The stoned housewives of Washington, DC

Zoe Alsop in The Economist:

Cannabis_Web-headerOne Wednesday morning this autumn, an entrepreneur in her mid-40s found herself alone in her house in a suburb just outside Washington, DC. Her children were at school. Her husband was away on government work. The sun was beautiful, the air crisp and it seemed the perfect day to try the marijuana-infused cookies that came inside a backpack she had purchased outside a metro stop downtown. The entrepreneur, we’ll call her Bea, had used marijuana in her early 20s, but nearly two decades as a government employee had left her ill-acquainted with the edible products of today. She ate one cookie, which, according to a postcard included in the backpack, contained 75mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic substance in cannabis. What came next was different from the mild, goofy high she remembered. Within an hour she was overwhelmed, curling into a foetal position in her bed, wishing desperately that she had not eaten the whole cookie. The hours ticked by and she realised, with horror, that her children would return from school to find their athletic, sociable mother high as a kite. “I couldn’t string two sentences together,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I could stand up and make dinner.”

Bea was hardly alone. The company she bought her knapsack from, Pink Fox, was so busy the Monday afternoon she made her purchase that they were turning away customers. In this seemingly buttoned-up capital city, backdrop to a conservative-controlled government famous for its embrace of heartland values, everyone seemed to be getting stoned. Recreational marijuana has been legal in Washington since 2015, when the government passed Proposition 71, a law which allows an adult to keep as many as three mature plants at home and to carry up to two ounces with them in public. The law has had two big effects. First it dramatically reduced marijuana-related arrests, which fell from 1,840 in 2014 to just 32 in 2015. Second it has put weed back into the hands of the straight-laced wonks and political operatives who have long eschewed it for the sake of their careers.

More here.