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Doug Clark: A forum for dopey opinions

Doug Clark
Doug Clark


Tuesday, 5:50 p.m. – On my way to tonight’s big pot forum at the Spokane Convention Center. I know I’m headed in the right direction because I’m following a young guy who is so into weed that he has “Marijuana” festooned on the back of his bright blue nylon jacket.

5:51 – My bad. Closer inspection shows the jacket actually says “Mariners.” Though judging by the way the team plays year after year, it’s an honest mistake.

5:55 – Question: Since I’ve never been a pot guy, does attending this forum make me a leaves-dropper?

6:00 – What a crowd. You can’t drag five folks to a poetry reading. But give people the green light to yak about Mary Jane and half the town turns out.

6:01 – Did I mention that I haven’t seen so many ponytails since my daughter’s third birthday party?

6:02 – Tonight’s forum is sponsored by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which has a vital role to play since passage of I-502 made marijuana legal for recreational use and church potlucks.

It’s up to the liquor board to make citizens think their opinions actually count. Then the state can stick it to the public with every sort of fee and tax it can tag onto this new cannabis cash crop.

6:10 – The board’s public relations man reminds everyone that this pot forum is a no-smoking event. How hilarious is that?

6:20 – The canned music being pumped through the Convention Center sound system jumps from a crowd-appropriate “Free Bird” to a bouncy Dean Martin ditty. There’s a buzz kill for you.

6:25 – I have come too early, alas. The actual forum won’t take place for another half-hour.

6:26 – Zzzzzzz …

6:52 – Board member Chris Marr spies me from his place on the pot podium. “Always looking for the low-hanging fruit,” he snarks after wandering over to my seat to make some Brownie points.

6:53 – Chris and I go way back, although I haven’t really seen him since the night Republican Mike Baumgartner booted Marr’s butt out of the state Senate.

Lose an election. Gain a fat job on a state board. And the wheels of the bus go ’round and ’round.

7:05-7:19 – Liquor board members go over the rules and regs of Washington’s budding cannabis market. Who knew legalizing something called “wacky tobacky” could be so utterly boring?

7:20 – The “open forum” begins with Michael, who gets mass love by claiming a judge returned the marijuana seized from him in a raid. I hope Michael remembered to weigh his weed for judicial pilferage.

7:25 – Everyone jailed on marijuana-related crimes should be immediately released, demands Hank. Stoned naked burglars not included, I hope.

7:27 – Henry’s testimony is a potpourri that includes mentions of JFK, first responders and High Times. Translation: Duuude, where’s my forum?

7:37 – Several here want the ban on pot advertising strictly enforced. Bummer! The Super Bowl would be so much more entertaining with ganja commercials.

Instead of the Budweiser Clydesdales, you could have two stoners, Clyde and Dale, for Washington Bud.

7:38 – Is it just me, or do open forums always attract the closed-minded?

7:39 – Angel is worried that capitalism could cut the heart out of her cannabis candy biz. Angel’s house must be the place to go on Halloween.

7:40 – Jeremy invites everyone to come to Okanogan, which apparently produces the best weed ever. Hope Okanogan officials can get that on the tourism brochures in time for the summer rush.

7:44 – Kevin, using his electronic notebook like a teleprompter, tells us that legalizing marijuana makes us “social sculptors.” I don’t know what that means, but makes me proud as hell.

7:58 – “Don’t panic if it’s organic,” says Leonard.

“I do not like green eggs and ham,” says Dr. Seuss.

8:15 – Keith, a songwriter, asks the liquor board to “lose the word marijuana and use the word cannabis, please.” Either way, I say you can’t miss with sticky-icky.

8:21 – Ryan, a veteran of the bar business, says he’s “sick of drunks puking and fighting and trying to stab me.”

And I thought dealing with editors was rough trade.

8:24 – Time to leave. This isn’t over, but all this weed whining is starting to harsh my mellow.

Plus I don’t know if it’s from skipping dinner or close contact with some of the more musty-smelling attendees, but I definitely have a raging case of the munchies.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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