Photographers' Blog

High times in Washington

Olympia, Washington

By Nick Adams

I had been running all over Seattle for eight hours photographing same-sex weddings that had begun at midnight when I got a call about Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill in Olympia. It has been a whirlwind of excitement in Washington this past week since Initiative 502 and Referendum 74 became law. Referendum 74 legalized same-sex marriage and Initiative 502 legalized recreational use of marijuana for personal use, in private, to people over the age of 21 in Washington.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of photographing people using cannabis out in the open. I’ve only seen it once before at Seattle’s Hempfest, and it’s still such a strange sight to me. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was in Illinois riding along with Galesburg police officers ready to make arrests for possessing any amount of marijuana.

As I walked into the “Friends of Frankie” second floor space I was immediately hit by the smell of cigarette smoke. For a while now, patrons had been paying the ten-dollar fee to use the smoking area since Frank won a legal battle with the state. Only within the past week has marijuana made an appearance. It was interesting to note how segregated the two vices were in the area equivalent to the entire downstairs bar.

I asked the bartender to point me toward Frank, the bar’s owner, and found him engaged with a group of medical marijuana users. Frank doesn’t use marijuana personally, but sees it as a way to pull in money during hard times.

A grinder and a lot of marijuana were set up on the table. The medical users were all sharing their cannabis. The medical marijuana users also had paraphernalia like pipes and items that I had never seen before — a device for smoking amber-colored hash oil. The patrons were using a blowtorch to light the pipe.

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A week in pictures

Rarely do so many big stories of global interest happen at the same time from one region but last week in Asia its been incredible.

Soldiers and aid workers struggled to reach at least a million people cut off by landslides that have complicated relief efforts after the worst floods in Pakistan in 80 years. Poor weather has grounded relief helicopters and more rain was expected to compound the misery of more than 13 million people . The floods have killed more than 1,600 people. 


Marooned flood victims looking to escape grab the side bars of a hovering Army helicopter which arrived to distribute food supplies in the Muzaffargarh district of Pakistan's Punjab province August 7, 2010. Pakistanis desperate to get out of flooded villages threw themselves at helicopters on Saturday as more heavy rain was expected to intensify both suffering and anger with the government. The disaster killed more than 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of 12 million.  REUTERS/Adrees Latif

  • Editors & Key Contributors