On January 1, 2014, the first marijuana markets open in Colorado. Later next year, legal marijuana will be for sale in Washington. Personal possession and use by adults has been legal for an entire year in these two states, yet as Christmas passes and New Year’s Eve approaches, you’d think nobody ever smoked a joint at a holiday party, legal or not.
The Seattle Times spent almost 900 words on a hand-wringing exposé on what to do if people want to smoke pot at your holiday party. I can do it in 12: let them toke, make them take it outside or don’t allow it. The story warned that “liquor is a social lubricant” but if you smoke pot at a party “you might end up drooling on a guest.” It predicted that if you ignorantly ate a medicated edible you might “end up trying to take your pants off over your head.”
The Denver Post explained that the New Year’s Day “Cannabition” party was forced to move to a new venue last week, a dance bar where a $10 cover gets you into the ground floor where alcohol is allowed but not marijuana. The second floor will allow dabbing and vaporization but not toking, to comply with the indoor non-smoking laws, and no alcohol, to comply with liquor laws. You need a $5 ticket to get up there, which you can’t buy at the door, they’re only available online. You can attend your public holiday pot party, but nobody’s going to make it easy.
Meanwhile, you can’t flip on a TV without landing on a story encouraging and celebrating the use of alcohol for the holidays. ABC News helpfully suggested “How to Make Holiday Cocktails with Vodka.” FOX News brings us “Healthy holiday cocktails crafted by an organic chemist.” CBS News even thinks it’s morning show-appropriate with “Festive Holiday Cocktails” on The Early Show. Speaking of mornings, it’s no surprise that daily AM wine drinkers Hoda Kotb & Kathie Lee Gifford from NBC’s Today Show make the list with “Mariah Carey sips holiday drinks with KLG, Hoda.”
Newspapers are no better -- USA Today tells us “'Tis the season for holiday cocktails” in Las Vegas. Even where weed is legal, alcohol is promoted more. The Coloradoan helpfully suggests that we “Warm up around town with these six local seasonal cocktails.” The Seattle Times, like many papers, has an entire “Food & Wine” section with recipes for numerous alcoholic drinks.
It’s not that anyone here is against a nice hot toddy or spiced egg nog at a holiday party. It’s the irrational media fear of marijuana at a holiday party juxtaposed against the media cheerleading for alcohol, which every year leads to accidents and death over the holidays. When your TV morning show and local paper are running a “Best Marijuana Strains for the Holidays” feature, then we’ll know we’ve achieved true legalization.
"Radical" Russ Belville is the host of "The Russ Belville Show."