Americans have a tendency to take things too far. It's true. That's why Christmas decorations have begun to infiltrate department stores before their Halloween counterparts are off the shelves. It's why large swaths of rainforest have been obliterated so we can have cheap hamburgers. (One might argue that it's also why we have military bases around the world but that would be the topic of another column.) It's certainly why we sell 64-ounce beverages from drive-through windows and have relegated Thanksgiving — a day symbolizing family, sharing and gratitude — into little more than a hefty snack to fuel up before we go hit up those Black Friday sales, which now somehow begin before Friday. Yes, we take things too far.
And nowhere is that more evident than with the richest among us, that 1 percent who control more than 90 percent of the wealth in this country, those whose habits of conspicuous consumption fill trashy magazines and reality television shows, setting the standards and tastes for the rest of us. They take things way too far, as it turns out.
As cannabis moves from black market to boardrooms throughout the country, rapidly barreling from counterculture to mainstream, it perhaps shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that a steady supply of desperate-to-be-hip, cannabis-themed luxury products are now entering the market place, targeted to the tastes of the very richest among us. Consider for a moment that Forbes Magazine, a publication that in part exists to inform the moneyed elite, just released a cannabis gift guide. Seriously. Let's peruse, shall we?
First up, designer Daniela Villegas and Beboe teamed up to create an 18-karat rose gold vaporizer necklace "embellished with precious stones" and pearls. Available by special order only, it sells at the bargain price of $40,000.
Keep reading and we find that Beverly Hills jeweler Jacquie Aiche, who apparently has a thing for bedazzling classic Rolexes, is now offering a vintage, stainless steel Rolex with a 10-diamond baguette emblazoned with an emerald green cannabis leaf in the middle. Snag one of these for that weed puffing style icon in your life for just $9,000. (Forbes is also highlighting some diamond encrusted cannabis leaf pearl earrings that retail for a cool $7,000.)
If you're suffering sticker shock right about now, fret not: Forbes has a few suggestions for those among us balling on a budget, too. Take for example the kimono cut from pot leaf fabric that's on offer for just $970 or the menorah bubbler, which comes with eight bowls in addition to that main down stem in honor of the Festival of Lights, for $399.
Why are we even writing about this, you'd be fair to ask. Because it's gross. If you happen to be one of the few in the world who can put something valued at more than Humboldt County's median annual household income around your neck, don't. It's tacky, whether it helps you get high or not. And for the rest of us, recognize this stuff for what it is — evidence of the worst excesses of our culture — and take a lesson from that.
Whether shopping for that cannabis connoisseur in your life or anyone else this holiday season, focus on experiences rather than bling. Buy that dear friend some of Humboldt County's sun-grown finest and a ticket to a local show. Pick up a pre-roll and some picnic fixings and plan a special day. Or if you really want to splurge, explore a bud and breakfast or research a farm tour.
For decades, cannabis culture was inherently counterculture because it couldn't be mainstreamed, packaged and advertised. It has always been about experiences — usually just getting high and doing stuff — rather than things. Just because we've come to a point where governments and voters are starting to realize prohibition's folly, where the Walmarts, Coca-Colas and upper crust designers of the world are circling like vultures, doesn't mean cannabis has to become just another yule log on the conspicuous consumption fire.
Thadeus Greenson is the Journal's news editor. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.