Chicago - Sep. 19, 2018
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The Acoustic Cool Breeze Pot Head Test

The pot shops in Los Angeles have the kind of punny names that make the monikers of barbershops - and pornos - such a delight: Hollyweed. Best Buds. Rolling Stoned. Green Mile. Wake & Bake. Exhalence. The Pottery. Hollywood High Grade. Mile High Club. The Green Team. Litt. Cannajuana Releaf. The Reefinery. Cannacierge. Stone Age Farmacy.

After googling which one of these glorious establishments was most geographically desirable to the day's activities, we tasked the mission to secure legal pot to our pal Cool Breeze, so named as an homage to Tom Wolfe, who had just kicked the Electric Kool-Aid Bucket. We came up with MMD, quite possibly the lamest name among all of LA's dispensaries (MMD standing for Medical Marijuana Dispensary, though to be sure Cool Breeze was buying recreational marijuana, legal in California since January 1.) Now it's true that MMD was recently named one of the area's best pot shops by High Times magazine, but for our purposes the key data point was that it was 305 feet from Amoeba Music, where the rest of us would cool our heels scouring the record racks while Cool Breeze did the deed.

I should probably explain what I mean by "we" at this juncture. We are "The Men of a Certain Age Crew" Crew, ages 56/7, met in high school in Illinois when 16/7, now gathered in LA for a weekend reunion. Not used to buying pot legally. Not having ever bought pot legally.

Instead, our crew was used to the old-fashioned way of buying pot - on the street, through friends, at parties, knowing someone who knows someone. Now that there is a legit market for pot developing, the old-fashioned way is being described as the Black Market. It used to just be The Market.

This new way - the legal way - it freaked Cool Breeze out. He couldn't help but think at some point the authorities would stop the sale and roust the shop. It was all too . . . clean. Cool Breeze felt dirty.

* * *

MMD, like all these newfangled pot shops these day, has an entry on Yelp.

It's a bit unsettling, all this . . . legitimateness.

"So fresh and so clean every single time," one reviewer wrote in March.

"This is a very professional established business," wrote another last December.

The reviews on Weedmaps, the Yelp for weed, are less forgiving, but JBoneSpookman wrote about a month ago that "We don't have anything like this where I'm from. This is like some kind of sci fi movie. Very nice service. The whole operation is very slick and professional and put my girlfriend and my minds at ease."

Cool Breeze not so much. His mind was not at ease. But in he went, through the front door into a tiny, spartan lobby.

In 'Breeze went, through the front door into a tiny, spartan lobby. The receptionist, a young Hispanic woman with a pierced nose sitting behind a glass partition, asked for his ID.

"First time?" she said.

Yes. Yes it was.

Legally, that is.

Cool Breeze had been caught with pot three times in the past by various authorities in Illinois, but he'd never been charged. His police record was clean. He passed the background check and sat down, as directed, on a bench in an otherwise bare room, save for the TV blaring ESPN and a few other waiting customers. Younger. Of color. First question to all: "First time?"

The wait lasted only seven minutes. Cool Breeze's named was called, along with one of the others there, and they were led down a set of stairs into a room running about 20 feet by 20 feet. It was like being in a small jewelry store, with stock displayed in glass cases in chewing tobacco-like tin tops.

Seven young, Hispanic, female Customer Service Reps were at ready - as were three burly, uniformed security guards.

Cool Breeze was hardly cool; he was nervous. "I didn't want to come off like Albert Brooks in Modern Romance, who walks into the athletic store to buy workout gear, and starts with 'I just broke up with my girlfriend and I want to make a new start . . . '"

* * *

The counter girl was polite and professional.

"First time? What would you like?"

Cool 'Breeze could think only of a time he saw Seth Rogen on Stern once and stuttered, "Do you have k-k-k-kush?!"

"Yes, we have OG Kush."

"How much?"

Now remember, Breeze only knows from what we now call the Black Market. That means ounces (eighth, quarter, half). She started in with grams.

Cool Breeze bluffed and asked to see two standard portions.

The counter girl pulled out two small, plastic, shrink-wrapped folders.

It looked good. So far. But he still felt like the whole thing was Too Good Too Be True. Surely the cops are gonna bust down the doors and start 'cuffing people up. Surely.

Now Cool Breeze had another dilemma. Having bluffed to give the product a look-see, he found he couldn't see through the labeled bags the counter girl handed to him.

"Let me feel it," he asked.

He knew he could guess the amount by feel. That much he knew.

He estimated each packet turned to be the equivalent of a relatively large, old-school dime bag.

Now he was in business. Almost.

"Wait, I need a lighter and a pipe as well, please."

"Oh, we don't have lighters but we have pipes."

"I want a glass pipe that requires no screens."

The counter girl found two glass pipes she thought would do the trick.

"This pipe is $10, this one is five," she said.

Cool Breeze chose the $5 pipe.

Then to the register. He braced for the total. He guessed the street value of his buy to be around $60, maybe more.

"With the $5 dollar pipe, and two bags, that'll be $16.75."

Cool Breeze was stunned. He pulled out his debit card.

"We should probably say this in advance, but we only take cash."

No sweat; 'Breeze had the cash.

"Less than twenty bucks?!"

Breeze nearly wept with joy and relief.

He checked in with the security guard to show his receipt before exiting, just like you do at Walmart.

He walked out with two bags of Eighth Brother OG Kush, grown locally, 100% organic, no pesticides or chemicals, bagged 5/20/18 "by fully licensed 2nd generation farmers obsessed with quality."

kush.jpg

Cool Breeze met up with the rest of at Amoeba wide-eyed and freaked out, after what we thought was a surprisingly short time. We were expecting to hear the Worst. Instead, we heard the Best.

We chewed on that little buying episode for the rest of the weekend. Like, "Did that really happen?!"

It did, my friends. It did.

"Compared to my former Black Market experience, this was a dream come true," Cool Breeze says now. "The pot was fresh, potent, clean and locally grown. Better quality, better price, no crimes committed in the process. And, I presume, fully taxed."

-

Comments welcome.



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Posted on June 19, 2018


MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
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POLITICS - Yes On Vouchers For After-School Programs.
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BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.


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