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2016 was a year stalked by death—of musical legends, of athletes and astronauts, of whatever shred of decency our political system had left. Whatever way the world is heading, it seems like the wrong one. As time continues its unstoppable march, middle-American factory workers will be replaced by robots, and the eventually, so will the drivers of the cars they build. Machines will increasingly do our killing and social media algorithms will continue to separate us into ideological silos so that we grow further detached from our fellow man. Throughout the world, the response to the grind of progress has been, increasingly, to embrace politicians who preach straight-up racism. Also, the oceans are rising.
So it seems incredibly unimportant in the overall scheme of things, but after I got back into smoking weed a couple months ago I found out that weed technology has gotten really, really good. 2016 was a terrible year for everything, except for marijuana—this is absolutely the best time and place ever to smoke or consume weed.When I first smoked weed in middle school it was out of an aluminum can and I didn't even get high. For whatever reason I persisted until something eventually happened, and then became an extremely embarrassing suburban high-schooler who ostentatiously listened to a copy of Bob Marley's Legend that she got from Target. Later, I paid my coworker at a Chinese take-out place—a guy who would do beer funnels in between every delivery—something like $60 to bring me back a shitty $10 glass pipe that I held onto for years. Basically, for a long time, smoking weed was as unpleasant as it could be for me in terms of hardware.But smoking weed as an adult with disposal income is so great I'm kind of mad no one told me about it before. It's not news to anyone, I know—just writing this story makes me feel very, very old and out of touch, like a mom just getting into Game of Thrones—but in a year that has been so terribly, monstrously shitty isn't it OK to celebrate the little things? Especially when those little things can help you forgot the terrible big things?Now, I would be remiss in not acknowledging the fact that many of the advancements in weed consumption enrich white business owners and serve primarily (white) upper-class customers. In 2015, the number of low-level marijuana arrests in my home of New York City went down by a lot, though that trend didn't apply to minorities, who are arrested for drug offenses at shamefully disproportionate numbers.
But putting all that to the side for a sec, it's a golden age for pot. Weed is becoming legal in more and more places. In Denver, you can even smoke in bars. In fact, it's so easy to buy incredibly good weed that some people have started to prefer schwag, and delivery services have proliferated.The methods for smoking weed are also, I'm happy to report, completely terrific. Dabbing is cool if you like to treat getting high like a competition, but I've fallen in love with a portable vape called Summit, from the company Vapium. I was sent this in September without asking for it, presumably in the hopes that I'd write about it, and here I am writing about it, because it's served me well. The long-bodied thing is shaped like a Wiimote, lets you pop the bud right in the chamber, and was designed to withstand water and cold. Basically, it seemed perfect for people who wanted to get high and then go climb a mountain—a Venn diagram that I didn't think included me.(Someone gently explained to me three days ago that "summit" is a play on words involving getting "high." I have obviously killed too many brain cells by now.)But the Summit is also great for people who like to walk around getting high in public without any telltale smoke or smell. I went from smoking covertly in alleyways, to smoking confidently while walking down the street, to charging my vape in restaurants, to smoking it inside a Starbucks in a matter of weeks.Unfortunately, being gifted a vape is like being given an Xbox or a puppy: You feel the need to use your new toy, whether it's shelling out for dog food and vet visits or having Ubisoft siphon $70 from all of your paychecks. In my case, I dropped like $1,000 on weed before eventually losing my Summit at a taco restaurant co-owned by Michael Cera. :(But the good thing is that I was basically high through the entire end of the election season—and you can't put a price on that. The last quarter of this garbage year was objectively the worst, but it was the best for me personally, because it all kinda blended together. Happy 2017 everybody.Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.