After I got my medical card in 2020, I was flying high (yep, I said it), sure that it bestowed upon me magical powers that included being able to cut the long-ass line at my chosen dispensary. Not so fast, mama; you gotta wait like everyone else. Which turned out to be delightful, because the best people-watching I’ve experienced during COVID has been in the dispensary line.
Giggly young couples in matching markered jeans stand alongside a gentleman who I suspect still calls joints “jazz cigarettes,” and a woman toting a manual scooter, giant shopping bags, and a penchant for sharing her whole life story with the person checking IDs. I’ve built sprawling imaginary narratives about my linemates, trying to guess what they’ve bought and how long they’ve been coming here. The staff also don’t disappoint, from the bored but alert guards outside to the fast-moving attendants inside.
The experience in line also makes me reflect on the impact of legalization on both the public perception of cannabis and my personal willingness to dabble in it. Something that was once underground—and that felt off-limits to me—now has me and dozens of others waiting out in the open on a busy street in a bustling neighborhood.
The line is long but we are patient and unbothered, secure in the knowledge that on the other side of this wait is cannabis-infused calm. My medical card is magic after all.
Best of Chicago 2021 is
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Refer to the closed final ballot to see all the categories and finalists that were voted on.