It happened! It actually happened. Weed is now legal in DC. Now all that’s left for you to do is to change out of your bathrobe, go down to your friendly neighborhood dispensary, and buy some. Thing is, going to a new place for the first time can be nerve-wracking, never mind a place that’s selling something that would’ve gotten you a prison sentence just a few years ago. (My mother firmly believes this whole legalization thing is just a trick so the government can gather all the names of the “drug addicts” and then send them to camps.) Rules and jargon can be intimidating. Lucky for you, I’ve been to dispensaries from California to Amsterdam, so I can give you the basic rundown so you don’t look like an idiot when you make your first trip to one of these fine District weed dispensaries.
Technically, you still need to have a “medical condition” to buy weed in the District, so come up with something. You can’t just stroll in and say, “I’ll take a brick of your finest marijuana, please!” I mean, you can, but you have to follow it up by announcing you have irritable bowel syndrome or something. You’ll have to get a prescription from your doctor, but that shouldn’t be too hard. The weirdest part about this is that when you go to buy the weed, with your card that says you have “anxiety” or whatever, you know you’re lying, but so does the person working at the dispensary, so there’s this absurd, smirking, winking inside-jokey whimsy to the whole exchange. I mean, everyone has (probably) lied to get drugs before; when I needed Adderall to finish my book, the performance I put on for my doctor was better than anything that won an Oscar this year. But the fact that he didn’t know I was lying allowed me to take myself seriously. With weed, it’s really hard to not just “break character.” “Yeah, so I have this card that says I have, uh, glaucoma? And chronic fatigue syndr- listen man, just sell me some weed, the pizza guy’s on his way and “The Matrix” trilogy on TBS starts in like twenty minutes.”
You know how sometimes you go to Denny’s at 4AM, and you look over the entire menu until you find the one meal that’s exactly what you want, but then you end up getting mediocre bacon and eggs instead, because there’s no way in hell you’re going to say the words “Moons Over My Hammy” out loud in public? That’s what going to a dispensary is like, except there’s no “bacon and eggs” to fall back on. EVERYTHING is “Moons Over My Hammy.” It’s like weed strains are named specifically to make you feel like an idiot when you say them out loud. “Yo, let me get a gram of the ‘Buttermilk Wahoo. How’s the ‘Lavender Bazinga’? Is it as good as the ‘Buddha’s Bellybutton Lint’? Oh, and I’ll need a vape pen to smoke it with … let me get the XXL EvilClownBoner. Yeah.”
Prepare for a little sticker shock, if you’ve been buying illegally. I mean, the only overhead your dealer had to take into account was baggies and refill cartridges for his neon light-up license plate frame. The dispensary has rent, equipment, premium growers charging them an arm and a leg, security, et cetera. All told, dispensary weed could be up to twice as expensive as street weed.
For all that, you’re getting … well, it depends. If you were buying random weed from strangers who just jogged up to your car, this will be a big step up for you. If you had a legit dealer, they probably had a bunch of strains on offer and could tell you a little about each one, so this is just that, plus a patina of legitimacy. Probably not worth it. On the other hand, they do have a lot of wacky novelties at these places, like vape pens and bongs shaped like teddy bears and crushed velvet hats like the one the lead singer of Jamiroquai used to wear. Seriously though, they do have some stuff that you can’t get anywhere else – pre-rolls are my personal weakness. I’m so terrible at rolling joints – my joints are just like tiny saggy paper bags with a little loose weed rattling around inside. But if I were to ask my dealer for pre-rolled joints, he’d look at me like if you asked your waiter to pre-chew your food for you. So that’s nice. They also have edibles, which I’ll cover in the next section, which is about going to the emergency room and begging them to “please make it stop.”
Ha ha! Just kidding. You probably won’t actually go to the emergency room, if only because your friends will lock you in a guest bedroom until you pass out. But you will definitely want to. That’s because most of the weed you’ve smoked has been terrible. The weed you smoked in college was mostly stems, pesticides, and oregano. Getting legit, clean, professionally grown and harvested weed is like going from PBR to Everclear. You are going to get SO high. Ha ha, I’m already laughing about me laughing at how high you’re going to get and you getting super paranoid about it and having a panic attack in the middle of the party. This goes double for “edibles,” which are harmless-seeming little candies – gummy bears seem to be the most popular ones right now – that have been infused with as much THC as like fifty joints. This is because when you smoke marijuana, you destroy most of the THC, which is the chemical that makes you high. You probably only get about ten percent of it into your lungs. Whereas when you eat it, you get ALL of it. (This is why pot brownies are such a great/terrible experience.) The City Council is already working on legislation to remove the “medical marijuana” restrictions on weed sales; soon anyone can just walk into a retail pot store and buy whatever. We are about to see so many bachelorette parties going into dispensaries, getting THC-infused gummy bears, and then, a few hours later, crying/convulsing/speaking in tongues on the floor of bar bathroom stalls. Let’s hear it for legalization!!