I REGRET MISSTATING STATE LAW. In a feature story this year called "Why Are Farming Counties in Eastern Washington Shutting Down Pot Farms?" I reported that state law makes "no mention of pot being or not being an agricultural product." In fact, state law clearly states that marijuana is not an agricultural product. I regret the error. And state law.
I REGRET TRUSTING CHELAN COUNTY COMMISSIONER DOUG ENGLAND. When I was out east reporting that story for The Stranger, I asked England what time the commission would meet to vote on a batch of new pot-farm regulations. The commission doesn't update its online calendar, and the only meeting notice I could find didn't list a time, only a date. I e-mailed England to ask, and he replied, "1:15."
I showed up just before 11 a.m., thinking I would get a feel for the Chelan County Board of Commissioners before the meeting, but instead of an empty hall, I was greeted by a crowd of people leaving. The meeting had started at 9 a.m., not at 1:15 p.m., and I ended up missing England's vote by 10 minutes.
Maybe he made an honest mistake, or maybe in the age of Republican animus toward the free press, he didn't want a Seattle newspaper documenting him punitively shutting down farmers in his own county. Either way, his e-mail didn't stop us from publishing how he voted, or me from obtaining the meeting's audio and hearing people yell "shame" while he voted to destroy the livelihood of dozens of family famers in his county.
I REGRET BURNING MY HAND WHILE DOING A DAB. It was a sunny afternoon in August, one of those days that seem like a hallucination now that we're in the depths of January. I exhaled a dab of Terpco's Tangie Peel rosin that tasted like the essence of citrus and orange. (I love Terpco's fruity dabs.) I was playing the Grateful Dead's "China Cat Sunflower" from their 1972 Veneta, Oregon, show. It felt like I was floating on a cloud with Jerry—and then I dropped my hot dab nail onto my hand and my world came crashing down. I put a cool rag on my hand right away, but that didn't prevent the burn from blistering. When I was at a family event later that week, I lied and said I'd burned myself cooking.
I REGRET NOT BRINGING MY CAMERA TO COLMAN POOL. In July, I was at the pool to investigate whether weed could make me a better swimmer. As I was drying off after the swim, the lifeguards started clearing the pool and pulling in the buoys separating each lap lane. The long strings of lap lanes slowly transformed from their rigid parallel positions to a trippy swirl. I reached for my camera. What better image for swimming stoned than lap lanes tangled in a beautiful and confused mess? This was the award-winning picture I was looking for! But then I remembered I had left my camera at home. Then the lifeguards finished the job and the image was gone.
I DON'T REGRET SAYING CRYSTALLINE LOOKS LIKE METH. A couple of months ago, I wrote a column with a headline that compared THCA Crystalline, a new crazy-potent concentrate, to meth. People on Instagram, which is the only source of internet for a certain type of lazy stoner, freaked out, and hundreds of people posted angry comments, including "The Stranger sucks again" and "this writer is a joke" and a "dipshit" for using "pot and crystal meth in the same sentence."
I regret nothing.
Here's the thing, stoner Instagram: I'm not the legal weed industry's publicist, I'm a journalist, and crystalline does not look like weed, it looks like methy drug crystals. It's also fascinating and amazing, and that's why I wrote a column about it that cited peer-reviewed science journals and quoted the guy who won a US patent for figuring out how to manufacture the stuff.
MY BIGGEST REGRET THIS YEAR IS NOT SMOKING MORE WEED. The world has felt like a fucked-up place recently, but the world is also the only thing we've got, and smoking pot is one way to feel more in the moment, regret less, and enjoy this ride on spaceship Earth.