Marijuana just became a little bit more legal in Colorado. Voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational use of marijuana last year. Governor John Hickenlooper signed this law into effect on Tuesday. The state allows adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of the drug. Adults can grow up to six plants or buy pot in retail stores, which are slated to open in January.
This new law also made considerations for non-state-residents (they can purchase up to a quarter ounce at a time, and possess up to an ounce total) and edibles — food made with butter or oil that is infused with marijuana’s main active ingredient, tetra-hydra-cannibol, or THC.
However, a recent trend in cannabis usage has rendered this brand-new bill antiquated already. Marijuana concentrate, also known as “wax” or “dabbing oil,” is the product of an extraction of THC from the regular buds via isopropanol or some other proprietary mixture. In drinking terms: If buds are beer, and hash is liquor, marijuana concentrate is Everclear. Is it legal to procure concentrates up to one ounce, but that amount has the same THC content as a pound brick of buds.
For inexperienced users, usage of marijuana concentrate, or “dabbing,” poses a danger both literal and figurative. The sticky material does not burn properly in a joint or bong, and must be vaporized in a vaporizer or in a water pipe with a heat-absorbing “needle” that requires the heat of a blow-torch rather than a regular lighter. To the uninitiated, the dabbing procedure is most evocative of crack cocaine usage, and, will yield a high that is equally intimidating. The intoxication is so strong that most dabbers balk at the smoking the normal bud. “Flowers mean nothing to me,” a Vice reporter once heard his friend say.
The advent of dabbing may pose a negative juxtaposition to the end of marijuana prohibition in the states of Colorado and Washington. All it takes is one negative story about the newfangled drug to incense a populace that otherwise has grown increasingly tolerant of the drug.