Illustration by James the Stanton

Welcome to the Green Belt

The West Coast is the weediest coast.

One cool thing to come out of this mess of an election is that four states legalized recreational weed, including California and Nevada, making the entire West Coast doobie-friendly. So first and foremost, I’m calling it—we can now start referring to the West Coast as “The Green Belt.”

In California, Proposition 64 passed with 56 percent of the vote. Of course, all recreational laws are not equal, and California has created a hurdle for its new legal market—like Washington, they foolishly decided to place a massive tax on the plant, so the black market will assuredly live on. Don’t get me wrong, taxes are good, but ultimately, if states want to entice consumers away from the black market, they need to get prices way down, and not by screwing producers.

Be that as it may, several new frontiers have opened in the world of weed. For instance, traveling the West Coast for recreational and medicinal users just got a lot easier—and just think of the epic canna-journeys that can take place. Imagine this: Amtrak offers a multi-day/night trip down the West Coast—call it “The Emerald Starlight.” You start in Seattle, well equipped with choice PNW buds, and travel to San Francisco, stopping in Portland to tour production facilities and maybe Klamath Falls to take in the sights and visit farms.

When you get to California, the first stop is Weed, of course. Take a day trip over to Eureka and Arcata and spend the day in Humboldt County—the world-famous Emerald Triangle, home of some of the dankest bud on the planet. Get back on the train nice and toasted, eat dinner, and go to sleep, and when you wake up you’re rolling through beautiful Napa Valley wine country and heading into glittering San Francisco to your weed-B&B.

And weekend trips to Las Vegas just got a lot more chill. For the freakier among us, heading to the brothels is going to be that much more fun, and I anticipate photos from many a weed-infused bachelor or bachelorette party coming to a Facebook page near you. Technically, Nevada isn’t part of the West Coast, but if they’re gonna go green and blue, I say let ’em have a guest pass to Cascadia. Another possibility is interstate commerce, with many excellent varieties of weed and weed products finally being available up and down the coast. It’s one thing to enjoy a particular strain; it’s another to enjoy a particular strain from a particular part of the country or even an individual farm.

I’m also confident that these states will take advantage of being able to grow “from edge to edge” and open medical testing of specific strains for patients, tapping into the folk wisdom of the brave people who have thwarted the system and grown medical pot for 50-plus years. These Californians have led the country in research for cannabis patients, and I’m optimistic they will continue to find new and exciting advances in treatment.

And finally, these states could reduce the sentences of people currently serving time on weed convictions. Perhaps we can collectively put some pressure on our state legislation and get some now-innocent people out of jail. 

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