Jake Browne has had an interesting year. On Jan. 1, 2014, the state of Colorado, where Jake makes a living as a comedian and writer, officially legalized marijuana, making it legal for any adult older than 21 years of age to purchase, possess and consume marijuana. Jake found himself, as a staff writer for The Denver Post's marijuana-themed website The Cannabist, at the nexus of one of the most exciting and dynamic new industries in modern times. He wrote his first marijuana review, on the sativa strain "Girl Scout Cookies" just a couple of weeks after the first legal sales were made and he hasn't slowed down since, writing close to 30 reviews as of the publishing of this interview.
Jake was the focus of a recent positive New York Times profile that praised him as a "supertaster," or someone who is able to denote and define a far more complex mix of flavor characteristics than the average person. Think the people who talk about wines in terms of nutmeg and coriander, substitute in finely manicured marijuana for the vino, and you get Jake Browne.
Besides his work in cannabis journalism, Jake is one of the founders of the monthly subscription service HempBox and Whiskey & Cigarettes, a podcast about podcasting (I need to get Jake on an episode of my podcast Marijuana Today). He also recently filmed a pilot for a new marijuana-themed TV show.
Jake was kind enough to take some time to answer a few of our questions. Enjoy!
MNN: Best job ever?
Jake Browne: The hours are great and I always pass the drug tests. Other than that, it's similar to a lot of writing gigs: Create great content and do it on a deadline. I'm also lucky to have two amazing editors in Ricardo Baca and Aleta Labak that really challenge me to constantly improve.
How has your life changed (if at all) since your big profile in the NYT?
I've had a few more media opportunities, but my day-to-day is exactly the same. It's similar to when I was in a CNBC profile on legalization earlier in the year. Everyone is interested and then the phone stops ringing and you're back to work.
What's the most exciting thing about marijuana right now?
Seeing the culture around marijuana change so drastically. You have people like Jane West and Edible Events doing really classy events that include marijuana that couldn't have existed five years ago. People are coming out of the closet.
Has there been a best strain for you? One strain to rule them all — the best you've had?
As I get older, I tend to use marijuana more to fit the situation as opposed to, "Which one gets me the highest?" If I'm having trouble getting words on the page, I'll smoke a little Super Lemon Haze to kick-start me. If I can't get to sleep, some Tahoe OG does the trick. If anyone thinks there's a "best strain," they haven't smoked enough.
Who else is doing what you're doing? Who do you admire most in your line of work?
One of the best out there is "William Breathes" at Denver Westword, a pen name since he also reviews the shops. His work is great and he's legitimately funny guy who I don't get to see enough because he's a new dad. He's also a handsome devil, so it's a shame he has to blur his face when he does interviews.
Legal marijuana plants growing in Colorado. (Photo: Brett Levin/flickr)
How is middle America going to consume marijuana? How do you see the future of marijuana consumption playing out over the next decade or so in terms of edibles, vaping and smoking. Will people even smoke as legalization rolls out to the other states?
Vaping is the hot new thing, but nothing compares to smoking. I'm terrible at predictions — I always finish last in my NCAA pool — but you're starting to see more interest on the coasts. That usually bodes well for the so-called "fly over states" and legalization there. I do expect the edibles market to change dramatically. People are very concerned over strength and what they look like.
(Shea's note: I invited Jake to come up with and answer his own question here)
What's the best name for a dispensary?
The Smithstonian. I don't think it still exists, but hopefully it has its spot in a museum someday.
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