So how exactly did Maureen Dowd end up sitting across from country legend Willie Nelson on his tour bus?
“The man is the patron saint of pot, after all, and I’m the poster girl for bad pot trips,” Dowd wrote in her most recent New York Times column, “Two Redheaded Strangers.” “It seemed like a match made in hash heaven.”
Turns out Nelson told Rolling Stone that he’d read Dowd’s column on getting waaaaay too high on legal marijuana-infused edibles in Colorado — “Maybe she’ll read the label now!” he laughed — and that she was welcome to get stoned on his bus anytime.
Nelson’s advice to Dowd — who called the singer her “sensei” in the column — on any future forays into cannabis: “The same thing that happened to you happened to me one or two times when I was not aware of how much strength was in whatever I was eating. One time, I ate a bunch of cookies that, I knew they were laced but I didn’t worry about it. I just wanted to see what it would do, and I overdid it, naturally, and I was laying there, and it felt like the flesh was falling off my bones.
“Honestly, I don’t do edibles. I’d rather do it the old-fashioned way, because I don’t enjoy the high that the body gets. Although I realize there’s a lot of other people who have to have it that way, like the children that they’re bringing to Colorado right now for medical treatments. Those kids can’t smoke. So for those people, God bless ’em, we’re for it.”
It’s a breezy, light-hearted column from Dowd, who pokes fun at herself as much as she has fun with Nelson’s reputation. She acknowledges the new educational campaign that was recently launched via a Denver billboard that mocks Dowd’s bad trip with a photo of a red-headed woman slumped over in a hotel room and the slogan: “Don’t let a candy bar ruin your vacation. With edibles, start low and go slow.”
“I love the billboard,” she told The Daily Beast. “I’m going to make it my Christmas card.”
The only peculiar inclusion in Dowd’s latest column comes when she, again, blames the label on the edible she purchased in Colorado: “I also pointed out that the labels last winter did not feature the information that would have saved me from my night of dread,” she wrote.
It’s only a peculiar statement because the state organization that regulates marijuana in Colorado has already said that Dowd’s recreational edible was marked not only with its total THC content but also the suggested serving size. As Denver Post editorial page editor Vincent Carroll reported in June, right after Dowd’s original column:
Colorado law requires edible marijuana products manufactured for retail sale to feature the total amount of THC in milligrams. Meanwhile, the labels also contain this advisement: “The standardized serving size for this product includes no more than 10 mg of Active THC.”
These rules have been in place since the first day of retail sales in January, according to a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees marijuana regulation.
So on one hand you have the regulating agency charged with marijuana in Colorado saying all recreational edibles have been labeled properly and Dowd on the other saying her edible lacked those helpful directions.
So where’s the disconnect?
We emailed Dowd on Sunday afternoon and heard back from the columnist within an hour.
“I think the label did have the THC amount,” Dowd told The Cannabist. “But we’re talking about a powerful drug here. I needed more guidance. There’s far more explanation on the back of an Advil bottle. The candy bar didn’t have the cautions I needed, which included how much longer it takes for the edibles to kick in, how much more intense they are, especially for neophytes, and that the demarcated pieces of the candy bar were not necessarily the serving size.”