Stoners used to be associated, sometimes accurately, with a particular image. They hung out in hazy basements in California, wore baggy clothes, spent their days watching dumb movies, and rolled joints with marijuana and tobacco. Occasionally, they used vaporizers, devices that could be as large as a flowerpot, to get high. While in use, the vaporizers made a humming sound and left behind an unmistakable skunky odor.
Now, though, many stoners use vaporizers that look as though they were designed in Cupertino. There are “vapes” that are small enough to fit in your pocket and that look more like mobile phones than vases. They emit discreetly scented plumes. The new wave of refined products—which can be used for smoking both tobacco and pot—seems tied to what many have described as society’s growing acceptance of marijuana: if enjoying cannabis is no longer a fringe activity, then it only makes sense for the means through which we consume it to evolve, too.