Decades from now, when the ebook is written about America’s war on drugs, 2012 will be remembered as the beginning of the end. It was the year Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana; the year Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, and the entire state of Rhode Island decriminalized it; the year Republican Mitch Daniels told Democrat Barack Obama to leave the potheads alone. Even in D.C., which has as much self-determining political power as a Pigskins season ticketholder, 2012 brought a paradigm shift. The city approved the applications of four medical marijuana dispensaries in June. Less than three months later, the same D.C. government that’s allowing Herbal Alternatives to sell pot just south of Dupont Circle shut down Capitol Hemp for selling bongs—excuse me, “glassware”—in Adams Morgan.
2012 is also the year Allen St. Pierre, director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, almost pulled back the curtain on D.C.’s pot culture. “Politicians, members of Congress and the Senate, many of their principals…people in the private sector, Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Brookings, police, any number of notable journalists from television, print, radio, many brand names most Americans would recognize pretty quickly—I’ve smoked with all of them,” St. Pierre told Washingtonian. “This is a town where I could probably kill 200 major careers if I wanted to be a complete prick.” But he didn’t, and the hypocrites in this town are sleeping more soundly for his discretion.
This was also the year I saw my old pot dealer in a place other than his apartment. If you’ve run into a former teacher at the grocery store, or been at the gym and seen someone from work, you know what I’m talking about. It’s otherworldly and disconcerting. In this case, my weed guy was walking his girlfriend’s dog around Kalorama. “Dude,” he said. “Whoa,” I said. We didn’t know whether to shake hands or do a fist bump. Usually when we touch, there is money involved. For a few seconds, we just sort of stood there on the sidewalk and watched the dog take a shit in front of someone’s $2 million townhouse. “Well,” he said, when the dog finished. “You should come by sometime, if you are ever in need.”
I told him I would, but I haven’t. 2012 is the year I cut back.