So you’re in Washington State and you want to buy some pot, eh? If this is going to be your first time in a cannabis dispensary, expect to be grinning from ear to ear as soon as you enter. It’s a marvelous feeling to exercise aspects our “freedom” that’ve been unjustly out of reach for so long. Even if you’ve been buying pot for decades, it’s hard not to be impressed by some of the merchandise displays, online menu systems, and elaborate interior decorating seen in retail stores all over the state.
I’m not here to talk about flat-screen menus and mood lighting, though! There’s a few things the industry’s competitive nature tends to overlook in those tourist brochures you can find at the airports, hotels, and dispensaries themselves.
Since all states that have legalized adult-use cannabis have done so through voter initiatives instead of direct legislative action, the legal cannabis trade has developed without much legislative oversight. Legal weed is still full of phony sales pitches, seed-filled flowers, and products contaminated with everything from E. coli to heavy metals to the infamous myclobutanil fungicide.
That sounds gross, what do I do?
Luckily, you won’t have to bite the bullet and take those chances anymore. By giving consumers access to more and more choices, legalization is putting consumer power back into the people’s hands. But how can you use that power? Making informed choices in a competitive market as loosely regulated as retail cannabis would require some serious trial and error, research, interviews, lab tests, and-
This legal weed thing is starting to sound complicated, i502Drew!
I know, I know. You were planning to look at a menu, buy some weed, and smoke it. If you don’t have to, say, wait 36 hours for someone to pause their FIFA match and step outside of their grandma’s house– or slouch down into a carseat when you realize the ricemobile scraping its way into the 7/11 parking lot is being driven by none other than your coworker’s dealer (who you had no intention of meeting, except for the fact that the 36-hour delivery window wasn’t–)
You get the point. Buying cannabis has changed and it’s WAY easier to find good weed in the Evergreen State than it is a decent pizza (seriously though). It’s as simple as entering one of the over 750 licensed retail stores with a 21+ ID and a handful of dollar bills. And, yes, all of it will get you high one way or another. Buuuuut- some of it might make you sick (did you know staph infections love to camp out on marijuana? How’s that make you feel about girls with weed in their g-strings?) or leave your lips tingling with a toxic chemical residue. Talk about a buzzkill!
That’s not all, though.
What’s happening out here in the Pacific Northwest is so vastly unprecedented in the last century of American history that most people hardly know what’s happening yet. It won’t be long before nearly every single U.S. State will be legislating some sort of law that exempts cannabis from the dark, disgusting machine known as the Controlled Substances Act.
Everyone from farmers, to scientists, sociologists, engineers, attorneys, doctors, politicians, economists, law enforcement, judges, and more, have a HELL OF A LOT at stake here. In fact, there isn’t a damn person in this country whether white, black, legal, alien, poor, rich, or unemployed that won’t be talking about how legalization effects them by this time come 2018. There’s a lot riding on the consumers of legalized cannabis to put our money where our mouths are!
My point is, our choices are being scrutinized by more than just license holders and ancillary businesses. The strongest army for battling the privatized prison industry and the pharmaceutically-monopolized health care industry is made from successful state-legal cannabis businesses.
Finally, let’s never forget those still stowed away in prison for doing exactly what you’re about to do, either. Ending prohibition is and always has been about the oppression of marginalized people. The least we can do is buy some weed without filling the pockets of the same rich fucks that left us out to dry until they could legally profit from us, right?
I’ll make you a deal. . . Leave all the the research and guinea pig trialing to me, and, if you find it useful, then come back to stay up-to-date with what’s really going on behind the scenes of the legalized marijuana industry! Your lungs, nostrils, and taste buds will come to appreciate the warmth and hope that emanates from cannabis legalization when we make it about the people that prohibition has targeted and not just the plants.