Now that it’s legal to buy marijuana in Oregon, my husband and I decided to travel down memory lane and check it out. Neither of us was ever a serious pothead but we did indulge from time to time, as did most kids of our generation. We’d been hearing that today’s weed is different from the ditch weed we used to smoke but we had no idea how different.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s the leaves were considered the good stuff; the seeds were basically garbage. Now the buds are what you want; go figure. It feels very strange to buy dope legitimately instead of a furtive deal through a “friend of a friend of a friend”. Turns out, there are five cannabis dispensaries here in Newport, as compared to only one liquor store. The times, they are clearly a’changing!
We settle on the Oregon Coast Dispensary for our maiden voyage – the name OCD seems appropriate – and walk into the tiny storefront feeling every minute of our advanced ages.
Entering the reception area, we’re met by Justin, a young man who looks about twelve. Before we can enter the sanctum sanctorum to score our weed, Justin has to check our drivers’ licenses. To his credit, he doesn’t fall over laughing when he sees how old we are.
Maybe he thinks we’re hip oldsters! That illusion is quickly punctured when my husband cheerily announces that the last time he smoked weed was in 1978. Justin tells us that’s before he was born. Ouch.
I have marginally more street cred, having last smoked in the early aughts with a guy who had taken me to lunch as part of a job interview and suggested a joint as dessert. (What could I do, turn it down?) I did get the offer, although the job ultimately fell through and my interviewer apparently left the country shortly afterwards in mysterious circumstances. “Under a cloud” was the only explanation I was ever given. I still wonder.
Anyway. Despite our obvious newbie status, we are allowed in the back room. Now the education begins. When I was in college, you bought (or were given) a baggie of weed, got some rolling papers and got stoned. Pretty straightforward.
Whoa – the choices are mind-boggling, and the dope we considered top shelf back then is now bottom of the barrel. Justin gently steers us away from the really powerful stuff; he’s obviously got our number by now.
Some get you giddy and giggly like the old days, munchies and all. Other types are supposed to mellow you out and help you sleep. Still others are for pain management. Some give you a “head” high; others a “body” high. Very confusing, and I’m not even stoned! All menu options are listed on a chart, classified by the amount of various chemicals (THC, CBD) and function. Justin makes lots of enthusiastic suggestions and opens jars for me to sniff.
They all smell like dirt. This, at least, is familiar.
We finally settle on two types that are suitable for beginners; i.e., we will not think we can fly, jump off the back deck and crack our skulls on our neighbors’ patio. We get a gram of Shark Shock, which is supposed to be good for back pain and other old-people ailments, and a gram of Purple Hindu Kush, for nighttime relaxation. Not sure why this is better than single-malt scotch but hey, when in Rome….
Next important decision: how to actually smoke the stuff. Apparently the done thing is to use a pipe. There are little ones that look dangerous – you could singe your eyebrows while lighting up – medium-sized ones, and some large glass pipes.
My husband, Mr. Cool, rejects the biggest one, offering the observation that the large pale pink glass pipe looks like a dildo. Great… just in case we didn’t look like total amateurs….
Transactions completed (cash only!), we stumble out into the bright sunlight with our drugs safely stashed in my purse and our dignity in tatters. It’s perfectly legal to carry less than an ounce but it still feels like the fuzz are going to pull us over at any moment. Strangely thrilling.
Night One. Back home, we wait for sunset to light up and choose the Purple Hindu Kush nighttime option. Our medium-sized pipe is hard to light and inhale without dropping bits of our stash all over the porch. (I knew we should have gone with the dildo!)
After fumbling around, coughing and blowing the flames out by mistake, we finally manage a slight buzz. It’s very pleasant – but it sure is a lot more work than pouring something out of a decanter.
Night Two. Our lungs are a little raw but we bravely soldier on in the name of science and smoke some Shark Shock. The next morning my husband says his back doesn’t ache as much as usual. I’m not sure I notice much of a difference.
After further discussion and analysis, we agree that we detest smoking and would rather not charcoal broil our lungs. So now what? Aha – we’ll cook with it!
A little Internet research reveals that our best option is to make something called cannabutter, which we can then put on toast or whatever. First hurdle: all the recipes call for an ounce of weed/a pound of butter. An ounce is 28 grams; we only have 2g.
All is not lost. I find a recipe that uses 2 ounces/2 tablespoons of butter, which I double, under the theory that you can never have too much butter.
Step One: Put the weed on a pan and dry it in the oven at low temp for about an hour. Now our house smells like my college dorm.
Step Two: Boil up some water in a pot, add the butter, add the dried-out dope and let it simmer for another hour. Now the whole neighborhood smells like my dorm.
Step Three: Put the pot-in-a-pot into the fridge to cool. Peel off the butter and store until ready for use.
I think I’m getting a slight high from handling and breathing this in. Or maybe it’s the power of suggestion. Either way, I spend the rest of the day in a vaguely lazy, Sunday-afternoon kind of fog.
A Few Days Later: Time to test this as an ingestible. We toast up some sourdough bread, spread a small amount of cannabutter on it, and wait to see what happens. Other than tasting like lawn clippings, the result is subtle, though I do sleep soundly.
Next time, I use a little more of the doctored butter. Again, only a mild effect. I may not have made it correctly but, to be honest, I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble.
Conclusion: Without the whole counterculture/In A Gadda Da Vida/“Is Paul Dead?” overlay, the experience is more suburban than subversive. Which begs the question, why isn’t this legal everywhere?
Long story short, I’m sticking with Bunnahabhain or a glass of port for the rest of my Summer of Love.
Anyone want a nearly new pipe??