Monday, April 20, 2015

In the Land of Legalized Marijuana

In November of 2000 Colorado passed Amendment 20 which legalized limited amounts of marijuana for medical use.   Twelve years later voters passed Amendment 64 which legalized limited amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

I knew this when we moved here but didn't think much about it until I saw ads like this in the local paper...

and signs like this, though so far only in neighborhoods frequented by CU students.

The law requires medical cannabis users to register with the state and have a registration card.  Recreational users must be at least twenty-one and may only purchase one ounce at a time.  Should you be wanting to visit Colorado and sample the wares there are rules you'll need to know and follow.  

Neither medical or recreational marijuana may not be consumed in any public area including a cannabis store.  In addition, cities and towns may decide not to allow the sale of marijuana, so you can't get it everywhere, just in the communities that have allowed its sale.  Boulder and Denver do, but many places do not.

I was invited to accompany a friend who wanted to buy some cannabis to use as a sleep aid. He wanted to try it and see if it helped with his sleeping problems so he took the "recreational" route rather than the "medical."  The store he chose was in a typical strip mall type of shopping center.  We were greeted by a receptionist who listened to my friend's description of what he wanted, checked our ids, and directed us to wait in comfortable seats.

Medical and recreational sales are quite separate, so our next step was to enter the recreational sales wing of the store.  There we saw some educational displays about the available goods and talked more in depth with a salesperson who was young, attractive, and quite hip.  (No photos of staff allowed; sorry!) 

My friend knew that he wanted an edible product and selected gummy bears laced with a small dose of cannabis.

They came in a child proof bottle with a notice to "Keep from children." 

The sales rep gave instructions to "start with 1/2 a gummy bear about two hours before bedtime, increasing to one if needed." And "not to take with alcohol," which seemed odd since I thought dope smoking and beer drinking often went hand in hand at parties. But admittedly my personal experience is very limited.

Later my friend reported that his sleep greatly improved when he took this drug.  Having sleep problems of my own, I tried half a bear to see if I had equally good results.  Alas, no.  Gummy bear not withstanding, I still woke up after two hours and tossed and turned for a while before getting back to sleep.  Perhaps smoking some cannabis would be more effective, but there's no way I'm smoking anything.

Except for the store signs and advertising and an occasional mention of use by someone in conversation, I haven't seen much evidence of marijuana use in my daily life here.  Once walking home from the University I followed a skateboarder who was illegally smoking cannabis on the street, and just the other day I smelled some as I walked downtown, but that's not bad for living here ten months.   Of course I'm not young and not traveling in those circles where cannabis is on the menu.  

In addition to teaching Paul to not drink until he's older we now need to teach him not to use cannabis until the legal age of twenty-one, if ever.  But that seems a small price to pay for living in a community where people aren't arrested and jailed and have their lives ruined for possession of what is, after all, just another drug with its good uses and misuses.

1 comment:

  1. As a long-time user of medical marijuana, which is legal in California, I was most interested in this post. While we have legal cannabis for doctor-approved use, it's my guess most people attain their cannabis licenses for recreational use. We used to have quite a few brick 'n mortar cannabis shops like you described, but most of them have closed down because of constant hassles with the law and such. Nowadays you can google a vendor who will come to your house. They can search on your license number to see that you have a valid license, then they will bring the weed to you. No rent to pay, no legal hassles, etc.

    I am ambivalent about the legalization of marijuana for recreational use...I hate to see young people getting stoned out of their gourds every afternoon (4:20) when their brains are still developing. Conversely, I hate to see people suffer far-reaching criminal repercussions from doing something that harms no one but themselves.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out over time.


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