely open far past August. From what I'm hearing, many—and perhaps most—lottery winners don't even have a lease at this point. A lot of them will probably want to move their locations, assuming the liquor board allows that. And then some may not clear further liquor board investigations.
With so few marijuana stores to start with, and so few licensed marijuana producers (22 as of this week), expect the starting price of legal pot to be ridiculously expensive. A year-and-a-half into this legal pot thing and I'm trying to have patience, but honestly, I'm getting a bit antsy for my weed. I'll be happy if I can score a legal gram of hash by Hempfest, but I think most cannabis consumers would do well to keep their dealer's number handy for now.
Why does this always happen after they leave office?
The federal government should legalize marijuana, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens told NPR’s Scott Simpson on Thursday. The 94-year-old former justice compared federal laws prohibiting marijuana to alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s.
I mean, I know that pot advocates should be happy that a former Supreme Court justice took a stand on legalizing marijuana. But you know what's better than a former Supreme Court justice talking about how pot should be legal? A fucking current Supreme Court justice talking about how pot should be legal.
On his monthly radio call-in show, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie repeated his stance on legalized marijuana. (He's against it.)
"For the people who are enamored with the idea with the income, the tax revenue from this, go to Colorado and see if you want to live there," the Republican said.
"See if you want to live in a major city in Colorado where there's head shops popping up on every corner and people flying into your airport just to come and get high. To me, it's just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey and there's no tax revenue that's worth that."
Somebody bookmark this quote and let's come back and discuss it again ten years from now, okay? This anti-pot stance already feels like something dragged out of the 1950s; a decade from now, Christie will be a laughing stock for his archaic views.
It is Saturday night, and 2312—a relatively new venue in Belltown—contains a cloud of ganja smoke. There is no place in the space to escape it. Every breath you take makes your head lighter and lighter until, finally, you are high. The source of this intoxicating smoke is a table near the entrance of 2312. At first appearance, it looks like the men behind the table are serving booze, but upon closer inspection, it's revealed that they are promoting something to do with marijuana—bongs, bottles, lighters, slow burning.
"It's Fearce OG Kush," explains BeanOne, a local veteran producer and the organizer of this private event, which is promoting the products and enterprises of Yuk the World, a business venture he started with the rapper Fearce Vill. (Fearce is one of three rappers in the local hiphop group Dyme Def.) "The strain was first made by Gold Leaf Gardens. They told us that it's the extracted elements of Fearce's DNA and particular parts of his brain matter," BeanOne says with a straight face. "The oil concentrate was made by X-tracted. They are the ones at the table. They're offering samples." From X-tracted's website: "X-tracted is a team of professionals, chemists, concentrate gurus, and industry insiders dedicated to the production of the finest concentrated cannabis products."
Did you know that City Hall has a secret womb-colored and bagel-scented ping-pong table on its bottom floor? WELL IT DOES. Yeah, that's right—womb-colored from the wall of red-glass doors that surrounds the alcove where the table sits, turning the whole space into a cavernous womb room, and bagel-scented from the little bagel shop next door. That fucker is amazing. It's a total fluke: Seattle City Council member Nick Licata is obsessed with ping-pong and got Northeastern University's Seattle campus to sell the City of Seattle the table for a dollar, just for fun. You can get paddles and a ball from the information desk with your ID.
Obviously, going to City Hall stoned isn't for everyone, so you can always try a bar. Teddy's in Roosevelt has a table out back, as does the Roanoke Park Place on Capitol Hill and the Twilight Exit in the Central District, during the warmer months. Olde 99 up on Aurora is reported to have one inside, accommodating all weather.
And ping-pong is such a stoner sport! One warning, though: Do not play against real ping-pongers (e.g., Council Member Licata—he will bruise you). ANNA MINARD
Go Swing a Racket
Being stoned and sedentary has its virtues, but stoned racket sports are a special kind of pleasure.
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