Keeping the flame
The Bohemian has given me the privilege of taking over this column from the illustrious Jonah Raskin. In our life together as poets, Jonah and I have come to be great friends, so I am thrilled to write “Rolling Papers” while he steps back for a break. He WILL be back, but until then, you’re ridin’ with me.
Let me introduce myself. A Bay Area native, weed has always been around me. It’s been like that for decades.
Although I knew all the stoners in high school, I was too terrified to expose myself to the unknowns of chemical inebriation so young. Then I started reading Kerouac and William Gibson, listening to the Doors.
My friends and I started slowly, smoking our first poorly rolled joint at night in the bushes of Central Park in San Mateo. I’m not sure how high we got, but we were struck with a sense of frisson when the SMPD roller creeped along the asphalt path that meanders through that landmark park, sweeping its side-mount spotlight slowly back and forth.
In my college years I took a toke for thoughtful walks and band practice—if playing bass, NOT if singing.
Later, as I stepped away from my first marriage and plans for a doctorate, I got hooked good, hanging out with those same kids I’d started with. By then we were on to museum-worthy bongs and immaculate blunts.
I burned a quarter-ounce of military-grade weed a week for years. Parenthood put an end to that, not without some struggle and a lot of patience from my wife.
Professionally, I am a strategy facilitator to sustainable businesses. I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses over the years and have come to the conclusion that business is good at business, but not much else. Do cannabis companies have a chance to change that?
For two years I brought this expertise to 421 Group, a cannabis consultancy working with now-household names that are the pillars of North Bay cannabiz. There I was reintroduced to the world of cannabis, from vape-cart ease-of-use to the almost mystical interpretation of current regs.
With this column, I will look for examples from the cannabis industry that illustrate to the business world that cannabis deserves a privileged position in economics and society.
I am looking for the truth of the ongoing black market and the real ways that people use, grow, distribute and share cannabis every day.
I’m interested in the science of growing, and in adding cannabinoids to our physiology.
Like with gummies.