Light up, and be healthy

First, in a brief follow-up to my recent column about the need for some sanity in our medical marijuana situation here in Nevada, there was a Nov. 23 story in the Denver Post about how this year, the dispensaries of Colorado will contribute about $2.5 million to the state treasury. Sure, that’s not a budget-saving number for struggling states bathing in red ink, but what the hell, a mill’s a mill. And the chances are quite good that that number will grow quickly and strongly.

Speaking of pot, I had the chance last weekend, Dec. 11-12, to attend a remarkable event in California. It was the 7th annual Emerald Cup, held outside the Mendocino county town of Laytonville, there in the heart of the Emerald Triangle. The Cup, like so many county fairs throughout America, is an event where farmers come together to show off the year’s harvest. But, of course, up in the Triangle, nobody’s bringing in blue-ribbon tomatoes or 300-pound eggplants. Up there, it’s all about the herb, mon.

We got there on Friday, as the judges were setting up the display case with this year’s entries. All 146 of them: 146 individual buds of prized marijuana, the densely-packed flower clusters from plants that had all been grown outdoors, grown organically, and grown with some serious TLC. Some buds were short, fat and sparkling green/orange. Others were long, thick and splashed with ominous purple. Overall, an impressive case filled with dreams and pride. We wondered just how long it would take each of the eight judges to get through the field. How many buds can you fire up in a day and still keep your edge?

The atmosphere was one of extreme comfort and non-paranoia. It was common to see a local mulching one of his buds, rolling it into a perfect joint, sparking it up, and passing it around. There were no cops anywhere. We guessed that local deputies had submitted some of the contestants in the display case. Whatever the case, nobody had to go behind the tent to get high. Covert behavior became, for a day, overt.

There was a main thrust to this shindig. The outdoor growers of Mendocino County have a mission: Get their operations certified organic, and then sell bushels of their super-weed to the dispensaries of the state, thereby making their products available to those patients who desire clean, uncontaminated sun-drenched pot. I’d have to guess there’s a strong market for such medicine. After conducting some personal, albeit unscientific, research with a joint filled with herb called “Mr. Nice,” I believe I’ve now found a staunch lifelong ally in the realm of anti-insomniant hunger-inducers.

Finally, I need to clean up an error from last week. John Lennon was killed on Dec. 8, not the 9th, as I wrote. Blame it on tombstone dyslexia, since John was born on Oct. 9 and died on Dec. 8.