Word abuse should be illegal. That way, if someone said “irregardless” or something else nonsensical, real-life grammar police could come along and issue a citation while the rest of us watched and shook our heads slowly. But grammar police aren’t real, and believe it or not, the word “irregardless” has been added to most unabridged dictionaries simply because it’s been said enough times to become a real word; the definition in Webster’s is “regardless.”

And the idiocy doesn’t stop there: if you look closely enough, you can find “gourmet” foods in the gas station, or “artisanal” meals in the frozen foods aisle. I mean seriously, is a TV dinner actually “artisanal” if you have to microwave it? Does the raw cardboard packaging really mean that what’s inside is somehow better than anything else you find next to the frozen waffles? No. It’s just advertising, word-doctoring, and it’s insidious, when you think about it.

True, I work in sales and advertising, so it’s possible that I’ve gerrymandered semantics a time or two, but in the end, I’ve found that honesty really is the best policy—gas station “gourmet” food will get you sick, and then just a little bit, the word “gourmet” loses some of its meaning, which is the reason word abuse should be illegal in the first place.

It’s no better in the marijuana industry. There are plenty of dispensaries that throw around the word “organic” even though their products are anything but (since marijuana is federally illegal, it isn’t regulated by the FDA, so people use the word “organic” without oversight). But the worst case of word abuse in this industry is the misuse of the term “top shelf marijuana.” It’s frustrating, so please pay attention to this: marijuana cannot be “top-shelf marijuana” just because someone put it on the top shelf. It irks me to no end because at least once a day, someone will come in and ask why our top-shelf strains are costlier than the ones downtown.

I’m always kind to these customers, because after I thought about it for a while, I realized it wasn’t their fault—they’d been lied to thanks to all the false advertising in other Durango dispensaries, and if anything, they deserve the truth (literally, I have a T shirt that says “grammar police” on the front). So, I take my time with these misguided customers, and I tell them this:

At The Greenery, our top-shelf marijuana is on the top shelf because it’s the best cannabis on earth.

My boss would get uber pissed at me if I told you exactly how we operate our grow because that’s the kind of knowledge people pay us to learn, but I can tell you that we’re straight-up scientists: our growers run around and shoot lasers at our plants to make sure the canopy temperature is perfect; we drop particulate gasses on the fanleaves of our plants to help them breathe; we use light-emitting ceramic bulbs and engineered growing mediums and all sorts of super-secret stuff, but I’ve already said too much. My point here is that our buds really are Your Best Buds because there’s no shelf in Durango that’s higher than our top shelf.

Why? The other guys use hydroponics and nasty-ass greenhouse grows just so they can pump out as much mid-range pot as they can. The other guys don’t take their time when they’re trimming or curing. The other guys take subpar pot, slap a “top shelf” label on it, and then piss me off because like I said, word abuse should be illegal. Yes, you’ll pay more for true top-shelf cannabis, but that’s how life works. Good beer costs more than the stuff with a blue ribbon on the front, good food costs more than the frozen stuff, and good marijuana costs more than the pesticide-sprayed stuff that’s sold elsewhere in this town. I’m sure that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

So come see us at our Durango dispensary on 208 Parker Avenue and talk to one of our budtenders. We’ll take our time and show you the difference between our “top shelf” and all the others. We’ll let you smell the difference between ours and theirs, and once you smoke it and taste the terpene-rich awesomeness, the term “top shelf marijuana” will start to mean something again.

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