Best Collective Pipe Dream

Marijuana may still be just as illegal under federal law as are heroin and hunting bald eagles, but you wouldn't know that if you happened to drop by the Anaheim Convention Center on Aug. 28. There, several dozen exhibitors hawked everything from hemp T-shirts and Proto Pipes to decidedly less-retro demonstrations of the latest hydroponic growing equipment, some of which looked like a cross between a Jacuzzi and a tanning chamber. Dreadlocked white guys in tie-dye and cute “booth babes” dressed in nurses' uniforms marked with the ubiquitous green cross of the medical-marijuana movement passed out cannabis collective sign-up forms and coupons for doctors' referrals and discounts on “medicine.” A speaker's forum allowed cannabis-club directors to trade opinions on Proposition 19, the upcoming voter's referendum that would allow all adults in California to possess up to an ounce of weed for recreational purposes, and lawyers gave out free legal advice and offered analyses of the latest court decisions. Not a trace of the green stuff could be smelled anywhere, yet an aura of stoned optimism hung heavy over the crowd. Then again, the sheer fact that such a gathering can actually take place in Orange County in this day and age speaks volumes about just how possible it may be that someday soon, ganja will take its rightful place as California's No. 1—and totally legit—cash crop.

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