They also met at a Burning Man party. “We would hang out socially and always ended up talking about ideas and inventions,” says Williams, explaining how they came up with their new product in his living room. “We were sitting on my couch in my apartment, smoking. I was over 40 then, we could really feel it in our bodies. We were social smokers, but we both felt it …”
“Wait. Are you talking about tobacco here,” I interjected.
“Yes … ,” Williams says, looking sideways and grinning. “I am?” Pregnant pause. Robinson chuckles. “That’s what the line has to be from any manufacturer importing into the US,” he says. Openly acknowledging that your product—in this case a high tech vaporizer called the Firefly–is intended for marijuana use exposes you to classification as a distributor of drug paraphernalia, opening you up to the risk of the federal government seizing your assets and bank accounts. And that makes it difficult to pay a lawyer.
So, officially, the Firefly is for pipe tobacco. But I didn’t try any pipe tobacco in it. You probably won’t either. I did, however, sample some marijuana, for which it’s really, really great. A personal disclosure: I’ve smoked a lot of pot. I’m no stoner, but I’ve been smoking it for more than 25 years, and in that time I’ve used all sorts of vaporizers. They’ve evolved a great deal over the years, from giant complex tabletop devices to today’s generation of e-cig-style vapes that deliver brain-hammering doses of butane-extracted cannabis oil. The Firefly does those devices one better, magically and almost instantly vaporizing actual plant material at the touch of a button. It is just wonderful.