Living in the heart of the Emerald Triangle, it is easy to get lost in our reality bubble where everyone lives, breathes and smokes cannabis. Our small world of cultivators, processors, dispensary operators and patients seems large to those us is in the middle of it. However, in the past month I have made the bold move to step out of our bubble a couple of times, opening my eyes to our unique existence and showing just how blessed we are.
My first excursion was a fascinating dip into the world of wine in Napa County. Foolishly, I expected it to similar to cannabis country. I was with four women friends I’ve known forever and they don’t get high. Not a problem, I had some edibles with me and that helped me sleep at night. And while I don’t drink wine, I could appreciate the stunning vast vineyards and my friends enjoying a glass or two of a lovely Cabernet.
Clearly, however, this was another world from two counties over in Mendocino. Ancient looking stone walls framed tree lined roads studded with imposing castle-like wineries. Teslas and Mercedes languidly cruised from expensive Michelin-star restaurants to yet another wine tasting or perhaps a golf game or balloon ride. The place reeked of money and luxury and all the benefits of being in the wine world, a very exclusive club. Boy, did I feel out of place!
At one point I simply wanted to show off our Swami Select violet blue Miron glass jars with our unique labeling to my lady friends. While they appreciated the marketing efforts, when I opened the jar to display a big beautiful and very pungent bud of In The Pines, one woman jumped back as if it were going to spring right out of the jar and attack her. This took me by utter surprise: to think people are actually afraid of a sacred medicinal plant? “Put that way before someone smells it,” she exclaimed, frightened perhaps that a hotel staff person would walk in the room right then and we’d all go to jail? This truly opened my eyes to how others, even my friends from long ago, could think this way and hey, maybe there is a chance that recreation won’t pass in 2016 with people like that voting? That was a heavy reality sandwich.
With only a couple of days hiatus between journeys, I was off again to Greece to see another dear friend and her daughter after many, many years. Now these two ladies I know from Goa, so getting high was not an issue. (Goa is a small state in southwest India which is famous for hippie enclaves and all night parties since the late-’60s.) As smuggling has never been my thing, I only brought a few edibles to get me through jet lag and sleepless nights, but my friend’s 24-year-old daughter had sweetly scored a couple of nice buds to keep me happy. It looked like indoor from Amsterdam, and was actually pretty stoney. I seriously doubt it was organic, but the buds had a nice crystal.
The Greek way to get high is to smoke thin joints of a tobacco-ganja mix. This way they not only use less cannabis, which is not so easily available, but get the tobacco buzz that keeps them awake and not too high. So of course I rolled a pure California-style growers joint and blew her young mind at how powerful that is. Clearly it set her back and after raiding the kitchen for munchie foods, she slept like a baby. Now, of course, she wants to come to Mendocino and try sungrown organic!
Greece has horrendous economic problems these days; money is tight and goods are expensive. A gram of cannabis here costs about $15, and when you consider a person can rent a nice one bedroom apartment in Athens for $200 a month, you get the picture of how much that really is. Last year a “capital control” rule was instated allowing Greek citizens the ability to only withdraw a maximum of 420 Euros in cash (about $435 per week) from their bank accounts. So “420” has a whole other meaning here, although hip young stoners are aware that it also has some sort of cannabis connection… amazing how that made its way around the globe from a few students back in the ’70s at San Rafael High.
But to my surprise, the same people have no idea of what dabbing, rosins, titanium nails or shatter means. Edibles are not even a concept and forget tinctures or topicals. They are happy to find some good herb via Amsterdam or from Crete, because the other alternative is real rag weed full of seeds from Albania. The police are very strict and out to make extra Euros from bribes, so the whole scene is tense and very underground. Again I am reminded of what a bubble we live in.
Meanwhile, during the same time I was in Greece, Spain was again hosting Spannabis, Europe’s largest cannabis festival. So I guess there is a familiar bubble somewhere in Spain, but I doubt even that can rival the quality and variety of cannabis products available in California. I realize once again that we have a lot to be proud of in the Emerald Triangle and while we may criticize our local governments for holding us back, I now see how far ahead of the pack we really are. Isn’t that the California way? We have led the world in so many cultural revolutions, such as health food and hippies – why not cannabis as well?
I envision our future in cannabis country will likely resemble the wine country in Napa, but with a Wild West twist. Instead of sleek luxury cars, you’ll find lots of big trucks. Instead of fancy restaurants and tasting rooms, we’ll host farmers markets with everything from cannabis to cauliflowers. And instead of palatial 5-star hotels and resorts, we’ll have Bud and Breakfasts where you can also witness what it takes to grow the best cannabis in the world. Our time is coming, in our own way. Stay tuned, the bubble is expanding.
Are you living in a similar cannabis bubble or is cultivating a lifestyle surrounding the acceptance of marijuana still a dream? Let us know.