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Marijuana: It Gets Chicer

This article was originally published in The Huffington Post on July 17, 2012.

I saw some headline on Facebook’s ‘trending articles’ (woof) last week about nine “gotta have” bags for summer. And after Facebook-stalking someone who really needs to call me for a good ten(ish) minutes, I got to thinking about my idea of summer’s gotta have items. Though my boat shoes are pretty major, the one thing I do allow to come between me and my Butterfinger is Pax, my portable vaporizer.
Allow me to digress and then I’ll get us back on the right track (baby).  See, most people don’t know a lot about pot, weed, whatever-I-need-to-call-it to have you follow along. The people that tend to know the most about Mary Jane (still following?), are the people too blitzed to explain it properly, God bless them.

I once sat through a documentary where a bunch of older people spat off facts about their beloved grass.  What I learned: I have a love/hate relationship with documentaries, weed used to be hemp which used to be in everything ever made (I don’t retain facts well), oh, and nobody has ever died from smoking pot. Good to know; good ammunition for a counterattack against the haters (hey, haters).
Why is pot illegal?  Why is Lisa Rinna in a Depends commercial?

Nobody knows the answers to these questions except for her agent.  I reached out and he’s unavailable for comment (too available, if you ask me).  Let’s all meet up later this week and do a round-table. But until then, the law is the law, and we’re going to abide by it, officer.

It’s here I say this: If you don’t smoke weed, never touched the stuff, give up reading this now.  It’s not going to make any sense to you.  Good for you, good for you.  Now… Are they out of the room?  Yes.  OK, I hate them.  They’re idiots.

So you’ve probably heard a lot about those magical medical marijuana dispensaries in California.  Someone will cross through to the promised land and return home with stories of finding pot root beer floats and pot bubblegum and you’ll go online and book your flight only to realize you don’t have the money for this trip. For now, let California remain a place where Arnold Schwarzenegger… filmed a lot of movies. You need not travel far or wide for a toke. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Marijuana, like any other global industry, continues to grow (I’m over the puns, can we all be?) and change rapidly to appease its consumers.  But let’s face it, the end goal is always the same: Get me high (reread that with a whiney voice for optimum effect).  Some learned from The Big Lebowski, some from Up In Smoke, and some from Friday (holler at your boy, Ice Cube).  Ladies, I think Annie Hall taught us, er, you?  And don’t get me wrong, a bong, a joint, whatever, is still the chicest thing ever.  But, as Dan Savage didn’t say, but probably should have: IT GETS CHICER.  Come inside!

In my younger, sadder days (I was fat), I would walk into those weird tattoo parlors that sell bongs and see these devices on the top shelf of each glass case.  One day I got up the (what’s the opposite of) courage to ask the dude how much one of those cost.  One of those is called a Volcano and one of those costs between five and seven hundred dollars, he told me.  The answer was no, thank you. But it got me wondering, what could be so good about this Volcano to warrant a month’s rent (in every city but New York)?

One day, curiosity peaked. I had myself a kiki and bought one.  Through my meticulous research (tried reading the relatively simple directions and ended up calling my friend Manuel, demanding he skip his matinee of West Side Story and help this Maria out), I was able to start this baby up.  It was then I learned something that I wish everyone knew about — although I prefer it the way it is, because I get to be one of the ‘knowing’ few. I learned that vaporizing is basically the best thing ever.

A Volcano is a vaporizer.  A vaporizer — and I’m only going to say this one time, so listen up — is a nifty device that voids the production of irritating toxic and carcinogenic by-products by heating the ‘material’ so its active compounds boil off into vapor.  No combustion occurs, so no smoke is present.  If you don’t believe me, do what I did and read that exact definition for yourself on Wikipedia.

I’ll take one question.

Pretty blond girl in the front, go ahead.

“Can you use the volcano for anything besides smoking pot?”

Alright, sit down, blond girl.  That’s actually a good question.  Vaporizers are marketed mainly towards tobacco smoking. However, I vaporize lavender and chamomile and eucalyptus and passion flower and anything else I can get my hands on (minus the tobacco — yuck).  As long as its plant matter, throw that baby in the shaft (that’s what it’s called!) and heat her up.  To be honest, I can’t say that to be true for sure, so maybe check first. Try, like, Wikipedia? That’s where I would go.

Years later, I was sent a rare news blast from my trusted friends over at Vape World announcing a new member to the family: Pax.  Sounds like a Buffy character.  I’m in.  I clicked on the image to get my formal introduction to Pax.  It was there that I learned that vaporizers are going portable. This is not new information. There have been portable vaporizers for years. They’re great if you’re into things that look cool and don’t work like that Space Shuttle Enterprise.  So I’m not sure if it was the fact that Pax came in black, purple, and blue or the fact that they described it with words like “premium” and “pocketable” that had me raising my eyebrow at the computer screen.

I got my hands on Pax a few weeks later.  We’ve been in close contact ever since.  I’ll be honest when I tell you that I have a thing for the way she looks. She comes in a sleek white box evocative of an Apple product and her shape truly is “pocketable”.  She even communicates with you by turning different colors, indicating “I’m ready” or “No one’s using me, so I think I’m going to take a nap.” I was certain she could walk the walk, but could she bop the bop? Turns out… she can. She even be-bops!

Pax has secured her place as my ultimate summer “gotta have”.  She’s my version of inexpensive and she’s great for helping you make fast friends at a party.  Throw away your one-hitter and embrace the new, now, next in innovation.  You probably won’t hear about her a whole lot on those “Best of Summer” lists because she’s everyone’s best-kept secret.  Vaporizers, not being a traditional tobacco product, do not fall under the FDA’s current mandates on tobacco advertising, but can still be seen as bad business.  Whatever.  I’m not trying to sound like a celebrity endorsement (like how I slipped in the word celebrity?) or a Clearasil ad when I tell you that innovation has arrived and her name is Pax and I’d get her in purple if I were you (or had the power to control you).

Note: I’ve never smoked pot.

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Evan Ross Katz

Evan Ross Katz