Driving past a burnout playing guitar on a street corner, I felt the shiver of déjà vu run up my spine. Santa Fe will never change. I hate it.
I was groping my way toward Fruit of the Earth Organics. The last time I was there—almost two years ago—there had been a distinct aura of hippie freakout lovefest flower power in the air. It was very Santa Fe. I have drifting memories of dense, cave-like spaces exhaling incense.
Not my kind of place, really, but the medicine was tip-top. One terrible thing they never mention in the brochures is that when you smoke too much cannabis, you eventually become a snob about the pettiest minutiae of this or that strain. It's gross.
And here's the thing: In my estimation, I hadn't come across better meds in five counties. I’d smoked scores of strains of varying quality, but that one trip had stuck with me.
Of course, I was only smoking about half an ounce a month back then, and everything I touched seemed out of my league, so it could just as easily be a mistake of memory and relativity (like my distinct recollection that “ALF” was a good show—I actually laughed at that when I was a kid). It made me nervous on my second approach. I blinked at the sun and noticed an irregular loping gait to my walk.
I was feeling a bit dazzled, and I walked into the dispensary's CBD bar by accident, despite the well-placed signs telling me where to go. The employees were all busy helping customers, and I noticed my mistake before I had to admit to it and slipped back out the door. I only had an impression, but it seemed sleek and cozy and smelled pleasant. The people inside had just been shapes in the shade. Hopefully I'd been like a breeze.
I went a few feet further and found a wide open door with a glittering desk beckoning me in from the glare. I awkwardly clomped up to the receptionist. As he examined my papers, I looked around and realized I was standing in what felt like a completely different space from last time. The windows were letting in sunlight and the open doors were bringing in fresh air. Plush modern furniture made the waiting room feel more like a new-world hipster coffee shop than an insincere faux ashram. I was impressed.
There was a crowd there, too. The place was tight with people at 11 in the morning on a Friday. No one spoke. They stared at the electronic menu.
I settled in for a long wait, and joined everyone else in staring at the menu. I paid little attention as budtenders poked their heads out here and there and called patients' names. But before the menu had rolled through twice, I was already being called. I looked around to make sure there wasn't another Josh and realized that all of my neighbors were new. Preposterous.
With a smile, the 'tender ushered me to her register like a pro. I quickly made my picks and accepted a bag of flower in less than a minute. I'd been swept along expertly without even noticing. There’d even been small talk. I'm still not exactly sure how all of this happened, but I do believe some sort of chicanery was involved.
I was back in the car and on the road before my eyes had adjusted to the store. I immediately jumped on the fastest road out of town and ground the pedal into the floorboard. I hoped for my sake that my memory was faulty, and there wasn't anything special about Fruit of the Earth's cannabis. If I had to choose between driving 60 miles for my meds and moving to Santa Fe—well, I'd probably just opt for lower quality and stay home.
An hour later I was sneering at an empty bowl and wondering out loud if “ALF” would be protested today—because of the cat thing.
The question hung in the air as I packed a bowl of Blueberry Headband (THC: 25.51%—$11.07/gram). The buds were noticeably moist and spongy, and squeezing them released a strong, peppery scent. The hits were pleasantly smooth and mild, and it took a few minutes for the effects to ease over me. These were also fairly easy to handle and seemed to creep up over time. This indica-dominant hybrid wasn't too heady at all, and I found it easy to keep my attention and energy up. A strong relaxant was at work, and I felt calm and euphoric.
I sat for a while and stared at my plants on the porch. Then I remembered I was supposed to be working, so I packed a bowl of Strange Brew (THC: 21.76%, CBD: 0.07%—$10.14/gram). This sativa-dominant strain was even stickier and fresher than the first, and I had to wash my hands after handling it. It smelled like lime candy and burned slowly. The first hit brought on waves of giddiness and caused me to cough like a coal miner. It tasted sweet and tart and tickled my brain immediately. I hit it a second time and popped open the laptop. I hacked and cackled. The neurons were armed and firing. There was an Independence Day celebration going off in my head. That's how I knew.
The first thing I thought of was that damn burnout. I typed furiously.