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Hooch and weed — I love it. Two happy subjects rolled into one issue this week, with our third installment of ReLeaf and a look at our beer scene.

Yes, that's irreverent. I should refer to the herb as "medicine" and the brews as "craft beers" and take a mature approach to the substances, sensitive to those affected by the politics and the potency of each. But I'm not. When else will I be gifted this space to talk solely about booze and buds?

I'm more in a celebratory mood after attending the Great American Beer Festival and dining and drinking at two new, local beer houses. (For the record, I did not sample any dispensary goods to achieve my fine frame of mind.) I'm thrilled that our microbrews continue to gain market share; according to the Brewers Association, while overall U.S. beer sales fell 2.7 percent in the first half of 2010, craft beer sales increased by 9 percent. I'm also thrilled that we, as a community, continue to support the growth of brewpubs locally.

Craft brews represent individuality, creativity, local color, environmentalism and social consciousness. Medical marijuana, meanwhile, gives power back to consumers to address their health as they see fit, using another natural substance with which our species has a long history.

This week, honor both as you see fit. Momma always said, "Don't forget to take your medicine."

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