What's that smell?
That acrid, smoky smell?
Almost like skunk. but not quite. a bit sweeter. sort of like the neighbour is burning his grass clippings.
Aha! That's it! Burning grass!
I smell burning grass.
It's wafting up into B.C. from across the border in Washington State, I think.
But it's not grass "clippings." It's "grass."
It's dried green bits of vegetative matter rolled up in little bits of paper and bringing an air of lassitude - along with adding that distinct odour to the air - to our neighbours to the south.
It's the "evil weed."
But it's not evil down there anymore.
On Tuesday a majority of voters in Washington and in Colorado jumped ahead of the curve.
They've succeeded in doing what Vancouver's mayors, past and present, have gotten together to say they would like to see done in their city, in their province, in their country.
They've done what B.C.'s former attorneys general have crossed political party lines to join in saying together.
They've voted to legalize grass.
And I'm definitely not talking about lawn clippings.
Grass - call it pot, ganja, weed, Mary Jane, hemp, or marijuana - is no longer illegal in those two states.
At least, that's what they think. They voted to legalize it, and you can bet your bottom dollar that there's already a lot of folks celebrating there, expecting that federal law won't bear down on them.
They're lighting up their joints, bongs, hookahs, corncob pipes, or whatever other form of ingestion that may be preferred from household to household.
And you can bet that a lot of the smoking isn't confined to the back room anymore.
And here's the thing: probably no one who didn't smoke grass before Tuesday's election results were tallied is smoking it now.
Except there may be a few new smokers whom the statistics indicate probably would have pulled their first toke today anyway.
Indeed, if the statisticians have got it right, there may well be slightly fewer grass burners in those two states a year from now than there are today.
More importantly, there will be a significant number of pot smokers who will still be smoking pot - instead of moving up to heroin or coke or meth - a year from now.
It's kind of sad that Americans (of all people!) have beat us to the punch on this one.
We have two major federal political parties that have declared that the war on drugs is a losing cause, and where marijuana is concerned, at any rate, it has been counterproductive. Both the federal NDP and Liberal parties have indicated that legalization - or at least decriminalization - of grass would be a positive step forward.
Our InSite injection centre has shown that we are better off with even hard drugs in a controlled situation than chasing the impossible dream of stamping them out altogether.
Study after study has shown that grass no worse, medically speaking, than the wine that you or I could legally ferment by the gallon in our own basements. Or beer.
I don't - and have no wish to - smoke grass, legally or not.
But I can't for the life of me understand why people who can legally brew up their own alcoholic beverages are not allowed to grow one or two pot plants in their backyard - and maybe put the seriously dangerous grow-operators out of business.