Just say no, unless you live in Colorado

I was 14 years old when Ronald Reagan declared war on drugs, that was 1982. Four years later, Nancy Reagan told us kids to ‘just say no’ to drugs.

Fast forward to 2014 and the governement of Colorado is saying now it’s ok to say yes to drugs as long as you buy it from an authorized drug dealer like Native Roots Apothecary. All you have to do is prove you’re 21 and then you can buy your ‘nickle bag’ without having to worry about getting busted for possession. weed

With a doctor’s prescription, you can get your weed for $150 – $400 dollars an ounce and buy up to two ounces a day. Without a prescription, you’re talking $400 – $500 an ounce. The state of Colorado is making a killing. Consider this, buying marijuana for recretional use only just became legal on 1January 2014 and already there are more cannabis shops in Colorado than there are branches of Starbucks. In one hour, the LoDo Wellness Centre, another authorized drug dealer, clocked in 300 people through the doors. That’s a lot of people getting high.

I’m not up on my drug culture. I’ve only smoked one joint in my entire life. I know the debate to legalise marijuna has been going on for ages, but to be honest, I never took a firm view one way or the other. I did question why it was ok to get wasted on alcohol, but not ok to smoke a joint. To me, the whole marijuana thing had a lot of parallels with the prohibition of alcohol.

weed2It was only a matter of time before the government wizened up and realised there was good money to be made legalising weed for more than medicinal purposes. The State is expected to bring in an extra $70 million in taxes this year. And that’s not to mention the money to be made from Colorado’s budding drug tourism industry sprouting up. People are making the trek to Colorada from places as far away as New Jersey and California. There’s even a weed friendly rating for hotels.

If weed wasn’t big business before, it’s about to get bigger now.

But despite weed being legal now, people are still choosing to buy illegal weed from unauthorized drug dealers simply because it’s cheaper.

I guess it has always been a sliipery slope explaining to kids that this drug is ok, i.e. legal if you’re of the right age (alcohol and cigarettes) and that drug is bad (marijuana). But now, I suspect it will be even more confusing having done a complete reversal on the stance against marijuana, where this time last year it would have been a criminal offense to smoke weed, to now where it is ok to get high.

weed3

2 Comments

  • Catherine Kunst says:

    Clay – as a Colorado resident it’s interesting to be at the bleeding edge of this and watch it unfold. The feds are infinitesimally loosening the banking regulations, maybe, so that these businesses have an easier way to pay taxes, pay employees, buy supplies, etc. But even for the medical shops there were very few banks (one major one recently bowed out) that would convert cash to credit, allow checking accounts. The fact that what CO is doing still breaches many UN treaties remains problematic given international tourism this industry is driving. And, while “legal” (unprosecuted?), employers in CO can still drug test and fire folks who test positive if that’s the policy.

    One of my colleagues is a hearing judge for those medical shops that want to convert to retail. He also gets to do the more run of the mill liquor license hearings. He’s pretty low key about both but it’s interesting to the rest of us.

    I’ve certainly had more people want to come visit me since this legislation was enacted and these shops have started popping up – everywhere. I’ve warned my friends and family that mine is a smoke free (all kinds) household. It will be interesting to see how it all ends up….will Colorado be for marijuana what Nevada is for prostitution or will the feds have to legalize because some threshold of states force them to.

    Personally I wish they’d just legalize, regulate, and tax, pretty much everything for (consenting, of sound mind) adults. But then I lean libertarian and wish the government would focus on roads, ports, bridges, fires, disasters, the water supply, vaccination, energy and defense of all of us. I really don’t prefer a parental government that tries to protect people from themselves by tossing them in jail, etc. But I still may not let you in my home, even if it’s legal.

    And not sure the info graphic is 100% correct. There has been a lot of press re: synthetic weed and ODs, hospitalization, and I thought some deaths – maybe kids who snuck some edibles? The stuff on the market today is not what our older siblings, parents, aunts and uncles used to play with.

    Though even side bar entrepreneurial ventures are springing up – Girl Scouts selling cookies outside a retail shop. Awesome. Although when I went to find the link…now…banned; that was fast: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/02/25/colorado-girl-scouts-barred-from-selling-cookies-outside-pot-shops/

    • clay lowe says:

      Thank you for the reply Cathy. I’m with you on the libertarian leanings. I’m not the most political of beings, but one thing that does drive me mad is “nanny state” policies that take responsibility away from the individual. Why spend resources policing people’s recreational pursuits when there are “roads, ports, bridges, fires, disasters, the water supply, vaccination, energy and defense” to focus on.

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