(Seth McConnell photo, Denver Post file)
To cover issues related to legal recreational marijuana, The Denver Post created an online marijuana news and culture site, named The Cannabist by marijuana editor Ricardo Baca.
I was hired at the beginning to write the weekly marijuana advice column Ask The Cannabist. I answer reader questions about anything related to marijuana. I got the gig, I believe, because I had experience writing a marijuana advice column for The Hemp Connoisseur and I’ve been an advocate in the cannabis movement and been developing cannabis businesses since the mid-’90’s.
As a marijuana advice columnist, I am a reference librarian for cannabis. I search for facts and connect readers to vetted experts. The column is a vital method for passing along useful and pertinent information and creating understanding.
To a curious online audience, I describe the news and changing legal realities of cannabis. I primarily discuss current news, gather stats and data, cite law and track down credible information and professional opinions. I give historical context to the issue in question. Sometimes readers share a nostalgic experience and ask a fun question that takes me into cannabis culture and history.
I am fascinated with the questions and situations readers want to discuss relating to marijuana. Readers want to understand how the new reality impacts their life or how current times differs from what they already know. I get asked about: employment and careers, purchasing limits, strain and product recommendations, dosing guidelines, DUI’s and blood testing, investing and stocks, cannabis business development, first time growing, medical diagnosis and treatment options, appropriate locations for consumption, tenant rights, probation, employment drug testing, synthetic marijuana, and traveling with marijuana to name major topics of reader interest.
The reader questions reflect the concerns and relevant thoughts about current news. Answering questions is fairly immediate and the topics changed over the year. At the beginning of the year, lots of people wanted to know how much they could buy, where to go, and where to find information. A couple Denver area hospital visits attributed to use of synthetic marijuana yielded concerned “spice” questions. In the spring and summer, home grow questions were more prevalent. Tourists always need current advice for appropriate accommodations and shopping tips.
One of the earliest pieces of writing advice from Ricardo was the reminder The Cannabist is not a pro-marijuana publication. Facts need to be supported by reputable sources. As a result, my writing style is pretty factual and straight forward. Sometimes, I jest and joke, but it’s important the humor doesn’t detract from the credibility of the information. I wouldn’t want the validity of the information to be questioned because I told too many pot jokes. My expression of silliness and humor is crafting the reader names. My appreciation of syncopated syllables, alliteration, tongue twisters or homages to historical figures is expressed in the names I give the readers.
Here are my Top 10 links to memorable columns from 2014.
Know your rights during a police encounter. I consider this one of the most important things I have written.
How to calculate THC dosage in homemade marijuana foods. This column is very educational.
This is one of my favorite columns on vape pens versus pipes, baby boomer dance nights and education advice for college kids.
I don’t often give business advice, but this joint rolling question was a fun.
A THC beer question by “Chickenlooper” reminds me of a story about hemp beer and then President Clinton.
This column has an interesting array of topics, ice cream trucks, cannabis vocation schools, and investments.
Cannabis culture questions are not the most common questions I am asked, but they are the most enjoyable to answer. Here’s Q&A’s about traditional hash, 1970’s strain hunting, Amsterdam tourist memories
This 6 month summary piece, 100 Questions, is a combination of my columns and stats from reporter John Ingold.
This year end summary highlights the top 15 questions of 2014.
My sense of humor and consumer reporting skills come out on for a tour review of a Saturday marijuana limo tour.
if you have a question for Ask The Cannabist, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.