I spent a lot of my early life in the Seattle area. Before moving to Alaska in 1973, I would often get my coffee beans at a small shop across from the Pike Street Market in downtown Seattle – the quaint, original Starbucks store. I bought my first hand-crank coffee grinder there.
My last job in Seattle was as crane operator and odd-job boy at Main Fish Company, on Pier 60. The Market, across Alaskan Way from the dock, was slated for probable demolition. With the Boeing SST cancelled and orders for the new 747 stymied by a slow international economy, a prominent bumper sticker in the parking lots below the Alaskan Way Viaduct (now being demolished – 40 years later) read “Will The Last Person Leaving Seattle Turn Out the Lights!”
Before leaving for Alaska, one friend tried to talk me into partnering on a couple of entrepreneurial projects: a mobile coffee stand with espresso machine, and a very small brewery. I passed. He became rich.
Later, in Alaska, I did make my own beer for years, sometimes winning awards at fairs or winter celebration events. And, over the years, I watched the Seattle area become one of the main centers of small businesses brewing, bottling and marketing an ever widening array of microbrew products.
Ms. ET an I are down from Alaska to the Seattle area, spending our first Christmas here since 1984, with my 94-year-old mom, and family.
Last Monday, near Indianola, Washington, I smoked my first legal marijuana ever, with Mike Sullivan, a longtime friend with whom I brewed beer in Whittier, Alaska, back in the 1970s and 1980s. We talked about the growth of microbreweries we had watched from infancy. Red Hook started in an abandoned streetcar shop in the backwater Fremont district, along the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and kiddy-corner from my closest friend’s Fremont Fine Arts Foundry. Red Hook grew to be huge, and sold out to Miller.
Mike and I discussed the possibility of a day when marijuana products other than smokable herb might be successfully marketed. Brownies easily come to mind. I suggested dessert wine, like late harvest merlot from the Columbia River basin, infused with concentrated marijuana essence.
For sure there are other ways to adapt marijuana so that its THC can be consumed without having to fill one’s lungs with smoke. From the look of it, neither Washington’s nor Colorado’s new laws allow for the legal marketing of my imagined wine, or other possibly innovative approaches toward making THC consumption healthier than inhalation. How they relate to turning your bud into your cake and eating it, is less clear.
The Seattle area is representative of small businesses that started out in a garage (Microsoft), growing in size and viability. Starbucks, Red Hook, and thousands of other too. Hopefully, the marijuana marketing here and in the Rockies will rely almost exclusively on small businesses that will help sustainably grow green local economies.
What are your thoughts on legal non-smokable THC products in the post-prohibition states?
Do you have any recipes other than standard Alice B. Toklas?