Vaping With Geraldo

Demonstrating vapor pens live on Fox News proves as surreal as it sounds.

Over the past few months, there’s been a flurry of media attention surrounding vaporizer pens. As the coordinator of our vapor-pen buyer’s guide last month, I was interviewed by several news outlets — including The Nation, Miami New Times and WNBC here in New York. But the most surprising and sensational opportunity came from none other than that mustachioed media icon himself, Geraldo Rivera.

As a kid in Brooklyn, I grew up with Geraldo. I recall watching with excitement his ill-fated excavation of Al Capone’s vault, his interview with Charles Manson, his nose being broken by a Nazi skinhead on the set of his eponymous talk show, and his exaggerated exposés on Satanism—which, as a metalhead, I took particular issue with. But while Geraldo and I probably don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues, there’s one topic we do seem to agree on—marijuana. In fact, he famously smoked weed himself (under medical supervision) on one of his news specials in 1974. Now, at the age of 70, he’s hosting Geraldo At Large on the ultra-conservative Fox News Channel — the last place on earth I ever expected to find myself on a Saturday night. Nevertheless, there I was, sitting across the desk from the man himself, about to demonstrate how to use a vapor pen on live television.

“Bobby, how does it work exactly?” he asked me.

“This is the standard e-cigarette style with a flavored nicotine glycerin solution, which you would puff … ” I explained, taking a quick drag. “But what you see with the adaptations being done for the cannabis community … is different tanks for vegetative matter/flowers …. ”

“You mean like puffing a daisy or something?” Geraldo interrupted in bewilderment.

Oops — bad choice of words. Being in the dab scene for so long, I sometimes forget that referring to pot as “flowers” can be confusing to marijuana “muggles” not versed in the new terminology.

“No, actual cannabis,” I clarified. “There are also pens designed specifically for cannabis concentrates.”

“So what do you have in that one?” Geraldo asked warily. “It’s not cannabis or anything illegal?”

“No, not at all,” I assured him as I handed him the pen.

“Do you light it like a cigarette?”

“No, you just hold the button in ….”

It took Geraldo a second to find the button, eliciting a chuckle from someone in his crew—but once he did, he took a couple of big rips.

Geraldo had intro’d the segment by stating that, in much the same way that porn had fueled the rise of the Internet, cannabis was behind the growing popularity of e-cigarettes. Now he wanted my take: “What about my thesis about pot smokers using this … is that what’s driving this, in your opinion? Or is it that it’s healthier, that you’re not putting fire in your lungs?”

“I think it’s both,” I replied. “It’s healthier, it’s more convenient … it’s better, certainly, for medical marijuana patients, because it’s easier to use, easier to control your dosage. And rather than smoking a joint or a bong hit or something of that nature, you can just do one little puff of a cannabis concentrate and your pain is relieved instantaneously.”

Geraldo went on to ask about High Times (“the bible of pot users everywhere”) and how it was doing—putting a picture of our January 2014 cover up on-screen and giving me a perfect opportunity to plug our 40th anniversary.

“Forty years … ” he mused. “Isn’t it ironic that Newsweek has fallen by the wayside and High Times is thriving?”

After the show, Geraldo came backstage to thank his guests and pose with us for pictures; he even agreed to grant me an interview. All in all, he and his team were incredibly gracious, and despite any ideological differences, I have to give the man credit: Like High Times, he’s been out there making waves for the past 40 years. In fact, some might even call him … infamous.

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