Authors Note: This essay was written soon after moving to Colorado (11/28/2013). Any naiveté is authentic. This and similarly strange works can be found in my yet-to-be released memoir Hi, how are you? High. How are you?
Arriving back at my apartment complex hearing a symphony of coughs echoing out of slightly cracked windows made me appreciate what I had experienced even more. Not to be confused with Danksgiving, Dabsgiving is like a traditional American Thanksgiving celebration with one extraordinary caveat, an unlimited supply of some of the highest quality Butane Hash Oil (BHO) in Colorado or at least in my case it was. Throw in a bunch of perfectly pearled demons and we have the making for a holiday that I think I can get behind.
Wax, Oil, Shatter, Butter. Or is it Budder? To the uninitiated they are all the same, a super efficient way to get higher than a Skeetercat howlin’ at the Moon. I am one rung from the bottom on the ladder of oil users. I no longer think dabbing is freebasing and I am comfortable heating up a dab rig. Unless there is a dome on it, then I freak out and look for some assistance. What can I say; it’s a tall ladder.
I’ll spare the details of how I ended up where I am, but I live in Boulder, CO and I have been helping out at marijuana growing warehouse that is run by an old friend. He graciously lets me work even though I am the slowest worker by a long stretch. With no plans for Thanksgiving, I was delighted to be invited to a Dabsgiving celebration by a co-worker. Eager to make new friends I immediately accepted the invitation with a fairly reasonable idea of the types of activities to be expected. After a forewarning that I wouldn’t be bringing anything and with an open mind I was super excited.
Upon arrival the table was set with 6 or 7 beautiful dab rigs. Tools made specifically for dabbing were neatly stored in a wooden rack. There would be no repurposed dentist tools this evening. Small serving dishes with freshly ground marijuana didn’t seem out of place next to the fried raviolis and or any other delectable appetizers. My gracious host exclaimed,
“From this point on no pussy dabs!”
With an ounce slab of oil starring back at me, 45 minutes after my arrival I began taking a series of dabs that would last for the next six hours. As the size of the dabs grew so did my appreciation for BHO.
Going to “Dab City” is killer. The amount of fluid spilling from my eyes exceeded that of my drinking cup. There is coughing, a lot of coughing. But as it was explained to me when I was buying nickels and dimes from nefarious characters as a youth,
“You gotta cough to get off.”
After the partial facial paralysis I moved to the couch.
“You all right?” posed a recent acquaintance.
“Dab City.” was all I could muster.
My incapacitation only lasted a brief moment, and then it was back to the Dabsgiving table. Quickly I was becoming a convert and the thought of smoking flowers became ignorant. We all have to evolve at some point. With my memory not as sharp as it once was, I’m glad I can pinpoint when it happened.
The smoke looked beautiful when the step-brother-in-law or some other multiple hyphenate of my host pulled it. It pulled smoothly through the glass, symmetrically impeded by glasswork inside this tool of enlightenment. Too fully respect the artistry I needed to be on the operating end.
It takes a little while to get comfortable handling the butane torch used to heat up a rig. I should have practiced at the French restaurant while employed there. Back then, in the world of food and beverage they were used to prepare Crème Brule. Nothing else. But that was years ago, long before a secondary market for butane torches would be established.
You don’t want to directly touch anything after applying a torch to it for any amount of time, which means you need to be fully aware of what you are doing at all times. A difficult task considering the nature of the holiday being celebrated. However, learning to control your flame is fairly simple. After accidentally setting something a blaze, you now know that IT IS NOT A FUCKING GAME! After you have that knowledge, it’s easy to wield the torch with enough precision to light a small joint without the slightest worry of burning a fairly prodigious mustache.
Using rigs named for Greek Gods and with tubes and recyclers and knobs and bulbs and all sorts of other interesting glass wonderment was special, having many of the people who made them sitting around the table, discussing their craft? Surreal is the only word that comes to mind. The way in which methods were discussed captivated to no end. They could have all have been speaking a Mandarin, but passion comes through in any language.
Enough about the dabbing, it’s awesome and I’m ready to get into it very heavily. Let us not forget that this was a feast. They served turkey and ham, mac & cheese, smashed potatoes and gravy. Other things that other people ate were also served. They had everything. Dessert, two S’s for super sweet, was insane. The stoner with the munchies’ stereotype was alive and well this evening. Four pies, a few cakes, multiple cookies options, and something called Christmas Crack didn’t seem like overkill at all. I’m not much of calorie counter anyways.
The real highlight of the evening was being introduced to the wonderful people at this celebration. The careers represented at the table vary greatly, but all share at least one characteristic. These men and women are not the burnouts that Officer Friendly would lead you to believe in her propagative D.A.R.E lectures. They are business owners and artists and hard workers. Substantial medication has not prevented any of these individuals from succeeding. Hailing from all corners of the country, the stories of how they got here all speak to a quality of living not available in more conservative areas. Firmly striking down any notion that marijuana is a dangerous narcotic, these people are able to flourish because of the plant, not in spite of it.
They are more interested in you than they are in themselves, an elusive quality in most locales. They welcomed me, shared with me, asked nothing in return. My enjoyment was their ultimate happiness. Nobody argued. Speaking over one another didn’t occur. Owning to the belief that people be given a chance to finish their thoughts before a subject is switched, meaningful and interesting conversations stretched without lulls or disinterest.
Life is too short to sit around chewing the same fat with the same people for too long. Complacency breeds contempt. Contempt fathers many illegitimate feelings and thoughts. Abortion is the only option.
Take a chance, experience things of which you no nothing about. Challenge yourselves live a completely different life than the one you are comfortable in. If you don’t like what you learn, just take a couple of pills and you’ll be back to more a more ignorant and manageable existence in the morning.
photo credit: Adam Jeffers
To the uninitiated it can come as a surprise that so many professionals both in and out of the cannabis space are of the “all day, everyday” persuasion. Either freely imbibing or secretly getting stoned throughout the day, the results are the same; shit gets done. We’re not a giggly bunch who just took our first hit out of an apple or pop can. Cannabis use isn’t detrimental or an impediment but rather the differentiating factor in our discovery of successes previously thought to be unattainable.
In the face of a changing nation where dabs are the new crack and Pulitzer Prize winners are convinced they have died after eating too much edibles, the modern cannabis enthusiast walks a fine line from budroom to boardroom.
The corporate world of serviced offices, local amenities and daily human interaction is more palatable and less stressful after a few deep breaths of your favorite strain. Multiple visits to a parking structure, alley, balcony or unoccupied floor throughout the day are best to keep workplace incidents to a minimum and morale high.
For even the lucky few whose professions encourage and call for a love of cannabis to be unabashed, totally biased and in your face, cohabitation with those who deem our lifestyle an abomination is unavoidable. Generally speaking, their opinions are informed by the uniformed. Their interest in our cannabis use is a clever way in that they make themselves feel superior to you. Continue to indulge them; it’s their best source of education.
Similar to the notion that kicking somebodies teeth in on your first day in prison is the best way to let fellow inmates know you’re not to be trifled with on the yard, it is necessary to navigate the office with disregard for authority, order and the status quo. The days of covering up the residual olfactory bliss after puffing a cone of Ghost Train Haze are over. Waft in it and walk around to everybody’s personal space. Get the workplace used to the smell of success.
The aroma of expertly grown properly flushed and perfectly cured bud is no more offensive than the microwaved leftovers of an ethnically diverse floor of cigarette smokers.
Impressing upon the many chuckleheads you encounter the benefits of medicated working as they slug down their umpteenth coffee of the morning is a tiring exercise but it strengthens your resolve against those dunces that adhere to only “normal” conventions. To be a boss, you’ve got to act like a boss. Suffer no fools and make no excuses for yourself!
It’s easy to sniff out the office narc(s). Pleated trousers and blazers with shoulder pads may serve to identify critics. Their passive aggression is palpable and inviting. At the expense of etiquette, it is practical to maintain a presence among the confidants of your detractors. Provided adeptness at winning friends and influencing people, there shouldn’t be a problem infiltrating the office social circle of the staunchest cannabis prohibitionists.
Working amongst those of the “straight world” persuasion can be a learning experience for cannabis enthusiasts too. Regular interface with that which we are unaccustomed delivers the opportunity to develop and hone skills that might otherwise not be fostered.
It is hard to maintain a look of indifference when somebody is crying their eyes out or screaming at the top of their lungs right in your doorway. Largely untaught in business school and MBA programs, acquiring statuesque tendencies benefits both self and organization alike. An unbothered expression is worth more than the litany of cost cutting expenses serving as justifications for improving the bottom line.
Cannabis consumption provides the user an ability to make observations and contemplate choices in ways that the tethered mind cannot comprehend. It is an important business tool. It allows its possessor the ability to look at situations from other’s perspectives and consider different points of view opposed to making rash decisions. A quick puff or dab sure beats the hell out of the three-martini-lunch when charting the course of history.
Working while stoned, mundane tasks become exciting and double-checking your work is second nature. As your awareness is strengthened, doing a better job than someone who doesn’t use cannabis motivates many to soar to great heights.
This is the new normal. Make them get used to it.
As if my seat in a corporate sponsored suite didn’t set me apart enough from the Phans convulsing at field level, the “White Zombie In Concert” t-shirt I wore added another mile of distance between our two perceived worlds. This is not to say they’re not my people though, I’ve just kept a low profile as of late.
It had been 12+ years since I last saw Phish perform together.
When I was a nineteen year-old freshman in college I skipped my first math test in order to drive to Chicago to try out for SLAMBALL and catch a show on the band’s first tour since their hiatus in the early 2000’s. While I didn’t make a SLAMBALL roster that day and I ended up having to drop that math course and re-take it the following semester, it remains to be one of the more prudent decisions I’ve made for myself.
In the interim I’d seen Jon Fishman play with Pork Tornado, caught Mike Gordon and Trey Anastasio’s sets and marveled at two nights of Page McConnell playing with the Meter Men in New Orleans. Phish never hooked me but I certainly appreciate the force with which they command their legions to boogie.
A few wrong turns, a police detour and several near collisions with spaced-out prancers finally found our arrival at the VIP parking lot with plenty of time to wade into the velvet sea of patchouli and LSD. The drug culture that pervades the Phish community could make any Silk Road user blush. Upon our arrival, my host and I were greeted by some 45-year-old party enthusiasts conspicuously key bumping to the sounds of the live Phish recording playing out of their Subaru hatchback. The looks on their cocaine residue covered faces when we plugged a dab rig into the cigarette lighter and proceeded to take face-melters was memorable; it became priceless once they were gifted with free joints courtesy of Whaxy!
While you enjoy yourself at a Phish show, all manner of Schedule One drugs are offered for sale, trade and trial; Schedule Two and Three are available but less readily so. Security provided in and around the venue is lax enough to ensure that no attendee is without sufficient party favors once the show begins. Dr. Mescalito was nowhere to be found or my partially kempt appearance precluded me from gaining the trust of parking lot pushers.
In my previous sojourn to Shakedown Street over a decade ago a “ganja goo-ball” is what I sought out and found without problem or confidence in product. Depicting the prime example of how legalization has positively impacted the safety of cannabis consumption, on the first of Phish’s 3-night Colorado run in a suite hosted by Whaxy and Dixie Elixirs, we sampled luxury chocolate bars infused with cannabis.
The sun went down and hands went up. Glow sticks started being launched shortly after the first note of the first song struck Wook ear. At that moment the contrast between my two Phish experiences started becoming more discernible.
Last go round’ Mexican Brown and KC Bunk were rolled into a few crooked pinners and slipped in an interior pocket of a Midwestern winter coat for relief from the hot and stuffy Rosemont Horizon. On this evening blunts filled with eighths and mixed with grams of hash were passed with glee in open air and circulated amongst our suite neighbors.
The police officer tasked with roaming our level respectfully visited us on multiple occasions. Most notably one stopover he commended us on our good behavior; a striking endorsement seeing as all the guests we’re cannabis industry professionals. In my professional opinion he appeared to have caught a “contact-buzz”, which may explain the number of visits.
During the set break one of my favorites Phans appeared with an adorably delicate rig and offered dabs and tales from some of her previous 89 shows. When the second set began and she was still visiting with us upstairs, her anxiety manifested into dancing and motivated her to bounce around the room to say her good-byes.
“I wish I could stay up here and dab for the rest of the show…. I’ve got to get back to my people!” her words, not mine.
Everyone’s got to have a code; I admire her dedication to the tribe. So much so that I accepted an invitation to venture to field level and view the show from a different vantage point.
It’s very easy to lose sight of the party you are following once you arrive at ground zero. Dance is the prescribed method of transportation between the masses of stationary revelers. If you’re not shaking it, you’re not making it! Meeting up with your posse is far easier now compared to my last Phishing trip and within only a few minutes and texts a group of excited merrymakers greeted my introduction to their circle with geniality.
An aforementioned blunt had made its way down from the upstairs party and quickly lit up the new crew with all the hashie goodness one could expect from a demon pearled with so much care, skill and concentrates. While the Pre ‘98 Bubba Kush slowly burned with the shatter for the length of a song or two or three, I looked at all the happy people, busting moves unaccompanied by fear of judgments and I thought about the traffic jam potential on the way out.
We beat the traffic but not the law. We had to take another detour that added at least 10 minutes to our trip time. I imagine Phish will still be getting into heavy things another twelve years from now, but I’ll always be on the lookout for a miracle until then.
The message displayed on a splotchy bearded provocateurs sweatshirt set the tone for the day.
“Art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.”
Disturbed or otherwise, I assume ripping ratchetdabs in a filthy, sticker-covered 4runner prior to a day at the museum is how every art critic begins their process.
Culture does not discriminate; all walks of life are welcome and take full advantage of the Denver Art Museum’s Free First Saturday promotion subsidized by Target. A smattering of the city’s homeless population enjoying the museum grounds on this day gives way to elitists willing to relieve themselves of an optional $27 for a chance to see shiny jewelry in the Cartier diamond exhibit.
Following a herd of stroller pushing mommies into an elevator is not a most excellent decision. Unable to work in any capacity as elevator operator due, in majority, to DJ Shadow’s juicy beats and my polarized vision, the young art enthusiasts were audibly upset that their buttons weren’t being pushed. Passive aggressive breaths filled the box to suffocation.
The operator blurted as the doors labored to open,
“Next stop American Indian and Northwest Coast Art!”
Far out pottery abounds and mesmerizing Navajo rugs woven in geometric designs seem likely the precursor to Magic Eye posters. Expressive footwear, beautiful fringed buckskin and a condor cape all works of art on display could just as soon be seen on Shakedown Street this summer as fashion statements or currency for designer drugs.
Sidestepping and spinning my way through the bridge connection to the Hamilton Building leaves a bevy of unaccompanied beauties staring, wondering when I’ll be pirouetting back into their lives again. Regrettably the answer is never; today is about the art.
It’s easy to get turned around and end up looking at the same piece 3 times. Sadly, self-guided tours are only as good as their guide and mine leaves much to be desired. Find some landmarks to ease your mind. A large red horse works well while experiencing Western American Art.
The welcoming Tyrannosaurus Rex at the entrance to the Modern and Contemporary Art Hall speculates that artists represented herein may create under the influence of massive quantities of ganja. An artwork titled Bullfight by Elaine De Kooning solidifies the assertion. It can best be described as thick, colorful brushstrokes on canvas.
An exhibit of Carrol Dunham’s drawings is baffling. Legitimately, placemat and Crayola is what comes to mind. I’ll say this for the man, his artwork is sexually charged. Many phallic detours and vaginal pit stops mark the road along the way to his daughter’s hit show, Girls.
Sandy Skoglund’s installation Fox Games is as playful as it sounds. Everything is painted red and there are foxes jumping around everywhere! It’s assertive. It’s confrontational. Dare I say it’s comforting?
At this zoo, the animals can’t be controlled. Senior citizens and young children outside the peripheral of their guardians run rampant, breaking clearly marked rules such as “DO NOT TOUCH”. Giving zero F’s, these bastions of the anti-establishment get down to their own music. Their defiance is inspirational.
This part of the museum is a work of art itself. It’s sharp angles and maze like construction evoke memories of the treacherous Aggro Crag and it’s venomous vapors. At these heights time is lost and exhaustion can set in unexpectedly. Plan for a quick exit if you would like to avoid the avalanche of judgment that comes at the museum’s close.
The final installation was not quite ready as I was headed for the exit but I peered in. There were about twenty-five empty 32-gallon garbage buckets spread across the huge exhibit hall. Hundreds of feet of retractable barrier belts were hooked together like you might see in airport security lines. I think it may be an allegory for eco-terrorism but it could just be the work of a lazy janitor.
Featured image painting credit: Michael Canada (michaelcanadaart.com)
From the artist: The Image is a called, “Weezyhontas; Blue Dream. It’s of a young Native American woman relaxing in the moonlight after a long day of harvesting. The work is acrylic on canvas and is 13.5” x 11.75. This work is currently on display at CannaMart on 3700 W. Quincy Ave. Michael’s work is marijuana work is a Reeferlution of the cannabis image and it’s users.
I’m a high tolerance cannabis user, the edible experience is a matter of great consequence to me. I love flower; you won’t find me turning down a toke, but I’m a dabber. My consumption practices evolved shortly after moving to the Front Range from less enlightened geographical areas. For me, edibles are an after thought. Generally speaking they’re too expensive, taste like garbage and don’t get me high. That’s three strikes; they’re out.
For the less initiated cannabis user, the absence of consistency and homogeneity in infused products puts the end-consumer in a precarious situation; dubious products continue to flood the market. I have little confidence that purchasing two of the exact same products will result in the same effects, desired or not. Recommended dosages vary and are difficult to quantify. These products leave much to be desired.
I recently picked up some infused hot cocoa mix to try my hand at one of the exorbitant amount of marijuana edibles on dispensary shelves. Packaged very discreetly, the cocoa is perfect for your mother or aunt to slip into their luggage before heading back to the East Coast. The bag is undistinguishable when placed among my collection of chocolate drink mixes. This packaging is not child resistant and there is no way to discern the contents from that of non-medicated hot cocoa powder. As a one-time child I can most certainly attest that I would have unquestionably mistaken this packaging for a tasty cold weather Rumple Minze mixer. Mountain High Edibles packaging reminds you to keep out of reach of children.
The package includes one cup of dry powder containing 200 MG of activated THC. The powder has a heavy Dutch cocoa aroma. Powdered milk and sweet notes of sugar are very forward, while faint hints of cornstarch and salt follow on the back end. You can smell the herb too; it’s very muted.
The standard serving size listed on the packaging is no more than ten milligrams of active THC. Instruction calls for 7 oz. of water or milk per each ¼ cup of cocoa powder. By my calculations a recommended dose of this cocoa is 1/20 cup powder mixed with approximately one ounce liquid. By any calculations, no drink is worth this much math.
Luckily I don’t prescribe to the recommended dosage very often. It’s counterintuitive and doesn’t make for a very interesting experience. Give me the most and let me see what happens.
My milk has gone sour; I quickly remind myself that I had “better put some water on this damn shit”. One cup of cocoa calls for 28 oz. I’m going to half that; I’ll never get through it all before it becomes stone cold.
11:45 AM. First sip. I recognize that the cocoa is too hot just as it burns the taste buds on the tip of my tongue. Thirty seconds later it’s still too hot.
The first temperature controlled sip tastes exactly like hot cocoa and water that you wish was made with milk. The taste of cannabis is evident be not over powering. Each subsequent sip was chocolatier, less enjoyable and more difficult to get down.
12:04 PM. Final sip. This tepid chocolate water forced me to pull over and dry heave. I had to rinse my mouth out.
12:31 PM: Arriving at the Flatirons Mall this particular Saturday I immediately regret my decision. It’s the week before Christmas and the number of cars here should be enough to make me turn around. I don’t and soldier on. The THC might be kicking in; I think I am feeling a slight body buzz. However, I could just be catching a chill while walking through the parking lot without a sweater on.
Inside I’m whisked back to the mid 90’s when I used to ride a bus to the mall and enjoy slices of Sbarro. Valet parking and sushi are now available; this place is confusing me. This mall seems safe, it seems gone are the days of keeping a look out for abductors at the arcade. I don’t see an arcade.
I like to walk through stores and touch the clothes. I barely ever buy and I refuse to be helped by sales associates. First stop on my walkabout is Old Navy. Its good to see that they are still selling cargo pants. 7th and 8th grade boys everywhere will be dressed fresh to death come the new year.
Walking by a Pacific Sun causes me to do a double take. The store appears to be selling the same clothes it did decades ago. I wander in and engage one of the underclassmen selling cardigans.
I asked an enthusiastic teenager with a pile of shirts. “Do you carry Bullhead Jeans?”
“I don’t work here.” He replied.
The same question posed to a similar child resulted in less teenage angst as Genaro, an enterprising young man born in 1997 energetically brought me to a wall filled with nothing but Bullheads. They came in two styles: skinny and super skinny.
I causally mention how I purchased regular sized Bullhead jeans from Pac-Sun when his mother was in utero with him.
He reacted with genuine intrigue. “Whoa, I didn’t know that they were that old!”
1:47 PM. I feel all right, I haven’t thought about how much I would like a dab until right now. I’m skeptical that the cocoa is going to stone me.
At the Finish Line I am able to locate the exact Jordan’s I wore while running from police a few years after I retired from competitive basketball. The crown jewel here is the Air Max ‘95.
Brandon, a Sneaker Head who works to support his addiction is wearing “The Glove”, Gary Payton’s signature shoes. He sidles up next to me looking to make his sales pitch.
“I tell the kids, these shoes that you like (motioning to the Air Max ’95)…you could get killed for those when I was growing up.”
His sales tactics perplex me but draw me in. In 1997 when I finally received the ‘95s from my brother as a hand me down you might only catch a beating for them, the imminent threat of death was no longer attached to the sneakers. We chatted about Starter pullovers. He represented the Miami Hurricanes, I the Golden State Warriors. I left the store without making a purchase but promised to return should I ever have any money.
The mall has everything in the world and nothing at all. Inside Mobile Memorabilia among the many prints of Marilyn Monroe and Tony Montana, hangs a reminder that we as consumers are a curious bunch. The autographed Bee Gees albums selling for $895 is the perfect gift this Christmas for the biggest jerk in your life.
2:30 PM. This edible is beginning to make me judgmental.
The midday sun shines in through the floor to ceiling glass windows of the food court illuminating this cross-section of Colorado. Teens dressed too provocatively, guys in skinny jeans, bad haircuts and preggos pushing strollers make up about 75 percent of the gluttons refueling before pushing on to Hot Topic.
2:45 PM.I have enjoyed as much of this mall as I can without spending money. Any evidence of a buzz wore off somewhere between Spencer’s and the Gap. Leaving these suckers behind all I can think of is how sorry I am to have dragged my mother to similar locales over the course of my adolescence.
If you consume mass quantities of THC on the regular and are looking for a more introspective and subtle edible experience you should consume the entire package of cocoa mix. If you are just recently experimenting with cannabis I’m sorry this review wasn’t helpful.
Photo Credit: KWB