At long last, I can buy marijuana, legally, here in California. I don’t need a note from my doctor, and I don’t have to pretend to be sick. I can walk into a store and admire their selection of fine cannabis products, and if I have enough money, and if I can prove that I’m over 21 years of age, I can buy my choice of them without having to look over my shoulder to see if there’s a cop around. I’ve waited a really long time for this. I’ve been dreaming of this day since 1978, and working for it since 1988, but I guess I’ll have to wait a few more days.

I had hoped that I would not have to drive far to visit one of these new recreational cannabis retailers on January 1st. People around here like to call Southern Humboldt County “the Heart of the Emerald Triangle,” but unfortunately the two vendors seeking retail recreational cannabis licenses in Southern Humboldt are still not quite open for business. When I inquired of the Humboldt County Cannabis Chamber of Commerce as to where I could find the nearest recreational cannabis retailer in my area, they referred me to a list compiled by listing all of the cannabis retailers in the state that have registered with them to be open on January 1st.

I only found one retailer on that list in Humboldt County — EcoCann, in Old Town Eureka. I had never heard of them before, but a couple of days later I found their circular in the North Coast Journal offering preroll joints for one dollar, one per customer, with coupon. It’s about 80 miles from our place in Ettersburg to Old Town, a long way to drive, and a lot of money in gas for a one dollar joint, especially considering that all of my friends and neighbors have tons of weed, and I can hardly go to town without someone giving a wad of buds for free.

Still, I want to buy weed, legally, in a licensed store. Well, not exactly weed, but I want to buy some cannabis products. I have weed. Everyone I know has weed. If I was out of weed, I would buy weed in the store. Hell, if I was out of weed, I would’ve driven to the store on New Years Eve and camped out overnight so that I could be their first customer on New Year’s Day,. but I’ve got plenty of weed, so it can wait a few more days until we need to make a trip up North.

I have an appointment in Trinidad to record a couple of segments for my KMUD show, Monday Morning Magazine. I think I’ll visit the dispensary the and turn my visit to EcoCann into a segment as well. Celebrating legal cannabis will be the cover story of the show, which will air on KMUD (streaming and archived at on January 8, from 7-9 a.m., about the time this post drops on LoCO. We will talk a lot about this new world we call legalization with a live panel of local entrepreneurs who have set sail to discover it, including Graham Shaw, Holly Carter, Kevin Jodrey and Lelehnia Dubois.

I’m really excited about this. I feel like a kid anticipating his first trip to the candy store. It’s been years since I had a medical recommendation, and when I did go to the trouble of getting a medical recommendation, it was only because I had shitloads of weed and felt I needed the legal protection. Once, at Wonderland Nursery in Redway, I used my medical marijuana card to buy a bottle of Golden Dragon Medicinal Syrup for my mom, who has Parkinson’s disease, but other than that, I’ve never shopped for cannabis at a dispensary before.

The circular from EcoCann tells me they have quite a few strains of fresh cannabis flower for sale, and the pictures of the buds look pretty nice, but I’ve got plenty of flowers. Right now, I’m more interested in some of the new value-added cannabis products that you only find at a a legal dispensary. Last year I sent my mother a box of chocolates from the Humboldt Chocolate Company behind the gazebo in Old Town. My mother, naturally, assumed that anything that had “Humboldt” in the name, must be infused with cannabis, and that’s what she told her friends, when she shared those very delicious but non-medicated truffles with them. Of course, they all thought they got high from them. I would like to give my mother some chocolates that really will get her and her friends high, and I’ll bet they have them at EcoCann.

For myself, I’d like to find a way to ingest cannabis that doesn’t harsh my vocal chords as much as smoking, and that doesn’t involve sugar, and I’m sure my girlfriend would appreciate it if I didn’t stink the house up with smoke so much. I might want to try a vape pen, and I’ve heard great things about a cannabis throat spray.

I still find it hard to believe that I no longer have to feel paranoid about carrying weed (but I probably will, for the rest of my life), and I can go to a licensed store to buy it, even if it takes two hours to get there. So much has changed in 40 years, mostly for the worse, but this change is long overdue. Really, it’s about time.


John Hardin writes at Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do.