Beckwith: Pot shop protocol
July 10, 2018
The nice thing about writing for a small, local paper is people who know me often float ideas to write about. This one comes from my buddy, we'll call him John, who was at a local dispensary this week and the budtender, we'll call him Kirk, suggested to John that I write about weed shop etiquette and John relayed that to me.
At first I was hesitant because it's essentially asking me to tell other people how to shop — which would be about three sentences long.
1. Can it be found online?
2. If not, locate a local store that carries it.
3. Go to the store, make sure it's approximately the right product, try on if necessary, purchase and leave.
If The Aspen Times were in the business of paying me for three-sentence columns, that would be great. However, a little deeper dive is called for in this case. The dispensary is a different kind of retail. While there are people actually addicted to retail, according to Kanye West and some of the ladies who've popped on the Aspen police blotter, most people don't get a fix from shopping. At least one hopes you're not out there hoarding on-sale socks.
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People actually get high smoking weed and can sleepwalk through a stop at the smoke shop.
"I'll take an eighth of (insert ridiculous weed name here)."
"Can I get some ones back, please?"
"Thanks." *Grabs weed, leaves tip in jar and exits.*
It's as mindless as grabbing a six-pack of CL Smooths or a bottle of FlipFlop at the booze shop or that person buying smokes who can direct the gas station attendant to their preferred pack from in front of the counter. Having said that, these seasoned stoners aren't the customers Kirk was referring to. The culprits are — and this will be a shock to my regular seven readers — the tourists aka noobs aka dabbing dunces aka sativa sophomores aka mary lames aka pot primadonnas aka nubcakes. (I'm pretty sure only half of those are actual slights, but I'd take offense to every one.)
The typical hold-up that bottlenecks the bud shop revolves around people not being prepared. You don't need an MBA in marijuana to navigate a weekend purchase, and it's reasonable to expect customers to know their most basic desire. Specials and strands are displayed on a concession stand-like menu board. Walking up to the counter after a couple of minutes in line and asking "Do you have any edibles?" is like asking a JC Penny sales rep if they carry pants.
At the very least, have a type of edible — gummy, chocolate, soda, etc. — in mind. Inquiring about potential animal products in the edibles outside of baking-related items puts you in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" range. This isn't rum ham, no one injected THC into a turkey leg. If you like Sour Patch Kids, you'll probably like the weed version of them, and the same goes for grape soda and ganja-grape soda or chocolate chip cookies and chronic chocolate chip cookies.
It's perfectly acceptable to peruse and sniff the display buds. John wants that ideal nugget, not some snicklefritz. Unfortunately, the choices, variations and, primarily, names can be overwhelming. Blueberry skunk haze, Batman's Kryptonite, sticky icky purp face, chewy chump change, strawberry face melt, Puffington Post and all the other colorful strands are still just weed. You really only need to worry about a couple things. Is it an indica (bedtime), sativa (daytime) or hybrid (anytime), and how does it look/smell?
Doing your best sommelier impression is a little too much, though. Yes, it's impressive that you can use the word "bouquet" outside the realm of horticulture, now pick the last joint in the four-for-$16 special because John is running late for work.
If it's your first time hearing about waxes, oils, shatters, splatters (not a real thing) or dabs, then take Kirk's word that's it's probably too potent for you. It's like making the leap from casual red wine drinker to mind-erasers, Long Island iced teas or mai tais. Hell, John has been smoking weed for a while and he rarely does dabs.
You can still shop, just be wary of monopolizing counter time. Saving up for a $300 bong like the adult version of a child saving up for a video game warrants a 20-minute search. That's not the case for a chocolate bar. Take your time but be courteous to the people behind you. You can always let someone pick up a bag while you waffle over weed soda or a preroll.
The number of states with legal recreational weed is growing, and the novelty may have worn off for some, but it's still a tourist attraction — evident in the diverse demographic often found in the weed store. While Kirk and John may have the rapport of Walt Frazier and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, it's always delightful hearing the last person you'd expect order a joint of the lemon le pew. Hopefully this will help you spend less time in the shop and more time smoking, eating and ingesting pot.
Sean Beckwith's thoughts are with those affected and working on the Lake Christine Fire but thought a distraction might be welcome. Reach him at email@example.com.