Famous Pot Critic Talks About His First Year On The Job


Photo: WBAL
Marijuana critic William Breathes at work

‚ÄčIt’s been a year now since Denver Westword rolled up, I mean rolled out its Mile Highs and Lows dispensary reviews. The process of a newspaper looking for and hiring a marijuana critic attracted lots of attention from the press last year, and rightly so, as it is yet another sign of the generational shift in attitudes toward the weed that seem to be all around us these days.

Pot critic William Breathes came to national prominence in the flurry of coverage, including reports on CNN and BBC, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. 
Cannabis connoisseurship has of course existed as long as marijuana consumers have known the difference between schwag and dank. But actually getting paid to be a pot critic is a relatively new development.

The art form reached one (very) high point in the mid to late 1970s with the reefer ruminations of “R,” the High Times dope connoisseur. Interestingly, “R” moved on from pot to more mainstream subjects and established an enviable career with his given name under which he started his career at the Village VoiceRon Rosenbaum.
Meanwhile, back in the 21st Century, Breathes looks back on a year of highs and lows in a most entertaining way in Thursday’s Westword online, and Toke of the Town readers are sure to enjoy it.
“Looking back at our first reviews, it’s easy to see that neither of us had a clue as to exactly what we were doing,” Breathes writes. “Having only been to a dozen or so dispensaries before doing my review of Walking Raven, I didn’t have much to compare it with.”
But like almost anything worthwhile, Breathes’ reviews have grown and evolved, and he now both focuses more on the medicine and has developed a writing “voice” which very effectively communicates his indica insights and sativa sagaciousness.