Postcard from Vancouver

Hey, man, where was this place back in the ’60s college days when we needed it?

A marijuana-friendly cafe right in the heart of downtown Vancouver? You must be high.

Actually, no. A visit to [Cannabis Culture Headquarters] confirmed what we had been hearing – such a place does exist.

It’s owned by a guy named Marc Emery, who was busted for selling marijuana seeds years ago and is now turning his enterprise into a political cause.

Alysha, who works behind the counter, tells me exactly what’s going on as the aroma of grass wafts through the air.

“Pot is still not legal in Vancouver,” she explains, “but if you come here to smoke and aren’t too out in the open about it, the police won’t give you a hard time.”

Say, was that Tommy Chong who just walked by?

Anyway, Alysha says business during the Winter Olympics is brisk. Lots of out of town traffic, some from as far away as Europe. She’s quick to point out that marijuana isn’t sold on the premises, not even the medical variety like they do in California, but this is a popular meeting place for stoners.

Wow, that looks like Woody Harrelson sitting over there by the window.

“It’s an ongoing debate,” says Alysha about attempts to get marijuana legalized in Vancouver. “It’s legal now in California and I would have thought we were going to be first. But that’s the way it is with everything – the United States gets it first and we just follow.”

Outside the cafe, two college kids stroll by smoking joints as if they were filled with tobacco. The city of Vancouver is obviously pretty progressive if this sort of behavior is tolerated.

Gosh, I could swear that was Robert Downey Jr. just coming out of the bathroom.

In the shop next to the cafe, one can buy everything from rolling papers to water pipes to vaporizers.

Olympic tourists passing by point and giggle at the signs in the window (especially the Canadian flag with the maple leaf replaced by a cannabis one) promoting the enterprise.

But only young people appear to be willing to go inside, where there is a full menu of food (wasn’t it George Carlin who once said never smoke weed before grocery shopping, or risk spending $500?).

Well, it’s time to say goodbye before the second-hand smoke gets to me.

You know what? I think I just saw Michael Phelps going in on my way out.

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