- - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Denver calls itself Pothead City, but it has competition. In Seattle, a pothead can get a high out of a soda-pop bottle, and more reefer madness is on the way.

Colorado and Washington are the only states where pot is legal, but voters in Alaska and Oregon will decide in November whether to embrace legal marijuana, to see whether sanctioned tokes are as satisfying as the outlaw stuff. The northwest corner of the continent might soon float away on a monster high, fit for a colossus.

Legal pot is no longer the forbidden pleasure of aging hippies, furtive teenagers and the deliberately unemployed. Tokes have gone uptown.

The London newspapers can’t get enough pot news from the misbehaving natives in the Colonies. An awed reporter for The Daily Telegraph tells of his visit to a “cannabis-friendly” art gallery in downtown Denver. All about are modernist paintings, expensive wines on ever-circulating trays, and platters of bacon-wrapped Medjool dates, brie, mango and chili quesadillas. It’s cannabis for the chattering class. The Telegraph account goes on:

“Relaxing on a plush black-leather sofa while waiters supply canapes of Camembert stuffed with fig butter, Candy Nuss, 59, and her sister, CynDee Williams, 62, a grandmother of four, are giggling like schoolgirls.

“I brought some marijuana with me tonight,” Candy tells her sister, opening a silver case revealing two carefully rolled joints. “It’s called ‘sour diesel.’ It’s a great strain that’s really tasty. It’s beautiful. A really good high.”

It’s all very matter of fact. When President Obama stopped into Wazee Supper Club, a bar, on a surreal visit to Denver earlier in the summer, he shook the hand of a man in a horse’s head, who asked him: “Want a hit, dude?” If he did, the president declined, keeping up appearances.

In Seattle, some of the natives are in a tizzy over a fizzy called Legal, a soda pop infused with 10 milligrams of liquid cannabis. Legal comes in cherry, lemon and pomegranate, advertised as “a gentler alternative to smoking” at $10 a pop. Regular smoking is still regarded as evil by the politically correct, even if pot is not. Tokes are terrific, even if smoking tobacco is a social atrocity.

The soda pop comes with a lot of promise, a drink “so ridiculously relaxing that you may find yourself becoming one with the furniture.” Indeed, one advertisement includes the tagline: “Couch, meet butt … You’ll swim off into a day of work or play filled to the brim with pure joy.”

But for now, partakers of that particular pure joy must take it like medicine, content with “becoming one with the furniture” (a piano leg, perhaps, or side table). The fizz biz is restricted to certified cannabis dispensaries. The carbonated pause that refreshes is all there is until that distant day.

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