Dig, if you will, a picture: You're alone, in an unfamiliar place. In your possession, you have something that -- according to what you've heard -- a lot of people enjoy consuming, but of which you are reluctant to partake. Steeling your nerves, you allow yourself a taste and, as it seems to go well at first, you devour a bigger portion. That was your mistake! Suddenly you find yourself experiencing a sensation of vertigo and nausea. You wonder if somehow the world is out to get you, as every memory of yourself and the life you thought you knew is sucked out to sea on a hallucinatory eddy.
For years, this was how one would describe the sensation of reading a Maureen Dowd column. Now, however, it describes the process of actually writing one.
Yes, it seems that Maureen Dowd schlepped out to Colorado back in January to partake of the local, newly legal wares, specifically a marijuana candy bar, and it did not go well for her:
But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn't move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn't answer, he'd call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.
I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.
Oh, my stars and garters! Well, the next day, a nice "medical consultant at an edibles plant" told her that she wasn't supposed to eat the whole thing, and that "candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices." Dowd notes that the label of the candy bar offered no advice to that effect. Of course, Dowd is ostensibly a journalist, so it's hard to fathom why she didn't show more curiosity and ask more questions about the substance she was going to put in her body for the first time.
Had she done so, all of this could have been avoided. Alternatively, a little common sense might have helped as well. As the National Cannabis Industry Association's Taylor West tweeted last night:
If @NYTDowd drank a handle of whiskey and ended up in the ER, would anyone consider a column blaming Jack Daniels credible?
— Taylor West (@Taylor_West) June 4, 2014
Nevertheless, her bad experience five months ago was basically all in the service of the column she wanted to write, which frets about the kinks that Colorado's legal weed industry has to work out in order to assure safety standards. These worries are not unfounded -- that's why the Times' Jack Healy wrote a story titled "After 5 Months of Sales, Colorado Sees the Downside of a Legal High" earlier this week.
Dowd actually cites this piece in her column, which is largely given over to re-reporting Healy's piece after the fact -- whilst adding a toxic dose of concern-trolling.
And that concern-trolling is actually well past its sell-by date. Because it turns out, a lot has transpired in the state of Colorado during the five months that it apparently took Dowd to process this experience. Most importantly, the state has begun to implement a lot of regulatory measures to bring safety to this marketplace. Dowd attests to this in her column:
Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Legislature recently created a task force to come up with packaging that clearly differentiates pot cookies and candy and gummy bears from normal sweets -- with an eye toward protecting children -- and directed the Department of Revenue to restrict the amount of edibles that can be sold at one time to one person. The governor also signed legislation mandating that there be a stamp on edibles, possibly a marijuana leaf. (Or maybe a stoned skull and bones?)
The state plans to start testing to make sure the weed is spread evenly throughout the product. The task force is discussing having budtenders give better warnings to customers and moving toward demarcating a single-serving size of 10 milligrams.
Would that governments were as interested in regulating other dangerous industries -- like, say, "coal mining" and "banking" -- as thoroughly!
Also making an appearance in Dowd's column is a man named Bob Eschino, who owns a company that makes THC oil-infused edibles. He tells Dowd that "since pot goodies leave the dispensary in childproof packages, it is the parents' responsibility to make sure their kids don't get hold of it."
Bob Eschino is 100 percent correct! Still, perhaps more needs to be done to protect New York Times columnists from the effects of their poor impulse control. In the meantime, the legal weed industry brought in "nearly $22 million from marijuana taxes, licenses, and fees" so far this fiscal year, so I say praise the Lord and pass the vaporizer.
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