With the legalization of marijuana in some form or another spreading like a vast wildfire across the country (or a joyous smile, depending on your perspective), the once underground cottage industry of associated paraphernalia is going through a renaissance. But instead of using traditional pipes, bongs, bubblers, hookahs, one-hitters, and other smoking implements, health-conscious pot aficionados today "vape" or use a vaporizer – a gadget that heats marijuana to release its active ingredients without creating smoke. Among the flood of new vaping devices, the Firefly is a standout. It's a slick portable unit that is as pleasing to look at as it is to use.
The Firefly is unique among portable vaporizers in that it uses a convection system to heat your bud instead of conduction. (In lay terms, conduction systems heat by direct contact, but tend to do so unevenly; convection systems circulate hot air instead and are more efficient.) In part, this explains the Firefly's jarring $270 price tag, but also the superior experience: This method means you'll no longer waste precious and pricey chronic weed.
You're also paying for the Firefly's design, which is a far cry from the blown-glass skulls and ceramic-class aesthetic of your college years. To the contrary, the Firefly has more in common with a slick camera or an iPhone and is thoroughly high tech. Its glossy top plate is magnetized, and pops off with a little force, allowing access to the visible porthole (or pothole, if you will). Crush up a pinch of your goods – the chamber is small, but a little goes a long way in a vaporizer – then insert it, and pop the top back on. Slide the On button to the green position, and then press the button on the opposing side (it can be treated like a carburetor on a glass bowl). Almost immediately, the porthole glows red and you're ready to inhale. Shorter, slower puffs are more effective and give a better taste than powerful long ones. There's enough battery power for a good 50 puffs at a go, which, unless you're hanging with Snoop Lion, lasts an extremely long time. Recharging it requires the use of a cable and wall plug, which, unfortunately, isn't the ubiquitous USB, but it's a small quibble for an otherwise polished experience. [$270; thefirefly.com]