In 2015, pot began to grow up. With legalization elections anticipated next November for between 5 and 10 states, companies are thinking about how to attract new customers, especially older and female ones. It’s too early to know for sure just how well their efforts are working, but they have released products that seem more informed by attractive, minimalist design than by the drug’s more familiar seedy image. Call it the sex-toy strategy.
With that in mind, here are some gift ideas for the grown-up stoner in your life:
Colorado-based Mary’s Nutritionals sells transdermal patches containing a chemical found in hemp and marijuana, called cannabidiol (CBD) which fans believe have medicinal properties. (According to the U.S. government, hemp is defined as marijuana with only a tiny amount of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient.) The brand’s black and white “ye olde apothekary shoppe” motif harkens back to the early 20th century, when marijuana was commonly prescribed as a medicine. These products are non-psychoactive and can be shipped across state lines.
The company’s sister brand, Mary’s Medicinals, does contain THC. It can be purchased in five legal states but not transported across state lines. The company also sells a non-cannabis product called Mary’s Rescue, which claims to help people who have overindulged.
In the related topicals category, the Denver company Apothecanna sells cannabis beauty and skincare products, many of which can also be mailed nationwide. Apothecanna’s Pain Creme, which contains THC, is the rubdown used by Denver’s LoDo Massage Studio for its “mile high massage.”
Strict rules govern cannabis advertising, which leaves packaging as one of the ways companies can make themselves look top shelf. California company Terra Tech has launched IVXX, a brand of marijuana products handsomely presented for the cigar lounge crowd. Meanwhile, Hepburn’s makes pre-rolled joints that come in attractive tins decorated with a picture of Alice and the caterpillar. Both of these products are only available to California medical card holders.
Or, you can send someone away for the weekend. It wasn’t until this month that Colorado’s tourism office admitted that legalization might be an attraction for some flatlanders. At the moment, the state has only a handful of establishments where a curious visitor can have a puff. But marijuana could grow into another green rush cottage industry. Bud and Breakfast is an Airbnb-like service that enables travelers to book pot-friendly accommodation with an emphasis on Colorado and the U.S. West Coast. For those who prefer hotels, the site KushTourism is a clearinghouse for inns and hotels that cater to pot users.
Marijuana has inspired a great deal of writing, but not much of it is about the plant itself. Humans have cultivated hemp and used it for fun, medicine, and rope for thousands of years. A great deal of the marijuana literature has been written by people who were activists, pro- and con first, and authors second or third. Martin Booth’s Cannabis: A History, is a brisk, fascinating survey of the plant, which has a Forrest Gump-like ability to sprout up at key moments in history. In Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier, by Emily Brady, reports on intersecting lives in northern California’s Humboldt Triangle, the country’s best-known growing region. Lastly, The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan is an essential book about our coexistence with plants. In the superb marijuana chapter, Pollan gets one thing wrong: The plant does appear to be compatible with capitalism.
The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook: Feel-Good Food for Home Cooks is an extensive and stylishly laid out volume by Robyn Griggs Lawrence, former editor of Natural Home magazine. The book features dishes like wild mushroom, cannabis, and hazelnut pâté with apple, bacon, and sage; and salmon and rice cheese risotto with sesame and chia seeds. Even the dorm-room precursor to our more modern edibles sounds ambitious: cannabis, chia, almond, and goji berry “pot brownie” with cranberry, chocolate, and red wine sauce. It also includes sections called Raw, Cocktails, and Juices. Jane West, co-founder of the industry group Women Grow and a Denver-area mom, provides the forward. On her site, West sells the book as a gift pack with one bottle of each olive and rosemary oil, both “unmedicated.”
The pot and tech worlds share an obsession with gadgetry which can baffle the unconverted. If your giftee happens to be in Colorado, send them to Illuzion Glass Galleries in Denver or Boulder, a store known for its selection of one-of-a-kind glass smoking and vaping devices, some of which can costs well into the five figures.
Illuzion doesn’t currently have an online store but Internet head shops like Glasshous and Billowby want to attract customers who don’t live in their parents’ basements. As for what to buy from them, users can have strong opinions, so you might want to ask. It would be hard, though, to go wrong with the sleek PuffCo Pro vaporizer pen, which is well-rated and reasonably priced for its category at $80.
Finally, marijuana remains federally illegal. Four states and the District of Columbia allow recreational use, and 23 total allow medical use. If your giftee believes more Americans should have access and that using or possessing the drug shouldn’t carry criminal penalties, she might appreciate a donation in her name to a marijuana-related charity. The pro-legalization groups Drug Policy Alliance and Marijuana Policy Project both receive three out of four stars from Charity Navigator, a group that rates nonprofits.