“Stoners are a very creative lot,” Mr. Cusick added.
They are also resourceful. As medical marijuana has gained public support (it is now legal in 16 states and Washington) the increasingly popular vaporizer may soon emerge as a cultural alternative to the bong or hand-blown glass pipe.
“Our vaporizer sales have jumped over 30% each year for the last four years,” said Elijah Kliger, owner of the SDR Shop, an online head shop based in Brooklyn. His site currently stocks seven models, from $37.49 to $62.49, which the site states are “sold with the express intent to be used with legal herbs and oils for aromatherapy purposes.” The sale of vaporizers explicitly for marijuana remains illegal under federal law, even in states where medicinal marijuana is legal. For this reason, vaporizers are marketed as an aromatherapy device, to be used with household herbs like lavender and eucalyptus.
That would explain how they are sold in the open. Salman Shahid, a clerk at Shisha International, a West Village tobacco shop, said he stocks 22 types of vaporizers, up from 5 in 2007.
Besides the novelty, advocates say that using vaporizers is healthier than inhaling smoke. “Vaporized marijuana is virtually free of whatever toxic properties come with burning the plant,” said Dr. Lester Grinspoon, an associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
The benefits of vaporization are not limited to health, added Dr. Grinspoon, who said that he owns a high-tech vaporizer called a Volcano, about $525. “Vaporizers use an internal heat source, so you conserve more of your grass,” he said.
Meanwhile, others are trying to rebrand vaporizers as luxury products. Oglesby and Butler Limited, an Irish company better known for butane-powered tools, has a new portable vaporizer called the Wispr . Shaped like a walkie-talkie, it comes in pastel colors including pistachio green and costs $270. “We wanted to destigmatize it, and turn it into a covetable mass-market design object,” said Rudi O’Meara, the creative director at Sequitur Creative, a San Francisco-based company that designed it.
5 October, 2011
The New York Times