Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pot Shots

I'm going to preface this post by saying while I can be a joker, and an ex-smoker, I'm not much of a midnight toker. Pot really isn't my thing. But with New York on the precipice of possibly legalizing some amount of medical marijuana, and a number of other states decriminalizing the possession of pot, and yet others having made it out-and-out legal, Jim Galligan, a TODAY Show contributor, brings up an interesting notion. He asks about newly legalized pot competing with craft beer sales in Colorado. To quote Galligan "Will cannabis cannibalize craft beer sales in the state."

The article leans decidedly towards no, and I have to agree. I think beer sales are going to be fine—at least in the short term. But the article does hit one one point that I think can't be denied. One of Galligan interviewees, Marty Jones, a Denver-based beer journalist and craft beer fan, adds "The era of Colorado pot connoisseurs can't be far off."

Therein lies the rub. When I hear the word "connoisseurs," I take that to mean the craft-tification of pot. And that's where the competition will come from.

If the trend for the legalization of pot continues, and spreads to other states, as seems likely—half of the U.S. already has decriminalized or medial marijuana laws on the books—can we not expect the oncoming wave a precious treatment of weed? We've hipster-ized everything else—from small batch bourbon and cheese, to coffee and dog clothes. Do we really think the same thing isn't going to happen with pot? Quite honestly hasn't it already happened? Didn't Bill Murray's character from Caddy Shack, Carl Spackler, make his own hybrid of Kentucky Bluegrass and Northern California Sensemilia—way back in 1980!? That's sounds par for the craft course, if you ask me.

I don't expect the mainstream craft-tification of pot will be an overnight phenomenon. It took well over twenty years for craft beer to make the mainstream. At this point, only in 1/25 of the U.S. is legal ghanga even an entity, so I can see how the beery soothsayers might not think pot is much of a competitor to craft beer—but what about in five years, or when 35 to 40% of the country has legitimized it? What happens when the first coffee-infused pot makes it to market? Or when the New York Times or Saveur start writing about cannabis and food pairings?

I suppose all that remains to be seen—but If the trend is towards making pot legal, how can we not expect the "craft" phenomenon to not permeate the pot industry? A multi-billion dollar business, mind you. I guess we'll see how everything pans out in a few years.

I will take a hard line on one position, though. Every beer I've had that's been brewed with hemp or claimed to have use pot in the brewing process has sucked—granted most of these were made by stoned out of their gourd home brewers. But, can we all agree to leave the pot in the bongs and the beer in the bottle, and never the twain shall meet—at least not in the same glass.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking along similar lines the other day after reading an article that was predicting that legalisation may go the same way as tobacco. The fear being that big industry will get hold of production and there will be lobbying for lower taxation etc. I'm of the opinion that it may possibly go the way of craft beer. I think there is already the "discerning" pot smoker and he/she wants to go to their local outlet and buy from a friendly face and have a chat about the latest strain etc. It will be a long time coming in the UK though i reckon.