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'High' And Mighty Embrace Cannabis Culture

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Once the drug of choice with hippies and burnouts, marijuana is joining fine wine on the list of indulgences with serious snob appeal.

Although illegal, the controversial drug counts Canadian doctors, lawyers, corporate leaders and untold members of the chattering classes among its fans. And if the watermark for making it amongst the millionaires is a picture in Forbes, then reefer has achieved that cachet: In advance of todays Global Marijuana March, which will be held in major cities worldwide to promote the legalization of pot, the conservative business magazine has published a photographic countdown of the worlds most exotic varietals of weed on Forbes.com, complete with information on each brands origin, bouquet and cost per gram.

Grass has come a long way since Woodstock, baby.
Serious cannabis consumers often exhibit the kind of connoisseurship typical of wine lovers, writes Forbes reporter Saabira Chaudhuri.

Vancouver weed expert Ian Mulgrew agrees, saying in an interview that as many versions as there are of red and white wine, there are versions of the major strains of cannabis.

Adds Mulgrew, author of Bud Inc: Inside Canadas Marijuana Industry: The same way people who buy wines are looking for bouquet, nose and finish, (pot smokers) are looking for epicurean qualities to their marijuana.

Varietals cataloged by Forbes.com include Sour Diesel, Strawberry Cough, Mass Skunk, OG Kush, Chemdog, Jack Herer and Haze. Each brand is said to have a street value of $25 to $35 US per gram equal to about 0.04 ounces.

According to the print version of Forbes, rising popularity and price have driven marijuana to trump wheat, cattle and timber as Canadas most valuable agricultural product. Mulgrew estimates the drug generates between $6 billion and $8 billion Cdn each year, and upwards of $2-billion in B.C. alone.

Lets stop kidding ourselves. The yuppies arent growing heirloom tomatoes in their gardens, he observes dryly. Its a really sophisticated market.

The average Canadian isnt likely to debate whether a joints contents were grown on the sunny side of the slope or the shady. But among the cannabis cognoscenti, High Times columnist Jorge Cervantes says, no nuance is too obscure.

People are so snobby about this stuff. They get real full of themselves, claiming theyve got the best dope in the world, says Cervantes, author of the bestselling book Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Growers Bible. They tie it to their manhood.

In Vancouver and Amsterdam, annual harvest festivals are held in which aficionados blind taste-test various cannabis plants to see which grower has the best product. In some cases, a win can be worth more than a half-million dollars in subsequent sales.

Failing an official victory, many guerrilla gardeners rely on improvisation.
Since its an uncontrolled industry, lying and cheating are rampant, explains Cervantes. Growers might just think up a different name (for an old brand) and all of a sudden its the coolest one. People make stuff up about as fast as they can talk.

True cannabis connoisseurs, however, operate much like sommeliers in discriminating between varietals.
Cervantes says a product must first be eyeballed for maturity and development. Then its touched to judge moisture content, stickiness or dryness foliage thats too supple, for instance, wont burn properly.

Because cannabis can produce up to 200 different terpenes or essential oils, breaking open the plant to unleash its fragrance is also key. Finally, the plants potential high is gauged by examining the colour and quantity of its resin glands using a small microscope.

Unlike wine tasting, in which sommeliers spit out the alcohol after sampling, evaluating pot requires a person make as many judgments as possible before experiencing the product.

What happens is you get high and you cant remember all the stuff, explains Cervantes. Its hard to make good decisions after youve smoked some of this.

News Hawk- User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Author: Misty Harris
Contact: About | canada.com
Copyright: 2007 CanWest Interactive
Website: High and mighty embrace cannabis culture
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