Disclosure: Proceeds from writing this piece are going directly to Pennywise tickets for the Ogden in October.
Yes, I love punk. From the classic British punk rock of the Sex Pistols and The Clash and late ’80s hardcore like Minor Threat and Black Flag to the modern punk of the first years of the 21st century, I love it all.
And I love Pennywise above all other punk. My favorite album is 1995’s “About Time” — raw, unaccepting and unforgiving. Even though it predates my love for punk by nearly a decade, it supercedes even the later albums that made me love punk. Apart from a devotion to the band’s anthems, “Bro Hymn” and “Fuck Authority,” my first love for the band came during its contribution to the resurgence of politically-charged punk rock recorded during the George W. Bush presidency — the “From the Ashes” album, released in 2003 along with NOFX’s “The War on Errorism” and Anti-Flag’s “The Terror State.”
There’s no doubt that I’ll be there when Pennywise returns to the Ogden Theatre on East Colfax this October.
I’ve been able to see the band play live several times in Denver, and have added to my Pennywise-themed experiences by smoking and dabbing the similarly named high-CBD strain.
Pennywise by the numbers: $10/gram at The Kings of Canna at 1465 NE Prescott St., Suite C, Alberta Arts District (Portland)
I was on the way to Oregon with my buddy, Eli, for the Indo Expo (a cannabis industry trade show). Other than driving through late at night on the way to Yakima, Wash., it was my first time in Portland. So I was definitely excited that recreational sales began last October (at least provisionally through existing medical marijuana shops).
My high school buddy (now living in Portland) was at work, but recommended a recreational shop a couple doors down from his house.
Having known him for more than 10 years, I expected the shop to be mediocre, something he picked based on convenience.
Oh, how wrong I was.
The waiting room at The Kings of Canna was OK — pretty standard.
When they let us into the back room to shop, I was taken aback. The shop was beautiful and looked more like a place I would buy nice earrings than weed.
The display cases made a large U-shaped design that jutted out into the middle of the room, with a large chalkboard menu behind it. The budtender told me that Kings of Canna buys all of its flower from cultivators. So I asked to see about 10 different types of flower from several different producers. Most of the weed was very frosty and smelled great, so it was tough to choose. Luckily, I had planned on buying several different strains, making the decision less burdensome.
I eventually settled on a gram each of four different “P” strains — Pennywise, Pink Champagne, Platinum Animal Cookies, and Purple Tangie.
A star turn for pot
Weed news and interviews: Get podcasts of The Cannabist Show.
The next morning, we decided to smoke a joint before heading out for the expo. I know most recreational consumers would shy away from a label that reads “6.38% THC/6.97% CBD,” but I figured it would make a mellow morning smoke before the show.
The strain, grown by Self Made Farms, is a cross of the CBD-rich Harlequin and Jack the Ripper, a strong, sticky strain bred by TGA Subcool Seeds (as was Pennywise). The cross results in nearly a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio, making it moderately psychoactive and unusual in itself, as THC content typically exceeds 15 percent for most strains in the retail market.
When I emptied the jar, the most prominent nug took up more than half of the package. It was tight and dense with dark green leaves, blanketed in a layer of deep, pumpkin-orange hairs. The trim work on one side was very tight, while the other side had a few straggling leaves, possibly the result of a trimming machine. It had a very dull, woody scent with an undertone of pine.
I broke up the two smaller nugs and rolled a small joint. My fingers were more dusty than sticky when I rolled it up. Thankfully, Eli grabbed me a cup of coffee, so I was having my favorite breakfast, black coffee and a joint — the hippie breakfast.
When I took a dry hit, the piney taste was much more prominent than the wood that dominated the smell. I lit it up and took a hit. It was almost exactly like the dry hit and left the tip of my tongue tingly and numb.
After we finished smoking, we grabbed what we would need for the show and headed down to catch an Uber. Even though the ride was barely a mile, we were chatty and had a good conversation with the driver about cannabis, however brief.
We got to the Portland Expo Center and were able to find a staffer we knew so we didn’t have to wait in line. Once we got in, I wasted no time to start networking. I had barely made it halfway around the booths when Eli summoned me over to speak on “The Russ Belville Show,” a podcast on Cannabis Radio.com. I had no issue putting my thoughts together and having a conversation with Radical Russ about several different topics.
Even though the label said indica, I felt very mentally clear. But, unlike sativas, Pennywise wasn’t accompanied by a pounding heart. It was a pleasant way to start the day. I might even consider replacing my regular morning Durban Poison with Pennywise; as a pairing with coffee it’s less racy, and makes me feel less like a crackhead.
As a Pennywise fan, I am biased toward the assumption that the strain was named for the band, both California staples in their respective scenes. It’s just hard to believe such a mellow high could be a reference to the creepy clown from Stephen King’s “It,” as Leafly claims. But whatever floats your boat, I guess.