The culinary masterminds of Seattle restaurant Scout, including executive chef Derek Simcik, cooked up a posh, invite-only 4/20 joint-pairing dinner with Lux Pot Shop, facilitated by Morgan Leigh English of @thiscannabislife. We sent travel writer Pam Mandel to the exclusive, private event. She brought back this report. …
Two things stand out right away. One is the location. The log home just off Beach Drive in West Seattle used to be owned by a bootlegger – local history says the owner ran moonshine from a still on Blake Island, just across the water.
I like that, it’s fitting.
The other, a note about dress code.
“This is not your typical 4/20 event and we hope you’ll come dressed accordingly.”
I don’t know what this means.
Here’s a little context. Yes, I was a devoted pothead as a teenager, but legal weed isn’t something I’ve personally embraced. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it. But I’m a very occasional user. I’ve been in two, maybe three pot shops.
I tried edibles for migraines a while back, but those gummy bears made me nauseous. They’re still sitting in a tiny plastic container in my sock drawer, like I’m hiding them from someone who does not have to look very hard to find them.
My brother gave me his vaporizer last summer while our stepfather was in the hospital. In the evenings, before I went to bed, I would take a few hits and walk the dog. The strain – I remember the name because it was funny – was Berry White. It lowered my anxiety just enough so I could fall asleep. I called it “sanding off the edges.”
That’s my resume for legal weed. As far as the current landscape goes, I am a rank newbie. When I mentioned this at the banquet table in the former bootlegger’s home – I was wearing dinner party black, in case you’re wondering – a few of the business owners burst into applause.
Billed as a 4/20 industry dinner, this intimate event – 24 people – was a mix of reporters, pot shop owners, growers, product development types, and cultural extras – musicians, artists, an event planner from a new music festival. “I’m just a friend,” said one of the women at the far end of the table. “Me too,” said the woman next to her. “Oh, no, you’ve been ad models for us!” answered one of the shop owners.
I couldn’t see where the voice was coming from — I was at the other end of the table, next to a publisher, a shop owner, another writer, and a woman who makes edibles based on traditional recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook. There was initially an agenda for the evening – that came with the invitation too — but not long after introductions, we settled into fractured little groups of conversation. I was with local folks, but there was a woman from Los Angeles who introduced herself as an “influencer” and some people from Memphis (where marijuana is not legal).
Through the course of my gorgeous meal, I learn I know nothing about THC versus CBD — THC makes you high, CBD, well, it doesn’t, and can be used to moderate your high if you’ve overdone the THC. As can orange juice. (Is the science here sound? I don’t know, and I make a note to check this out the following day, when I am not so buzzed.)
I learn how logistically onerous it is to run a marijuana business given that it’s not federally legal. My companions aren’t complaining, though, it’s just matter of fact conversation – “Yeah, we decided not to open until we found a bank that would work with us,” says the shop owner across the table.
I learn how heavy the tax burden is, but again, no one seems to be complaining. These are insider conversations about the widget business, only it’s weed instead. Though there are stories about getting arrested, or fear thereof, something you probably hear much less of at the same dinner for coffee industry hotshots, or vintners, or I don’t know, the wood-fired pizza oven-makers guild.
I learn the term “couchlock” as in, “That stuff will give you couchlock if you smoke too much of it.” I pass. This one is called Nine Pound Hammer and I do not want to be hit with a nine pound hammer while surrounded by people I do not know.
I hear the term “cannabis” much more than I hear the term “weed” and I wonder if that’s supposed to be an indicator of seriousness. I like the term “weed” but then I worry it makes me sound out of touch. I am, in fact, out of touch. My brain has shifted into a pleasantly passive hum from the first and second courses. I am done smoking for the night, and there are five courses to go.
Later that evening, when we’re standing around the firepit talking about drug policy, the man from Memphis shakes his head and says, “A lot of my homies are in jail.” He’s black, much of the party is white, and all of us have been smoking. Not just passing around a joint, we’ve been smoking individual joints, each one selected for the way the flavor of the smoke pairs with the dish and the corresponding craft mocktail. It’s not entirely legal, but nothing is going to happen to us in this nice, white suburban neighborhood where we appear to be having a private party.
This is the goal. Of course it’s the goal. That we will all come to embrace weed in the exact same way we’ve come to make wine part of our lives. In this moment, I’m symbolic of the perfect future consumer of weed as a luxury item, a middle aged woman who might be enticed to replace my daily glass of wine, as the un-winder from my (non-existent) kids, or domestic strife, or day job. Weed – should I say “cannabis” — needs to be legal not just to get Memphis pot smokers out of jail, but so suburbanites can have dinner parties, nationwide.
“The attorney general…” someone starts to say, and everyone sighs. My ride appears, and as I say my thank you as good nights, one of the women in the circle stops me. “You can’t go yet,” she says, “I have to give you one of my joints.” She rushes off and returns to press a plastic tube in my hand. I look the strain up when I get home.
“Epic couchlock,” the reviews say.