For cannabis advocates, this year was the busiest, most consequential 4/20 in recent memory, especially with recreational cannabis sales happening the very next day. As the dust settles on NJ’s recreational pot milestone, here are a few nuggets of cannabis wisdom that I wish I learned earlier.
Edibles and Pets
A few years ago my friend Dennis hosted a lavish Thanksgiving dinner in Washington DC. I wanted to be extra so I brought mashed potatoes, bourbon pecan pie, and 12 cannabis-infused cookies for anyone eager to partake.
But sometime during the celebration, Dennis’ dog Sophie found my stash and gobbled up all the cookies left unclaimed by humans, probably 3 or 4 in all. This incident remains the biggest pot faux pas of my entire cannabis career.
I’m a huge stoner. Half a cookie is my outer limit and so the idea of a medium-sized dog consuming several at once is horrifying. Four cookies was enough weed for the entire Grateful Dead tribute band we saw later that night, after the feast. That’s probably when Sophie found the cookies, stashed in a ziplock and tucked safely (or so I thought) in my overnight bag.
That night I learned the hard way that, no matter how well you hide something from the kids, dogs can smell those cookies and they will find them and they will eat them.
After 24 hours, Sophie was fine. But that’s a long time to fret about a pet’s well-being. And even though Dennis was totally cool about the whole thing, this incident could have ruined our friendship.
Edibles are no joke! My guilt-propelled advice: stash your edibles in Tupperware, high up and out of reach, ideally somewhere you’d need a step ladder to access.
Avoid Black Market Vapes
NJ’s illegal cannabis marketplace is a godsend to anyone who can’t afford overpriced dispensary weed. I have a legacy dealer who’s reliable and trustworthy. I can trace each puff back back to the seed. And since it’s half the price of dispensary weed, I’ll keep smoking black market cannabis for the time being.
But when it comes to vaping, I learned the hard way to stick with the ol’ neighborhood dispensary, especially if partaking for medical reasons. I still visit the dispensary for vape stuff because it’s hard to trace bootleg cartridges back to the source.
A (very bad) case of bronchitis back in 2019 demonstrated that NJ’s heavily regulated model remains the best bet for safety’s sake, at least when it come to vape carts. You’ll pay more, $60 per cartridge (+ tax) at Curaleaf in Bellmawr, but the sticker shock’s worth it for safety and peace of mind.
Pot shop edibles are expensive! My advise: make your own edibles with pot butter from the freezer! (see pic)
I make pot brownies by adding homemade pot butter to a box mix. (Trader Joe’s Brownie Truffle mix is my fave for $2.79.)
Making pot butter is easy: Take a 1/4 ounce of pot and bake it low and slow in a 250°F degree oven for 35 minutes. This activates your pot! If you skip this step you won’t get high! Next, mix two sticks of butter (+ a cup of water) in a sauce pan. When the butter’s all melted, toss in your activated weed and give it a little stir. Simmer on low for 2 hours or so. Drain the whole concoction through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove the pot. Refrigerate.
Any water left over? Remove it when the butter solidifies.
Not using your cannabutter right away? Toss it in the freezer!
Here’s a video tutorial if you need some visual assurance before you begin.
Making your own pot butter means 1) you save money by avoiding dispensary edibles and 2) you’re in control of the recipe so if you’re gluten-free (or low-carb) you can have it your way. This recipe also works with coconut oil too, so if you’re vegan we’ve got you covered.
Finally, here’s a list of NJ pot shops, alphabetically by county, selling recreational cannabis as of today, 4/25: