Field Trip: The pot store, pt. 2

la-confidentialThis ain’t your dad’s marijuana. At least it certainly ain’t my dad’s marijuana. This stuff I got is far more potent than anything I’ve ever had before. It doesn’t smell like it, it doesn’t taste like it, it doesn’t even look like it. When I opened the packet, I was met with a heady aroma, floral and sweet and spicy. Inside the packets were tight buds of pale olive green with strands of bright red woven through them. Definitely not the baggie of stems and seeds and shake that I grew up with.

I’ve written and rewritten this part of the story several times. After about two weeks of investigation and testing, I’m still not sure if it’s doing what I want it to. I was hoping for a slam-dunk, a “Wow, this stuff is amazing!” moment. I was hopeful that at the very least, it would ease the painful and random Charlie-horse leg cramps that keep me awake most nights, and maybe even help me get off the drugs I take for insomnia. I was hoping to be amazed.

What I’ve found is that in the two weeks that I’ve been smoking it before bed (and often again during the night), I’m having much less cramping. Not no cramping, but fewer episodes, and less intense. Nothing amazing, but it’s better. Nothing else I tried made a dent – not stretching, not medications, not “eat a banana before bed.” Cannabis has not eradicated this problem, but it is much better. I will need to go back to The Store to talk with the pot-istas and the experts, and see if we can fine-tune the product, but for now, I’m happy with the results. I’ve enjoyed doing the research and field testing – no hardship there.

In the meantime, I’ll just be holed up in my laboratory continuing my scientific investigations. Let’s hope The Man doesn’t get all up in our business.
560Click here to buy my t-shirt! Show the world you’ve got spoons. 100% cotton t-shirt is perfect for summer. Wear it everywhere! Original artwork by Val Sivilli. 50% of profits go directly to the National MS Society.



Field Trip: The Pot Store, Part 1

iuIf 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.


The earth must still be turning.

The solar system’s continued rotation is assured, because my birthday is approaching again. I’ve never been one of those to fret and agonize about getting another year older. I think grey hair is a badge of honor. When I was a kid, the thought of getting stuff was almost more than I could bear. Lists were drawn up and edited. Parties organized with all my friends gathered in the backyard, all for me. I loved the attention, even though I think I was always a little let down the next day when my life was essentially unchanged. I had to go back to school, and do chores, and no one was paying special attention to me any more. The realization that all of that was only for that one day came hard.

Now that I’m older and theoretically wiser, my birthday is quite a bit different. I still wear the grey hair proudly, and I’m always glad to have survived another year on this side of the grass. But when people ask what I want for my birthday, my answer is dramatically different. It used to be that what I wanted was whatever I had been convinced was the Best Thing In The World by the shills who interrupted F-Troop and Gilligan’s Island. Now, if there are “things” I want, I usually just get them for myself. And, frankly, the allure of “things” faded a long time ago. I already have more “things” than I know what to do with, and the shelves at Goodwill hold many of the things I once thought important. So, “What do you want for your birthday,” is a difficult question to answer.

Well, no not really. What I want is very clear to me – it’s the same thing I’ve wanted for the past 10 or so years. The difficulty is in making in known what I want. In some ways, it seems like a simple request, and a painfully obvious one. The things I CAN have I don’t really want, and the one thing I DO want, no one can give me.

I’d like to walk. I’d like to drive a car. I’d like to sleep at night unmedicated. I’d really like to never have to put my ass into another wheelchair or lean on another walker. Etc. My therapist asked me recently if I had found any silver lining in MS. I thought for a moment, and said, flatly, “No.” I would gladly trade any and all of the discoveries I’ve made about human nature or my own nature for the ability to walk unaided.

I read this back to myself, and I cannot escape the fact that it sounds somehow whiney and complainy. It is not meant in any way to suggest that there are not myriad things I am thankful for every day, but that’s a different holiday. For my birthday, like perhaps some of you, the only thing I want is the only thing I can’t have.

A stock to watch

I guess it was only a matter of time, but this is the first marijuana-based stock I’ve seen. I’m not a wall street watcher by any means, so maybe this is old news, but I expect there will be more.

Keep an eye on Medical Marijuana Inc., and their stock ticker.

A new kind of farmer’s market

Deidre Finley owns a small spread not far from Tacoma, Washington. Not huge, just 11 acres, with a nursery where she had planned to pursue a business in ornamental plants. But as the local economy changed, the market for such luxuries dried up. Finley looked into several other means to make her living from the land, including a doggy day care and simply renting out the property. But nothing worked out to allow her to stay on her acreage.

She settled finally on her Plan B – a medical marijuana farm. After extensive research, both of farming techniques and legal matters, MMJ Universe was born. Working closely with other growers and vendors in the area, most notably Kind Alternative Medical Co. Finley finds herself operating a lively and thriving medical marijuana farmer’s market. Amidst the greenhouse and garden, live music plays while customers – granted access only after careful scrutiny of their paperwork and identification – can shop for “produce,” gifts, and other products that they need. Says Finley,  “It’s a win-win to find something where you can help people. It’s so heartwarming to see people come in with braces and canes and walkers and just find relief.”

Read more about MMJ Universe, at Enumclaw Patch.