A little while back I got kicked out of Germany. When pressed, I will eventually buckle and tell you the truth, that it was over a simple technicality involving a visa appointment, but before that, I will tell you a riveting tale about me fending off Angela Merkel's secret Ninja Clan, while teaming up with an ancient and wise, albeit somewhat senile and racist, dragon named Merferktuu.
So since I was told that the place where I wanted to be was a place I was no longer allowed to be, I jumped back to the States, since my plans to build a catapult to launch me to Monaco and live out my days on a beach with sand as white as my ass failed spectacularly.
And where did I wind up? Colorado, of course. I sleep in a closet now. No, really. But that's beside the point (unless some of my more voluptuous readers want to offer me a bed in one of their sexodromes).
Oh, you thought I was joking about sexodromes? I never motherfucking joke about sexodromes.
But, among the more interesting things to happen to me since I moved here (not really a title that a lot of other activities are competing for, since there are tragically few mountain lions to fistfight in my area) is the advent of completely legal, state-sanctioned marijuana use.
Now, I don't smoke a lot. (Quick note to all of the people who know me and are now laughing hilariously at what would seem like a bold-faced lie: I don't smoke much weed; the rest of the hard drug spectrum is fair game. Legal aside: chain smoking meth rocks is not a hobby I actually indulge in.) But, since I'm in a state where smoking the reefer is allowed, and living with roommates who I will politely describe as “relatively enthused” about the green plant, I tend to pick up on some of the finer details of smoking in and around the Mile High City (and yes, fucking obviously that pun was played into the ground the second it was legalized).
Warning: some of the details may shock and perturb you. So, before you pack up your Phish CDs and undertake your best effort at making dreadlocks on a white person look anything other than absolutely ridiculous, you may want to absorb some of this information.
1. Are you from out of state? Then go fuck yourself with a “water pipe.”
In Colorado it is legal to carry up to one ounce of marijuana on your person. This is enough for a good time for a lot of people, or, for someone with my tolerance, enough to get high forever.
But I should rephrase that. It's legal for Colorado residents to carry up to an ounce. You, my out-of-state friend, can only carry a quarter of an ounce.
“That's still enough for me, man,” you droll on, in between trying to convince me that Tool is like, the best band ever man, like, you don't even know.
I do even know, and no, they aren't. Also, being able to purchase and carry this reefer madness is utterly useless to you, unless you have a friend living here who is willing to let you blaze it up in his or her living room, admiring their collection of Bob Marley CD's that they totally understand the meaning behind. You see, weed is treated almost exactly like alcohol, in the sense that you best not consume, or obviously be on the stuff in public, because that is still illegal. Completely. And good luck finding a hotel that will let you toke up, because anywhere you go that has a “no smoking” policy will obviously extend their views to the variety released by tobacco's more Rasta cousin. Still no.
What about your car? Nope. Can't be in a car and high at the same time; that's driving under the influence, and only 5 nanograms of THC is enough to do the trick. Which is enough that you can feel totally sober, but, well, if you had a Harold and Kumar marathon the night before, might still be enough to trip the authorities.
And make sure to do a city by city search before you settle on a town to stone up in, because individual counties are completely allowed to set their own rules regarding marijuana use. The rule applies to modern vaporizers for both medical and recreational marijuana.
So, should you just move here? Well, before you think about that…
2. The legal weed market is causing hell for Colorado locals.
There's no easy way to say this, except for the way I'm about to say it right now: legalized marijuana is causing a flood of stoners to pour in from out of state. And this is not a good thing.
When I mentioned that you can't toke up easily (well, legally) unless you live here or have a friend who does (who also thinks weed is okay. Remember, a lot of people thought the legalization was a bad idea), you maybe just thought, “Fuck it! I'll just move there myself! People will appreciate my band out there!” And while you're right on one account (you can move here, but your progressive band isn't actually that progressive and sounds like fifty other bands you could easily Google), you're going to find a couple of difficulties.
The first, and most annoying for locals, is the simple fact that rent prices are getting cranked up. Because of course they are. When you have a few thousand people moving to a place, and their only big forethought about moving there is that they can smoke weed easier, landlords are going to play on the fact that these people might not be the best decision makers, and may in fact cough up the extra dough. And they are.
Now, this information is largely based on my own personal observations, combined with conversations with the locals (yes, I go outside from time to time, fuck yourself), and is largely based on the greater Denver metropolitan area. But some precursory Googling shows that some other towns are experiencing the same problems, rent wise.
Also of note, is that, per capita, you get a lot more people getting really high, and then going out and attempting to integrate with society. I'm not positive if you've ever worked in customer service before (if you haven't, quit your job right now and go do that for a year; it's horrible but I think it's a growing experience everyone should go through at some point in their lives), but even if you haven't, I'm sure you can picture that really high people might be annoying to deal with. You would be correct.
Specifically, working in food service like me (I can't mention the name of the actual restaurant, because the company rule book states that employees are not allowed to mention the company on a blog or website that has more dick jokes then properly spelled words), you get a lot of stoners, generally making a shit name for a decent cause.
Get it together for the time it takes to decide if you want a brownie with your dinner or not (spoiler alert, everyone always wants brownies; just buy one).
3. Yes, you can still get drug tested at work.
And fired too. If you smoke recreationally. At home. On your own time. Any company in Colorado can fire you for failing a drug test, even if you only failed it because weed showed up. And again, yes, people have actually been busted for this. It has held up in court. The reason this is okay, even with Colorado's new green laws, is once again that little part where it is still federally illegal.
If a company or business wants to implement, or already has a policy against drugs, they are well within their rights to do so. Because they have the right to choose to tell you to not do something that will get their building raided by drones and federal ninjas. Which are totally a thing. Probably.
This applies to anyone who has weed. Yes, even medical weed. You can have the card and everything, but it doesn't matter. It's like that old guy from Lethal Weapon 2 who kept screaming “diplomatic immunity” to overcome any situation, except here it's your boss screaming “federally illegal” over the drowning sound of the Jimmy Hendrix song you've had on repeat for the last seven work hours.
But hey, at least you're not getting arrested for it anymore, right?
4. Yes, the feds can still up and bust you whenever the fuck they feel like it.
This is more of a concern for anyone growing then smoking, but it is a concern in either direction, honestly. Because no matter what states say about what you can smoke and what you can't, at a federal level, it's still illegal as shit. And yes, people are getting busted for it.
Obama himself may have given a resounding “meh” when pressed about his opinion of marijuana, but his opinion isn't the single deciding factor, as there are other agencies and heads of departments of those various agencies who are still absolutely legally allowed to bust your shit for the green stuff.
Now, I mentioned how this is more of an issue for the growers then the users, and that's actually a big cause for concern. It's already a legal tightrope act for grow houses to stay completely legal within the confines of the states that allow them to operate, but when you throw in the complications from not being able to legally deposit money into banks (it's legally drug money; no bank will touch it) and getting busted for bullshit that doesn't even have to do with the plant itself, you get all kinds of accounting and logistical nightmares.
Not to say that the feds aren't cracking down on grow houses for growing weed in places where they can legally grow weed, because holy fuck they totally are, a lot. Not just in Colorado but all over. And yes, feds can legally bust casual users too, although this doesn't seem to be happening with any alarming frequency. Yet. But it still totally can.
But hey! The feds will come around when they see how it's saving the economy!
5. No, it's not saving the economy.
One of the big shows thrown around in an attempt for legalization is the idea that weed will somehow salvage the economy and thrust us into a new golden age of prosperity and dreadlocks and golden dreadlocks.
Obviously, this just isn't even kind of true.
Taxing weed is bringing in revenue. This is not a point I am going to argue. It obviously is. But it's not the miracle cure that stoners are screaming it is. Guess how much it's estimated that taxing weed in all fifty states would bring in?
$6,000,000,000, give or take a half billion in either direction, depending on which website with “legal420” in the URL you want to get your information from.
That's a lot of money. That's more money than me and you put together will ever have. And it doesn't matter who “you” are. Even if Warren Buffet is for some reason a huge fan of my wretched style of writing, I'm enough of a financial burden to drag that down.
Okay, now, guess how much money the USA currently needs…
That's around a fifth of how much money exists on the entire planet. Nifty, eh?
Now again, sure, the taxable weed is a nifty bonus, but don't make it the main arguing point. And don't get me started on how hemp will save the world. Hemp can be used for paper. And clothes. And condoms. And garrotes. And—
You've heard the speech. And it's actually pretty true. It's a versatile little plant. But what we need to understand is that it's not going to create new jobs. Not really.
Let's say new hemp paper is just flat out superior to old paper, and they build a factory to make hemp paper instead of the old stuff. What do you think happens to the people working at the old factory? Right. They get laid off. And then maybe hired at the hemp factory.
I'm fully aware that the process would not be/is not anywhere near that simple or outright circuitous, but I'm just drawing attention to a fact that a lot of very vocal stoners don't seem to grasp: the economy is complex as balls. It's why people who figure shit out about it are paid very good money. There's a shitload to it, and simply flipping one substance from “illegal” to “legal” not only won't fix it overnight, but actually creates quite a substantial amount of new and exciting problems.
One thing you'll probably take away from this article is that I seem to have a strong dislike for both stoners and marijuana. Not true. I fully support the idea that marijuana should be available for (regulated) use. It really should be. It's neat.
But people need to get the facts straight about what they're actually arguing, on both sides. I am in no way an authority on the matter. My reach begins and ends when my editor noticed that I was his only writer living in Colorado and asked me to write something up. I strongly believe that you should research actual details on your own time.
As for disliking stoners, resenting an entire group of people based on a single, relatively harmless activity is fairly dumb, although I have noticed that I tend to disagree with stoners on many issues, regardless of their affinity for ganja. But that's a case by case basis.
So if there is one, singular thing, that absolutely everyone who reads this article not only should, but must agree on, it's the simple, basic fact that white people look fucking stupid with dreadlocks.