They thought I was trying to cut in line for the pot shop.
The sun hadn’t been up for that long on July 1, 2017, when I approached the front door of the Reno dispensary. I just wanted to interview the people who had been in line since 4 a.m., not bypass the line that snaked around the building and into the other parking lot.
Once that was explained, most of them were happy to talk.
One man said he’d waited 18 years to buy cannabis legally. Another had waited 40 years, saying he’d almost gone to jail over some seeds.
The jargon they used was common around most anyplace in the country: pot, weed, dope. Maybe try a dab, get a dab rig. That’s new.
Later, at a different dispensary, someone had stuck a note on the door: “No shirt, no shoes, no weed.”
Using slang for a plant that’s been around for, well, millennia, is no big deal, right? I mean, kids have been smoking dope behind the Circle K for decades. They’re just looking for a lid of pot. That’s boss.
Not so in Nevada County, where a select few arbiters of language used to fret over the newspaper’s, among others, use of certain words.
“Cannabis” became the preferred term. “Marijuana” had potential racist overtones — an argument worth having, except there was little room for argument. “Pot” would get you an eye roll. “Weed” was just outright offensive.
The problem was, though, that what became offensive depended on who said it.
Former Supervisor Hank Weston elicited a wave of groans when he used slang during a formal meeting on cannabis. But Steve DeAngelo, a national cannabis advocate, could say “weed” all day at a public forum, and no one’s joint fell out of their