Weekend Open Thread: A Potent Problem for Cannabiz Makes a Case for Bud Lite


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Obama toking

Beware: smoking marijuana as a youth can lead to delayed effects such as deploying one’s Administration’s power to try to obstruct states from legalizing marijuana either for medical reasons or more generally.

Today, brothers and sisters of the Juice, we’re going to talk about the cannabis biz, aka the “cannabiz.”  (And yes, www.canna.biz is taken; don’t even bother.  I looked it up.)

Since our demographics do skew somewhat old — the median age of our readers is approximately 76 — there are developments in the burgeoning world of legalized marijuana of which some might not be aware.  As an advocate of marijuana legalization, I recognize that they’re things I have to contend with — and I’m willing to have that conversation.  Here’s one you may not have heard: the market for legal marijuana for us oldsters (meaning above 35 or so) is sadly unfulfilled. (I’m going to quote five whole paragraphs, because one is mostly riffing on a Louis C.K. routine, which people my age consider to be holy writ.)

Clearly, there’s a market segment out there that isn’t being catered to by the dope industry. And these relatively affluent customers want something more like a glass of wine at the end of the day than the effect summarized by one recent review of the guava dawg strain in Northwest Leaf magazine: “lung expansion, flavor worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, and the ability to instantly make my face feel like it’s been shrink-wrapped.”

Marijuana is much stronger than it used to be. Lots of the strains for sale at medical marijuana dispensaries are approaching 25 percent THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in the plant known for getting you wicked high. Sitting around a winter solstice bonfire in the Seattle area this December, I heard a woman in her 60s tell a story about her husband taking a tiny toke on a joint that was going around a dinner party, only to pass out in his chair. Another friend and her husband, in their 30s, decided to share a marijuana caramel after their daughter went to bed. They got way too stoned and entered a shared freak-out about how they would deal if she came out to ask for a glass of water.

An elder statesman of Generation X, comedian Louis C.K., has a bit in his Live at the Beacon Theater special about taking “big hits. Like big, 1970s, jean jacket, Bad Company hits” of modern, high potency dope, and then everything going terrifically terrible. “When I was a kid you could just smoke a joint for a while. Now you take two hits and you goinsane,” he says. “It’s not doable anymore.”

“Our potencies here are off the scale,” confirms longtime grower Todd Ellison, co-founder of Colorado Marijuana Marketing, a one-stop shop for weed-related entrepreneurs in search of marketing help. “I have a guy who taught me to grow, who has been growing since the ’60s. And this stuff blows him away.” And Ellison agrees. “I am almost 40. I’ve got three kids. You don’t want something that is going to lay you out and make you stupid all day.”

Why is dope so strong? Because plants with big, strong buds maximize the profit of the basement grower. Plus, the people who grow it and sell it also smoke it, and they’ve got high tolerances and a deep fondness for its effects. They like it strong.

Why is the economy of legal marijuana so wack?  For that, you have to read the whole article — and I really recommend this one.  It identifies both problems and solutions with commercial legalized  pot, mostly why there does need to be something that isn’t mind-twisting but also isn’t skunky and disgusting, like the mellow “glass of wine” that some of us remember from the ’70s.  (Yes, one solution is “take less” and another might be “ingenst differently” — but come on.  ”Take less” like saying that rather than people who want to drink a beer should instead just have a small shot of Everclear; it’s not the same experience.  And “ingest different” — well, we oldsters have to worry more about calories, and clearing all junk food from the house is hard enough as it is without having brownies there staring at you, daring you, have some more, have some more….)

This is your Weekend Open Thread.  Make it a safe and sane one.  Talk about this article/issue or anything else you’d like, within bounds of decency and decorum.


About Greg Diamond

Prolix worker's rights and government accountability attorney and General Counsel of CATER. His anti-corruption work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, leading them to work with the Democratic Party of Orange County Chair and other co-conspirators (who had long detested the internal oversight his presence provided) to remove him from the position of DPOC North Vice Chair of in violation of party rules and any semblance of due process. He also runs for office sometimes. Unless otherwise specifically stated, none of his writings prior to that lawless putsch ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Beautiful Bountiful Brea, but while he may brag about it he generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for candidates including Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and (except where noted) without compensation.