Hippie Cannabis Tourist Tells All
I used to work for an aerospace contractor and traveled to Seattle often, for work and also as a marijuana tourist. This January I reached a pinnacle – the purchase of legal recreational marijuana of the highest quality from a retail store (Uncle Ike’s, naturally).
As an old hippie, I have lots of connections, although the threat of arrest by some redneck cop is there – because I live in Mississippi. It will be a long time before the good citizens of Mississippi have access to legal marijuana – it’s a right wing “red” State after all. Luckily, I have relatives in the Northwest – another great excuse to visit! But it wasn’t always so good in Seattle. Here’s my decade-by-decade account of how not good it really was.
Oh Wow, Man! 1964-1969
Tom Robbins might have been the first white person to smoke pot in Seattle prior to the Summer of Love: it was a pretty conservative town back then. Salmon and Mussels were considered poor people’s food, and garlic was almost forbidden. The only industry of any consequence was Boeing.
As the decade progressed, vets coming out of Vietnam told stories of the incredible weed of the far East, whetting appetites for the good stuff. Most Seattle pot up until that point was imported from Mexico, sold by the kilo. A dirty trick back then was to hollow out a kilo and fill it with seeds. Some Panama Red of middling quality was coming through Mexico too. There were no buds back then, just scraggly seed-filled shit. Unless you could get Thai stick. I never saw any. I was young and had no money and as a rule: all the best drugs go to the rich people first.
The Steely Dan Era. 1970-1979
In the 1970s, much of the quality product went straight to the East Coast, a diversion that continues to this day. Still, true Seattle stoners stopped seeing seeds by the mid 1970s, and the market for Mexican dirt weed literally dried up due to better quality stuff becoming more widely available.
Genetics Get Good. 1980-1990
Seattle was a weird town in the 1980s. Underage homeless prostitutes wandered the streets of downtown. The Green River Killer became active. This was also the period when research by a group of rogue UW botanists started producing big results — and millions of dollars — for a select group of growers. Seattle began to build a nationwide reputation for having really good marijuana.
Run for the Border! 1990-1998
My cousin knew a guy who was making LOTS of money bringing in “BC bud” from Canada. Got his product on credit, and once over the border he sold it for double. Back to Vancouver and repeat, over and over! I loved the incredibly strong BC bud. Life was good back then if you were connected. My cousin’s friend is in jail now, for an not-pot-related violent crime.
Bubbling Bong of Tech and Real Estate Bubbles! 1999-2008
The tech bubble era was flush with high-end weed. While in town in 2004 I was potless in Seattle, though. The hotel concierge was clueless. My connections were out of town. Plenty of crack seemed to be for sale downtown, but no pot.
Med Pot Gold Rush! 2009-2013
While driving down Rainier Avenue in 2013 I saw what seemed like thirty pot shops. They looked sketchy. I got my nephew, who has a medical marijuana authorization (he’s 20, and suffers from depression) to go purchase for me. This was technically illegal. It made me feel dirty. I’d rather support a dealer than give my money to what appears to be a loosely organized group of tax criminals pretending to be pharmacists.
The Era of Ike. 2014 – present
In January I was in Seattle for business and stopped by Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop. Full disclosure: Ike is the sponsor of this blog (duh). It was clean. Civilized. Brightly lit, with several helpful folks behind the counter, a security guy outside, and a glass shop next door. I researched ahead of time and came away with a few varieties of pot, about a half ounce. Primo weed. In packages with information on them about THC content, where it was grown. And then I got mad. I had to wait FIFTY YEARS for this? And then I went home and became happy again.