Smoked Salmon, a Minor Setback, and Hope

Never thought I’d say this, but there’s almost too much marijuana in the news as of late. With cover stories this month in both Time (by local journalist and former Seattle Weekly scribe Bruce Barcott) and National Geographic (“The New Science of Marijuana”), you can’t walk by a newsstand or go online without getting a contact high. Of course it’s great that mainstream publications are finally treating the subject of cannabis in a more mature manner, rather than continuing to deliver cliched jokes about smokescreens and . . . contact highs. Still, I wish Time and Nat. Geo had saved some for later. Like good ganja, ya gotta space the hits out.

In addition to the weed-news deluge, a plethora of cannabis culture stories make me want to roll things back to the days of Reefer Madness. Take marijuana-infused salmon. Please.

The owner of Rosenberg’s Bagels in Denver created a seriously smoked salmon when he recently infused the fish with cannabis. The process involved introducing marijuana into Everclear (which extracts the THC, the psychoactive element in ganja), then spreading the tincture over the fish for 72 hours before cold-smoking it (in the traditional way).

“The flavor is really great, not that weed-brownie flavor that you try to cover up with chocolate,” noted general manager Nicholas Bruno. “The dill, lemon, and cannabis—everything melds perfectly with the fish.” While the deli may have made a news splash, they’re ruining a perfectly wonderful fish, as well as some damn fine weed. (The lox/cannabis combo was more stunt than serious sales effort, as all marijuana edibles in Colorado must be clearly labeled and packaged in single doses of 10 mg or less.) I’ll say this much: Don’t even think about ruining our Copper River salmon by infusing it with pot. (Though Copper River Chronic does have a nice ring to it . . . )

Point is, not everything has to be infused with cannabis. Yoga classes are being combined with getting high, for example. Not necessary. Your yogic bliss should be enough for mind, body, and soul, so that it doesn’t require taking bong hits during bandhasana. A company introduced cannabis K-cups last week (Catapult coffee pods retail for $10 each), infusing your morning by truly waking and baking. How ’bout ya don’t!? Moderation, people.

The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Control Board just busted four of the 22 recreational-marijuana stores they tested for selling to underage shoppers, which is—without a doubt—a serious screw-up. (As a point of comparison, Colorado did this kind of check last June after their retailers had been open six months, and all 20 passed the test.) The biggest reason these failures are so outrageous is that the board had announced to all recreational shops a month before that they would be doing compliance checks. Many journalists are calling the busts a major setback for marijuana (including Seattle Weekly’s own Daniel Person, declaring “Recreational Pot Is Having Its First PR Fiasco”). In fact, I think it’s just the opposite: A legal system, with due diligence, probing for violations and nailing those not in compliance sounds like a well-reasoned plan that moves in the right direction. (And indeed, idiots selling to underage kids should lose their licenses.) The rest of the stoned state gets a second chance—as every one of the 138 retail operations in the Evergreen State will be checked for compliance by the end of June. #getittogetherpeople

Even with bumps in the rasta road, surveys from Public Policy Polling show that in the two states that legalized cannabis, the people like the law—even more than when they voted it in. Fifty-six percent of us here in Washington approve of the recreational weed law, and 37 percent dislike it. In the 2012 referendum, the same percentage of folks approved, but 44 percent voted against the intiative. Better still, 77 percent of voters say the new laws have either had a positive effect or no effect at all. In Colorado, a different poll confirmed the trend. Sixty-two percent of voters there support the new ganja laws, an increase of seven percentage points from the vote tally in 2012.

Survey says: It’s all good.

Finally, in a bit of good news related to a previous column (“Prisoners for Pot,” May 13), the governor of Missouri commuted the sentence of a man serving a life term for marijuana. Gov. Jay Nixon’s commutation makes Jeff Mizanskey, 61, eligible for parole after being jailed for 22 years under Missouri’s three-strikes law. Part of the reason for the governor’s move? Four hundred thousand people had signed a petition requesting clemency. Mizanskey’s not free yet, but he’ll plead his very strong case before a parole board this summer. A nonviolent offender, Mizanskey has been a model prisoner—and has served a longer term than many rapists, child-molesters, and murderers. (Parole accepted!)

About the Author
Michael is a journalist and filmmaker. His award-winning documentary, Sleeping with Siri is playing film festivals across the country. Stusser runs TechTimeout campaigns in high schools across the country, asking teenagers to give up their digital devices (for a little while) in order to find balance, and perhaps even make eye-contact with their parents.