My cousin was born a month before me. Like many people today, he tried his first hit of weed well into his adulthood. It was at nearly 30 years old that I had the great pleasure of introducing him to his first bong hit. We sat around his living room floor in Huntington Beach like a bunch of high school kids and loaded him a bowl. The rest of that story is lost to the haze of the session.
Shortly afterwards my cousin mentioned, “You know, it kinda sucks that I’ll never have that ‘real weed experience,’ like the excitement of doing something you shouldn’t do.”
I replied, “You want that feeling? Pack a bong and bring it down to the Huntington pier, sit in your car and hotbox it.” (He didn’t, and you shouldn’t.) We laughed, but the sentiment he expressed is something funny to consider. Is weed as enjoyable without the thrill of the risk?
The benefits of cannabis are extolled on daytime television and the juggernaut of legalization is seemingly unstoppable worldwide. What was once counterculture is now becoming very much mainstream with some cities having what feels like equal access to coffee as they do cannabis?.
Many folks today have their first experience with cannabis in the form of concentrates, vape pens or edibles because it’s all accessible legally and safely. The entire ground has shifted beneath what was once a black market, but this is just the start.
There’s a tendency to remember the past with nostalgia. At the risk of sounding like an old man yelling at the clouds, I remember when hash was really special and hard to find for me. When I got my hands on incredible weed, I would save that last bud or two like it was the last bit of water on a deserted island. I had a plug and a back up plug. Everything was harder, weirder, more awkward, and when I traveled, I had a good chance of getting scammed or worse…mids.
Until relatively recently, anyone who kept that counterculture alive, carried that torch under great risk of imprisonment or potentially worse, from unscrupulous thieves who may or may not have much regard for human life. Sure, the money was obviously a driving factor, however, that doesn’t undermine the risk involved. Even the casual “dope smoker” was a target and people are still serving serious time for what we would consider minor offences.
Legalizing a previously illegal substance should be expected to come with growing pains. Consider the United States and their end of the prohibition of alcohol. Check out this newsreel from 1933 on the topic:
Even though we marked the end of the prohibition in 1933, in this video you can see that it wasn’t exactly a fluent transition across the nation.
While a lot of times people like to complain about certain aspects of the legal weed industry, consider the position in which we have found ourselves and where that will likely lead. Stakeholders in the cannabis industry (because even back then, it was still an industry.) have gone from hiding to negotiating. The barriers to entry are quickly becoming normalized. Pot may be one of the most regulated legal substances in the country right now, but will it be in 10 or 20 years? Given the steps forward that we have seen in the last decade, one could assume things are only going to get better. Given time, it will all shift in directions we may not even predict.
So the question is, is weed even cool anymore or has legalization caused it to lose some of its lustre? Well, that depends, do you want to meet up with “Trey” in skinny jeans at the back of Bovine Sex Club to get a cigarette box full of “OG” that may or may not be full of seeds, or would you rather choose from an ever growing, shockingly large array of products offered sans potential run-ins with the law through a clean retail establishment, that oh, also offers coupons.
No shade to the old heads who still love and rely on their plug to bring them a bag of stanky stuff each week. God bless them for supporting a legacy industry, but shops are great for people like my retired mom, who after a life working hard doesn’t mind driving to the “weed shop” to safely pick up a, “doobie to tote.” Think about this, in Canada now, all over, Mom can buy weed online. Isn’t it great that she has options? I think it’s totally cool that my mom can now “tote” all the “doobies” she wants.
P.S. Don’t worry about “Trey”, he is doing great. You can still find him smoking a Marb. on any given Thursday night outside a rotating array of venues on Queen Street. He started a custom speaker cab. fabrication company that’s really picking up, and he just had a kid. (Jah bless)
By Richard “Dick” Weed, Guest Contributor, for Potsmart