Melting pot

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

It’s still strange and exciting to me that, here in 2017, in Nevada, I can walk into a store, show an ID, drop some cash, and walk out with a bag of marijuana. Showing the ID still gives me a brief moment of anxiety—an old-school smoker’s paranoia that my name is about to be added to some list or, more likely, moved to a more prominent position and marked with highlighter on a list that its been on for decades. Of course, in many places in the world that paranoia would be totally justified. Just look at the Philippines. And if Jeff Sessions had his way, that’s how things would be here too.

Still, over the weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Blüm, one of the few Reno dispensaries I haven’t checked out yet—despite the fact that I’ve interviewed folks who work there, and it’s the closest dispensary to my house. It’s a nice place. It has that futuristic pharmacy vibe that most of the dispensaries have. The customer service was quick and helpful, and I was pleased to note a rack of our newspapers in the waiting room. I picked up a gram of a sativa-dominant hybrid. (My band had a gig—part of the Off Beat Festival, which was lots of fun—and a little puff is nice before performing music—and, quite frankly, much easier on my system than booze.)

It’s remarkable how much attitudes have changed about cannabis over the last decade or two. What was taboo and illegal a year ago is now plastered on billboards all over town. Paradigms can shift completely—sometimes seemingly over night.

In the wake of yet another mass shooting—this one in South Texas—it occurs to me that another major paradigm shift is needed. This time, something that is now commonplace should become taboo. The proverbial “thoughts and prayers” are useless. As California Lt. Gov.Gavin Newsom tweeted after this most recent massacre: “They were in their church praying when this happened. What they need is gun control.”