Stash Box: 2016-2019

Time to roll one for the road …

Hey, readers. A lot has changed in the world of cannabis in the past four years. We’ve seen medicinal cannabis legalization spread like wildfire over the United States, with more than 30 states now recognizing the plant’s healing properties, and many more states are poised to legalize this year. We’ve seen recreational cannabis slowly begin to establish itself as well, and it may well overtake medicinal legalization efforts in the next few years. When California legalized recreational weed at the beginning of 2018, it not only signaled that the West Coast had become the Emerald Coast, it also created the world’s largest cannabis economy.

We’ve seen thousands of producers, processors, and products show up, converting cannabis culture from low-key, family-oriented, close-knit relationships to a worldwide suit-and-tie billion-dollar enterprise. We’ve seen celebrities once reticent to admit their usage start their own brands. We’ve even seen weed on Wall Street, as Tilray pushes into the center of the global medicinal trade.

We have also seen legal and political figures change their stances on cannabis, from hostile to tolerant to welcoming, as marijuana proves not only a tax-revenue cash-cow for many states, but also a viable way for states to address other wide-reaching health concerns like opioid addiction. And now we are seeing the growing trend of states automatically adding clauses to legalization measures that are forward-thinking. Steps we see being taken around the country include wiping cannabis convictions from folks’ records, ending sentences early for people serving time for nonviolent offenses, and reparation efforts to help ameliorate the damage the War on Drugs inflicted on so many communities around the country.

During my time with Seattle Weekly, I have tried to give a voice to the experience of living during this time of rapid change and expansion. I avoided doing reviews because you can get that information anywhere, and I wanted to focus on the culture and the community of weed, past and present. And I have tried to bring through elements of our verdant history so that as we rush headlong into that Great Green Future, we don’t forget the civilizations, the spiritual traditions, the political martyrs, the cultural icons, and the hidden lexicons that have gotten us where we are now.

Remember, when you imbibe cannabis or work hemp, that action ties you into a 10,000-year tradition of humans working with this plant. From the Dogon tribe in Africa to the Shevite priests of India, from Buddhist monks in China and the cosmonaut explorers of 1960s San Francisco to the barista adding a shot of CBD to your drink this morning, we are all pulling a leaf off the same plant. This has been my contribution to that conversation.

I hope wherever cannabis goes in the future, it will not forget where it has been. And I hope whatever your relationship is with this amazing plant, that it is happy and healthy.

Will the last person leaving SEATTLE – empty the bowl.

Thanks for reading.

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