If you had told me back in the day I would walk into a nice clean store on Main Street, and legally buy marijuana, I would’ve told you that you’d been smoking too much of your own product. In a former lifetime, when I was a recreational user, the idea of pot being legal – in any sense of the word – was a George Carlin comedy routine. So, when I finally got to my local marijuana store, after acquiring the official state license ($150 and a phone call), it was a bit of a surreal experience. A little Twilight Zone-ian.
After passing through mildly tight security (they buzz you into the lobby from the street, and then into the actual store after showing your official marijuana card and a photo ID), I found myself in a retail space that felt like an upscale book store. I sat down in a side room with a nice young man (Jeff?) to go over the menu. We talked about my previous experience with marijuana, and as we talked all about the different strains, Indica versus Sativa, the various cookies, or “Medibles” (lemon crinkle, gingersnap and peanut butter chocolate chip), I waxed nostalgic about the olden days of buying who knew what kind of pot in a Ziploc baggie from a friend of a friend. “This is all different,” Jeff assured me, the cannabis (as they prefer to call it) is now all carefully grown and graded and cleaned and packaged. He helped me make my selections – 1g each of LA Confidential and M.O.B. – and released me to the sales floor.
There was a lounge area with a few tables and chairs and soft indirect lighting. Not a smoking room (no smoking of any kind!), like a Christian Science Reading Room. Separated by a bookshelf room divider, the other side of the room was where the actual business transactions took place. I waited in line for my number to be flashed up on the overhead display, just like waiting your turn at the deli counter. There was the “Everyday Value Menu” and the day’s specials. When my turn came, I stepped up to the counter and I gave my “Pot-ista,” my order. She came back with two hermetically sealed plastic packages with my very own medical marijuana in them. I paid (cash only as The Man does not allow credit card transactions for this particular product line), they put my cannabis in a little shopping bag, along with a glass pipe I purchased (one stop shopping!), and a folder with a copy of the menu and some other promotional materials.
And off I went! I had just made my first mostly legal (it’s still illegal according to federal law) purchase of medical marijuana. The kids back in 1976 would never believe this. Brave new world.
Stay tuned for my product review in Part 2.