2014-SEP-26 [FRI] 09:40 (PMT) - BUYING LEGAL WEED
2014-SEP-26 [FRI] 21:40 (PMT) Table Of Contents
Buying Legal Weed 2014-09-26 09:40 PM (PMT)
This is Dave and I'm taking over this blog for this one piece. I'm someone, who you could say was, "knowledgeable" about pot and have recently purchased some... legally. I'm 58 now and remember first smoking it when I was 18. It changed my life. I was in the Air Force, straight laced and wanted to help end the drug scourge. It's dirty tentacles led everywhere and destroyed everything in it's way. I was seriously against drugs. They were destroying America. At that point in my life, that was the bottom line for me.
Then, one day I had a few two many beers and smoked my first joint.
And like I said, it changed my life.
But, the drug itself didn't change me as much as that it made me realize that the government was lying. And, what else was the government lying about? At the time, we had just ended the Vietnam War, and my realization that the government could lie to us, it made me stop and think about and look more closely at the war itself, a lot closer than I would have otherwise, but what I found out about that is for another blog post, not this one.
I've made many mistakes in my life, but pot was not one of them. The one major thing that pot made me want to do, more than anything, was made me want to write. To be perfectly honest, I am writing this very paragraph high. I once wrote a thesis for a college English course concerning the legalization of pot (marijuana), and why it should be, while I was high, and used an old fashioned typewriter to type it out in one sitting, handed it in to the instructo, and despite the fact that I was not only graded on thesis structure, logic, grammar, and punctuation, I still got an "A" for a paper I composed on the spot, and typed while high, and that wasn't the only thesis I did like that. We had to do one for every week we were in class, more than a dozen papers, but I still ended up with a "4.0" in that class. Don't tell me pot makes you stupid.
Pot is not the evil stepsister of heroin, like many people try to make it out to be by making it a Schedule 1 drug (as bad as heroin and worse than cocaine), and I have yet to meet anyone who thinks or acts like pot is some kind of evil drug that will make you go psychotic and become violent. I've never seen that, or ever heard of that happening... ever.
Plus, the gateway drug in my life was not marijuana, but instead, it was beer.
I figured I had to write all that before getting to the main point of this whole piece, buying legal weed.
But one more thing, money. Before I left the East Coast to live out here, I told my sister, "Pot was gonna be legal within twenty years." That was back in 1990. I was off by 2 years. Hopefully, my sister remembers me saying this.
Anyway, the thing I based that on was the same idea behind why alcohol was legalized again, they needed the tax money. Smart money-minded people would eventually realize the money angle to legalizing pot. It finally happened and now other states were beginning to see the kind of money that can be made from legal weed, whether it be medicinal or recreational, but legalizing recreational weed is the first step in the final step to total legalization.
The problem where I live (here in Seattle) is that after 56% of voters voted yes to pass Initiative 502 (making recreational weed legal) it took longer for the laws to be written compared to Colorado (the other state that legalized weed at the same time), and the licensing process to spit out good licenses, than it really should have, but Washington wanted to do it right and their idea of right was to first have everybody pay into a lottery, and after the lottery selected the winners, they would then have to survive a serious review of their case, before they'd be given the go ahead to grow weed.
At least, that's how I saw it.
The distribution stores had to go through the same lottery and same rigorous scrutiny, which included a security procedure review, and let's see that lease sonny, and also make sure your not selling near where kids can get ahold of the stuff, near a school or bus stop. Despite all that, they could still start operating immediately on the first date they were allowed to open. But before they could start selling anything, the growers still had to grow it.
But they couldn't start growing it until they first got approval to grow it, or in short, they had get a license first before they could start growing it.
The growers couldn't just put a seed in the ground the next day, and then have a load of weed to sell the day after. It takes anywhere from three to four months to grow some good weed and at least another two to three weeks to cure it and than another couple weeks to package and distribute it to the stores to sell. We're talking about four to five months or maybe longer to get the product ready to sell.
The growers weren't given a go-ahead to start growing all at once. They had to wait until the license they won through the lottery was approved. You had to basicly prove two things. No kids could get access to the growing facility, or anyone else (except employees) could get at the pot, and that it could be tracked and audited throughout the whole growing and selling process.
I'm not exactly sure what the tracking process entails, but I get the impression that it also included introducing some kind of biochemical marker into the plant somehow (by water maybe) so the original grower can always be identified.
Or, something like that.
Anyway, the growers license lottery was held before the sellers was, about a month before I think, but after the growers lottery was held, only one farm was approved, and it took weeks after the lottery for them to finally get that one approved, so it could begin growing.
All the other lottery winners were still waiting to get approval, and it wasn't like they were approving a whole bunch of licenses all at once, every day. It looked like they were approving maybe one license a week, and sometimes more than a week to get one license approved, and I also think it took almost a month (or maybe more, or a little less) for the second grow license to be approved.
After the first license to grow was approved, it was obvious after a couple weeks and no second farm had been approved yet, that it became the unanswered question in the room. How was this one farm suppose to supply all of Washington? I think it took almost a month (or maybe more) to get the next license to grow approved. You could see disaster written all over this.
A few weeks before the stores were going to open in July, a biochemist, who was a required step in the disribution process, roughly said that only one farm had offered product for inspection. Time was getting short for other farms to have product ready by opening day. He didn't go so far as to say it was going to be a disaster, but I could see it coming. I can sometimes be overly dramatic, but fortunately I was wrong this time.
But, a disaster of sorts did happen though, the first month or so, stores ran out quickly, and that made prices high, supply and demand equal price was at work big time here. And after the first batch ran out, it took another two to three weeks before a new supply would become available again.
Growers weren't the only ones having problems. Store licensing was taking a long time also. I think that when stores were allowed to open in July, that there were only two, three, or four stores (in the whole state) ready to sell anything anyway. Which, in a way, might have been a good thing, because the supply was limited to begin with and more stores meant less for each store to sell. It's like having two cases of beer, the only beer that can be legally sold in the state, and divide that beer amongst four stores rather than a couple hundred stores. If you divided the two cases of beer amongst 200 stores, each store would end up with a shot glass (or two) of beer to sell. That would run out real quick. Real quick.
Now imagine four stores selling a half case of beer a piece. If you went to one of the four stores early enough, chances were good you'd get some beer, but if you had to decide which of two-hundred stores would still have a some of that shot left to sell when you got there. That's why having four stores selling a small amount of product is better than two-hundred trying to sell that same small amount of product, but I also heard rumours that some of the medical marijuana stores were selling it to you even if you didn't have a medical card, and they were regulated differently than recreational pot so they had a different source for their product, so it wasn't really as bad a disaster as I had envisioned it would be.
Forgetting that for the moment, basicly, you had four stores to take your chance on (rather than two-hundred) and that would make it more probable (if you lived near one of those four stores, otherwise you were simply out of luck and had to continue depending on your black market supply) you'd be able to get some of that green stuff. Two hundred store trying to sell two cases of beer, would mean any store you went to, even if you had to wait in line, it would be one hell of a crap shoot that you would end up getting some. I know, crappy logic, but that's how my mind works.
I've been watching and researching the Washington way of doing pot right, and so I knew the supply was going to be slow at first, so I didn't even bother trying to get any. I knew it would sell out quick.
That's why I waited until now to check things out. More growers have been licensed and thus more of a supply starting to come it.
But, today was not my first visit to the store. Earlier this week, was my first visit. At that time, the only thing they had was prerolled pot. I bought a couple of those. 2 grams for $45 (all tax already calculated). I brought those bad boys home and when I first pulled them out of the stapled paper bag, I looked at the numbers labeled to the bag they came in.
But first, one other thing that growers had to do before being allowed to distribute their product, they first had to have it checked (approved) by a biochemist designated by the state and that is where, I think, the values on the label come from.
Anyway, here they are. Cannabinoid Totals are "8.29%" with THC-acid being "7.28%" and THC-dcrb being "0.67%".
This afternoon (SEP-27-2014 13:48), in the "USA Today", I found the following article about buying pot in Washington State:
Marijuana legal but often scarce in Washington state - WA USA
"SEATTLE - A little more than two months after Washington launched recreational marijuana sales, you'd be hard pressed to stumble upon any pot shops in the state's biggest city: Until this weekend, only one marijuana store was open in Seattle, and getting there required a trek through industrial developments far from downtown... "
This morning, I got up and watched some Saturday morning cartoons, had a coffee, a cigarette and a toke. Now I'm ready to get back to work, which was when I found the above piece.
Anyway Tuesday, I bought a couple prerolled joints, 2 grams apiece, for $45 each, $90 all together. I just walked in, no waiting. That would be different Friday when they had some actual flower to sell. But today, I just walked in and got carded. That's the first thing that happens when you walk in, before you get to even see any product, is they ask to see your ID.
It was a small store, not much bigger than 20 feet by 20 feet, and you could see everything once you walked in the door, but you couldn't buy anything until the guy at the door got to check your ID, to be sure I was over 21. I'm 58, so you got to know that was a legal requirement. Check ID, regardless of how old the person looks.
Once I got to one of the three counters, you could see what exactly they were selling. They also sold papers, screens, and if I remember correctly, bongs also. I'm not sure about that, just an impression I got. I was more interested in what they had to sell, pot wise, and all they had was shake and prerollies, and like I said earlier, I bought two of the rollies. I think, maybe at the time, they had a half-dozen left, or something like that and about the same amount of shake, a half a dozen or so, maybe less.
The minute I saw the rollies, I knew they were filled with pot that had been ground down to a shake like substance. I didn't like that too much, but since that's all they had, I paid my money and got out of there. One thing that I did like was the price that was marked was the price that you paid. Taxes were already included in the marked price. It's a small thing, but I like it when you already know what you'll be paying before you get to the checkout, then they add those pesky taxes. It was a nice touch.
I got home and opened up the little paper bag they had stapled shut with my two little goodies inside. I looked at the receipt. The product itself cost $82.12, and the tax was $7.88, total price $90.
I put that down and opened one of the bags. Nice reusable, reclosable plastic bags too, rip off the top, and you still have one of those plastic zippers to close the top again, keeping everything inside fresh and potent. After opening one of the plastic bags, I pulled out the rollie. It was fat on one end tapering to a skinny end with a thin cardboard piece you can use to smoke the joint through. I first tried smoking it the way it was, but found that wasn't very easy. Pulling all that smoke through all those ground up leaves was quite the task. So, I cut the joint in two at about an inch off from the thin end and opened up the fat part, section by section, and put the powder in my pipe and smoked it that way. I did the same thing with the second joint also.
I gave the ends away so I didn't get to see how they smoked, but probably no different than smoking them through a pipe really, in my opinion.
The first toke out of the pipe was nice, not great, but nice. The second was a little better, but the stuff burned real fast. I got high off it, there was no question about that, but I was still disappointed. For $90, I thought I would have gotten a better high than this.
Then, on Thursday, I went to the store's website and saw that some flowers would be available the next day, Friday (SEP-26-2014). I decided to try again then. The store didn't open until noon, so it wasn't like I had to get up early in order to get there on time.
I was still an hour late. There was a line, but it wasn't nearly as long as I thought it would be. I was in line for less than an hour. When I got towards the front of the line, I noticed the ID guy was doing his thing outside, before anyone was even allowed in the store.
Once I got inside, I noticed that he was only letting in as many people as there were checkout counters, which was also where you could see, in glass cases, what they had to sell. Since there were three counters, three groups of people were let in at a time. Since I was alone, I had a counter all to myself. I looked for the supply of flowers, which were displayed at the very top of the case. One set was labeled "Indica" and the other was labeled "Sativa".
The "Indica" strain gives you more of a body high, while the "Sativa" strain gives you more of a head high, and that's what I wanted, so I bought the "Sativa" strain, which was spelled "Conex" or "Conix", or so I thought at the time any way.
Once I got home and looked at the box the pot came in, it didn't have the name of the pot on the box anywhere that I could see. It had the grower's name (farm) printed on the front, and on the back, the license and UBI number, the webpage of the grower, and a couple warnings, "This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming", and "This product is unlawful outside Washington state." And finally, on a small white label on the back, upside-down, in small letters and numbers, the chemical and lot numbers, and at the top was the "Strain: Cinex Sativa: 80%". Then under that, Net Weight: 4 grams, 1.05% THC, folowed underneath by, 17.49% THC-A, 0.51% CBD, Total: 19.40%, Harvested 9/10/2014, followed by the lot number.
The pot was in a sealed piece of plastic that wasn't as reusable as the bags the rollies came in. But, in it were some six medium size buds, and a couple smaller ones, but it looked like four grams. The buds themselves looked good. Real good as a matter of fact. I opened the package and put a piece in my pipe and smoked it, and honest to God, the first thing I thought was, "Now that's what I'm talking about!" It had a nice taste and that green hit was nice to my head also. Way better than that rollie pot. Way better.
It still wasn't worth $90 though. That's the most I have ever paid for that amount of pot, so it was a bit of a shock, but I remember in the 70s when pot became hard to find and finally coming back costing way more than the ten dollars a lid (ounce) it cost when I was buying it. It jumped, if I remember correctly to $40 an ounce, and today we jumped to paying $40 for just a little over three grams of pot (Known as an eight), and now here comes legal pot costing $90 for four grams. That's a big jump, in my opinion.
Let's compare it this way. A $10 lid (ounce) back in the 70s, before legal pot, worked it's way (over 40 years) to finally costing roughly around $300 to buy. Now, with legal pot, that same ounce now cost $630. The first jump is bad enough, but literally doubling the cost in one year is a big jump, in my opinion. Not as bad as when it first jumped from $10 to $40, but still bad enough. As an aside, though the price jumped, the pot did indeed get better. You literally weren't buying the same shit that you paid $10 for. The $10 shit then eventually and stereotypically became known as "Mexican" pot and still is as far as I can tell. The price never went down again, but the quality kept getting better, so people didn't mind paying the higher price as much.
Today though, in my opinion, the higher price hasn't produced better pot. It just cost more, but I believe the prices are going to change soon, and get lower sooner than later.
Because I believe that as more growers get involved, and more stores start selling and as the supply becomes more plentiful, prices will fall. That's the way economics works. Competition tends to drive prices down, and then there's the rule of supply and demand. High demand and low supply drives prices higher. You've seen that happen with gas prices, production falls, prices go up, and when production increases, prices begin to drop again, but that's all just my theory and my opinion. It'll still be interesting to see what really happens though.
I do remember saying once that "I don't care if they tax the shit out of it, as long as they made it legal," but $90 for four grams of pot (a seventh) still does seem a bit steep. But, still not as bad as I thought it would get. I was envisioning paying $100 for one gram. Wow, so $90 for four grams doesn't seem so bad in comparison to that, in my opinion.
Second marijuana shop opens in Seattle - WA USA