This Is How You Celebrate The Legalization Of Weed

by Lulu Chang

In a classic case of mistaken identity, an Oregon woman licked a reporter on live television after incorrectly identifying him as a popsicle dressed in a suit. At least, that is the only explanation that I can offer for the bizarre, yet strangely appropriate behavior of the unidentified woman who chose to lick KOIN 6 News' Tim Becker after he delivered news of Oregon's decision to legalize marijuana on November 4 from a celebratory party. But in the week following this landmark legislation, the big news hasn't been weed — it's been the lollipop incident.

Last Tuesday, the state of Oregon voted "yes" on Measure 91 by a solid 8 points, thereby legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. The state boasts a long, historic record of herbaceous acceptance, becoming the first state in the union to "reduce the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana to a fine" in 1973, and first allowing medical marijuana licenses all the way back in 1998. But with Measure 91, Oregon joins Colorado and Washington as states in which a medical license is no longer needed for the use of the drug. And to say that Oregonians were excited would be an understatement, as evidenced by the unmatchable reaction of the reporter-licking woman.

While Becker was clearly surprised by the unannounced lick (though I'm not sure announcing it would've made it any less surprising), the woman was surprisingly conspicuous in her approach. She saunters on screen, stares directly into the camera, and then conducts the "lick seen around the country," running her tongue along the back of Becker's neck.

Shockingly, Becker manages to keep his cool, uttering only a polite, "Excuse me," before continuing with his reporting. That, my friends, is true journalistic excellence. You don't let Freudian slips, nasty weather conditions, or a neck-licker deter you from delivering the news. I think Tim Becker deserves a considerable round of applause.

Keeping his sense of humor about him, Becker later tweeted about the incident, noting that he "Kinda got licked during a live shot." He also included the video of the entire ordeal, which has since been viewed 44,000 times, which is a bit disappointing considering that this is pure, unadulterated, can't-make-this-stuff-up gold.

While the likely explanation for the lollipop incident is that the ear or neck-licker was under the influence of the newly legalized drug, organizers of the celebration party from which Becker did his reporting noted that there was no marijuana on the premises, at least not that they provided. Willamette Week noted that Holocene, the Portland club that served as the sight of the victory party, "smelled of patchouli and whiskey, but not weed." Organizers also provided other plant-based refreshments and snacks of the non-cannabis variety, including "three kinds of hummus, fresh veggies and a Ranch dip dubbed 'Green Goddess.'"

At a similar celebration party in Washington DC, which also legalized the recreational use of marijuana through Initiative 71, the scene was similar, with no pot-smoking at the public venue itself. As Slate reported, the abstinence from gratuitous use may represent the "political maturation" of marijuana, and Initiative 71 leader Adam Eidinger told Washingtonian magazine, "We told everyone if you’re going to celebrate with cannabis, do it at home." Of course, he then followed that up with, "When I get home, I’m going to smoke a joint."

Theo Stroomer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Proponents of Oregon's Measure 91 were absolutely thrilled by the public's decision, with some going so far as to compare the ban on marijuana to the ban on gay marriage. Anthony Johnson spoke at the Holocene party, using rhetoric that sounded very reminiscent of marriage equality activism:

We have ended a painful, discriminatory, harmful policy. Our new policy is one with more justice, more revenue for our state and, most important, more freedom and more equality.

Peter Zuckerman, one of the managers of the legalization campaign, told Willamette Week, "I'm trying to be able to talk. It's over. It's won." Many supporters of the measure believe that the country will soon reach a tipping point when it comes to marijuana, with more and more states gradually accepting its legalization and slightly increased bipartisan support. After all, the two Senate candidates from Alaska seemed to disagree on everything except marijuana policy, so perhaps weed will be the issue that brings the parties together.

It would, at least, make economic sense, as projected tax revenues from the legalization of the drug are expected to increase between $17 and $40 million annually. Marijuana has created another gold rush of sorts, with some projecting that the weed industry could generate over $800 million by 2020 in Colorado and Washington alone. With the addition of Oregon and DC, this figure could surpass $1 billion. Of course, Oregon still has a few details to iron out with respect to its new weed policy, but if the lollipop incident is any indication, the state has just embarked upon a new chapter in its history.

Images: Tim Becker/YouTube; Getty Images (2)