Everyone Is Getting High in Public

By Cody Brotter

<p>Many e-cigarettes, especially in those states with relatively lax laws on weed, are filled to the brim with THC. </p>

While some may be worrying about hashish-related accidents, others are rejoicing because for the first time ever, potheads might not have to be paranoid.

E-cigs, or “electronic nicotine delivery systems,” as the kids call them, are usually tobacco-free, battery-powered vaporizers that look like pens. They have changed the tobacco game forever as millions of chain-smokers are turning to a hopefully safer alternative to get their fix with the click of a button. And in public spaces, too! Have you been to a bar lately and seen folks whip out their electronic cigarettes? Keep an eye on their eyes, because they’re probably getting squintier with every puff.

Many of these magic vape pens, especially in those states with relatively lax laws on weed, are in fact filled to the brim with THC. (THC is not an acronym for The History Channel, though many sources have confirmed it enhances a History Channel viewing experience.) What’s more, the electric pens, small enough to fit in your pocket, recharge via a USB cord so that folks can plug their pot into their computer.

These marijuana e-cigarettes might be a bit worrisome—or perhaps wonderful if you’re suffering from glaucoma or sobriety—not just due to their convenience but also due to their power. Weed e-cigs are on another, literally higher, level of potency than today’s normal weed—which already, according to the Marijuana Potency Project’s Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, on average has about 13 percent more THC content than the stuff that made our parents cough in 1972. In fact, many worry that the potheads of this generation are truly serving as the guinea pigs for any research on the long-term effects of marijuana. Like, outrageously high guinea pigs.

When you’re at a club and a song comes on with some rapper bragging about how dank his dope is, it’s probably not even as strong as the stuff people are inhaling from the vape pens inside the club. That’s because the e-cigs are loaded with pure THC oil or wax, which is about as concentrated as cannabis can get.

So not only is it a harder drug, it’s a harder drug to crack down on than that old-fashioned “lighting a plant on fire” route of getting stoned. It’s nearly impossible to detect the smell, it’s hard to prove it’s not the standard nicotine e-cigarette and it’s easier to conceal than a flask. My kids won’t just be hot-boxing their college dorms with these pens, they’ll be constantly getting away with it. That’s why cops around the country, and now elected officials, are publicly freaking out about people publicly chilling out.

As of the last couple of months, some local news outlets are slowly becoming aware of the trend. In fact, Wisconsin’s Fox Cities officially banned e-cigarettes at the end of January, citing the practice of replacing nicotine with THC oil as a factor. One month prior, the Los Angeles City Council moved to regulate the e-cigarettes since the feds weren’t, while CBS L.A. reported that both middle and high schoolers in Orange County had been using them to get high in class. One student approximated that “at least one out of two kids in school have one.”

Look around. People are getting high in restaurants, stores, airport terminals and apparently even in class. In Pineapple Express, James Franco’s Golden Globe-nominated weed dealer turns to Seth Rogen’s character and holds up a triple-sided joint. “This is it man,” he says. “This is what your grandchildren are gonna be smoking. Future. That future.” But between PDFs and weed going electronic, I wouldn’t be investing my money in (rolling) paper anytime soon.

In fact, we can turn to the same two guys for proof. Franco and Rogen recently appeared in a Rolling Stone cover story structured around the interviewers offering hits of what they called the “e-joint” to all interviewees at a public lunch place (Danny McBride and Seth Rogen puffed, James Franco and Jonah Hill passed). The piece concludes with Rogen telling the reporters how to easily get the vape pen past airport security and that he has one at home (although he literally runs off with it in the end). But when it comes to e-weed celebrity endorsements, Snoop Dogg/Lion takes the cake with his own line of G-Pen Herbal Vaporizers. He even gave one to Conan O’Brien on TV this past Christmas.

So someday, when we have to punish our future stoned teenagers, it might be because they’re toking, but not necessarily smoking. Until then, as the FDA debates the legalities of e-cigarettes, stay clear of that driver with the “nicotine” e-cig in his mouth and enjoy the rest of Uncle Sam’s semester abroad in Amsterdam.


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