This morning, January 1, 2014, I woke up in a state that has made itself the world’s experiment and media news that is making the experiment a spectacle. Recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado, albeit with some restrictions.
Comments on news posts about Amendment 64, Colorado’s 2012 law legalizing recreational marijuana, span from celebratory to vitriolic. Apparently, this is as explosive a topic as abortion or the death penalty. One commenter suggested that every Coloradoan will be driving stoned by sunset and the state should be boycotted. I doubt either of those predictions will happen. Another post suggested that Coloradoans are going straight to hell, but many more are commenting with statements like, “Way to go, Colorado!” and wistful comments hoping their state will soon follow suit. I’m not going to argue for the virtues or the vices of weed; I was forced to watch “Reefer Madness” in school years ago, and even then I could see through the propaganda of the film. I prefer the truth about the risks of anything from using pot, drinking alcohol, wearing a tin foil hat, crossing the street, or wearing pantyhose. That said, it seems the country is far from universal legalization of cannabis. Some folks still argue for renewed prohibition of alcohol in the U.S.
So, voters in my native state chose to legalize recreational use of pot and the state is now under the watchful eye of the entire country, possibly the entire globe. Great, now I live in a fishbowl and people who are going to legally purchase pot are being filmed (or is it called videoed now?). Beware, because your purchase of a legal substance will be caught on film and potentially posted online for all time. Am I going to run down to the local pot shop today and bag an ounce? No, not so much. Will I ever do so? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m not going to risk getting fired from my job. The stigma of pot use will continue for years, whether it is legal or not, and drug screening in the workplace will always be the case. Intelligent folks aren’t going to be ‘toking a joint’ at work with any higher frequency than they drink a cocktail at lunch. It seems odd that few people care that I can go down to the liquor store and buy wine or vodka or pre-mixed mimosas in an aluminum can, but people will get their knickers in a twist if I go down to the local pot shop to buy an ounce of weed. Even so, Mary Jane’s cupboard is going to stay empty – in my house , for now.
Does this new law change anything for me personally? No. Not today, anyway. I’m not a fan of crowds or lines. I need to use my paycheck to pay bills. I read on one post that 1/8 oz. is going for $45 – before taxes. I’ve never paid $360 for an ounce of anything, unless it was for the anesthesia during my last surgery – and part of that was covered by insurance (probably the lesser part). I’m good with my $11 four-pack mimosas in aluminum cans, $8 six-packs of Blue Moon, and $10 bottles of wine. In fact, I don’t need the mimosas, the wine, or the beer, but I occasionally enjoy it. The liquor industry doesn’t make much from my meager purchases, anyway.
So, I’ll enjoy my New Year’s Day mimosas and keep an eye on my twitter feed #cannabisCO and #marijuana news throughout the day. Why? Because it’s fun to read the comments.
2014 is definitely going to be interesting.