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marijuana leaf, Ann Arbor, 2012

More Better Pot

Medical marijuana reaches the street

by James Leonard

From the December, 2012 issue

"It's the best dope I've had in years," says an anonymous local pothead. "The first time I smoked it, I laughed and laughed and laughed."

He's not the only satisfied customer. For years, Ann Arbor's dopers have put up with a steady diet of fair-to-middling weed only occasionally supplemented by high-end varieties. That changed this past spring when brands like Apollo 13, Purple Haze, and Northern Lights appeared on the market. Though it retails for double the old pot's price, the designer crop "killed the regular pot market big time," says an anonymous wholesaler. "Certain people get their hands on that, and they don't want to go back to the regular stuff anymore."

The wholesaler credits the upgrade to spillover from the state's medical marijuana dispensaries. "You've got all these [suppliers] growing ass-loads of pot [for the dispensaries]. Their overages, they sell to buy lights, bulbs, equipment, or for personal expenses. There's a lot of them making quite a few extra bucks."

An anonymous retailer confirms that local dopers have embraced the high-end stuff. "I was surprised when I first got it at how well it moved. I was amazed people would pay the price. But people who got used to the high end would wait rather than go back to the everyday wine."

The retailer is not overly impressed by the new varieties himself but acknowledges there are marked differences. "It's not twice as good, but it's like distinguishing between wines. The high-end pots are almost all designed to have certain kinds of effects. Some are more of a head buzz; others are more of a body buzz. I stay away from it myself. I need stuff that will allow me to get things done."

The upgrade hasn't been an unmitigated boon for sellers. Business has "gone up a little bit" since their arrival, says the retailer, but "my revenue hasn't changed a whole lot." Though retail prices have doubled, wholesale prices have gone up even more. "I make

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a little bit less [now]," the seller says. "I'm not a big expert at retail, but I know enough to know you don't pass along too much of the price increase."

Asked about the high-end pot and its connection to the suppliers of medical marijuana, city attorney Stephen Postema says: "I don't know anything about that, and I don't think about it. We don't prosecute for medical marijuana here, and we haven't for years."

Assistant city attorney Bob West confirms that the situation is nearly the same for non-medical marijuana. He can recall only two times in the last five years that possession of non-medical marijuana has resulted even in a formal court hearing--and then only because the users contested tickets received under the city's lenient marijuana law.    (end of article)

[Originally published in December, 2012.]


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