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Pot Shots: Stoners Celebrate ‘420 of Summer’

In Culture
The ‘420 of summer’ is all about dabbing. Photo by Roxana Gonzalez, via Shutterstock

The ‘420 of summer’ is all about dabbing. Photo by Roxana Gonzalez, via Shutterstock

Stoners revelled again last week in their freedom to light up with a post-Fourth of July holiday dedicated to getting high. Also called “the 420 of summer,” 710 is the counterpart to the classic marijuana holiday known as 420, but is instead celebrated, as you’d imagine, on July 10.

Although another pot fiesta seems redundant, 710 isn’t about celebrating the actual marijuana plant. It’s a day devoted to dabbing, a newer way to smoke cannabis concentrates—like butane hash oil—and get ridiculously blazed (hence the name 710, which spells “oil” upside down).

But instead of sucking up vapor from an electric stovetop with a plastic straw like hot-knifing in the old days, dabbing involves more sophisticated equipment, like special bong attachments and other accessories to help users take massive hits of wax, shatter, budder or butane hash oil that contain up to 90 percent THC. There’s been an explosion over the past decade in new products stemming from the latest creative way to get baked.

“It’s got its own kind of culture that blends with it,” says Brendan Perry, founder of Dabblicious, a concentrates label sold in some San Jose dispensaries. Dabbing first took off on the West Coast when it developed a niche following at glass blowing exhibits.

“Up to 2009, 2010, the primary focus was glass, primarily flower-based glass” marijuana smoking pipes, Perry says. “That was when the glass scene shifted, because the oil scene really started to flourish.”

While 420 bloomed from an underground subculture that historically tried to stay on the downlow, 710 was born sometime around 2010 on the very public internet. The term 710 was first used on social media and eventually embraced by the hip-hop community. Dabbing got a bad rap in its early days thanks to some controversial production techniques. Newer, safer refining processes have made dabbing hot in the Bay Area these days.

“Flowers are definitely the most popular and in demand, but second to that are concentrates,” Marc Matulich, founder of Airfield Supply Company, says.

Dabbing can be intense even for canna-sseurs. Complicated dabbing paraphernalia like blow torches and carb caps, plus dealing with scorching metal surfaces, will likely always give old-fashioned bud the top spot in any stash box.

“What the general population really wants is just a joint,” Perry says. “Extracts will always be … something to enjoy, but I don’t think it’ll ever get as big as flowers.”

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