Was the Weed Worth the Wait?
Editor’s note: Recreational marijuana has about as much chance of being sold legally in South Carolina as, for instance, a person has of jumping from the moon and landing on Earth – more on that later. In Colorado, however, you can now pick up some weed at the local pot store. One of our writers just happened to be high in the Rocky Mountains the day Mary Jane came out of the closet and into the mainstream.
It was the first time that I had ever waited in a line and seen everyone around me smiling from ear to ear. The anxiousness and annoyance normally displayed under these circumstances was replaced with excitement, anticipation and a few musicians banging on drums, strumming guitars and singing Ben Harper’s “Burn One Down.”
It was just by chance – or luck, maybe – that I ended up traveling from my home in Charleston, South Carolina, to Steamboat, Colorado, the week marijuana was legalized for recreational use in the Centennial State. This was history in the making, so, as a “journalist” I was, of course, obligated to visit the closest marijuana dispensary.
Surprisingly enough, my enthusiasm on the morning I visited Rocky Mountain Remedies – I found the only place you can buy recreational marijuana in Steamboat with my iPhone app, “Weed Maps” – was entirely outmatched by my godfather, a baby boomer and former pot smoker. We arrived at the pot shop to find a line of 30 to 40 people from all corners of the Midwest. A guy from Wyoming who was featured in the local paper’s cover story literally started crying when he purchased his first bag of legal marijuana. My 70-year-old godfather displayed his zeal when two local newspaper dopes video interviewed him. He finished his pro-legalization diatribe with “It’s about damn time.”
I wasn’t even stoned, but laughing at the hilarity of the situation made my side hurt. We waited in line for an hour and never once cursed the Colorado cold. The line, which eventually grew to nearly 100, consisted of people from all walks of life. Local construction workers and vacationing baby boomers eagerly shared their “one time when I was high” stories.
By the time we got to the entrance, the scent of fresh cannabis was wafting from the shop and into our nostrils. I paused for a moment and reminded myself that this experience was an inquisitive writer’s dream, as well as history in the making. Before Jan. 1, 2014, marijuana had never been sold legally for recreational use in the United States, and now I was going to be part of it.
The shop itself was a pothead’s paradise. There were fridges full of assorted flavors of weed soda. The shelves were stocked with weed chocolate, weed brownies and weed gummies. The weed itself came in all sorts of colors, and I couldn’t help but wonder how a flower that Nature intended to be dark green could produce more colors than a box of Lucky Charms. Each Rocky Mountain Remedies employee was taking the time to recommend dosages and specific strains for the customers.
“The Indica will make you feel laid-back and lethargic, while the Sativa will make you laugh and debate for hours whether it’s possible to jump from the moon and land on Earth,” one of them explained.
My $50 budget fetched a soda, a brownie and one gram of a light-green marijuana called “Train Wreck.” I pondered whether the guy who names the different marijuana strains should be fired.
My godfather, on the other hand, wanted to utilize the state-allotted quarter-once-per-day limit as creatively as he could. He was literally a kid in a candy store.
“I’m going to get two packs of sour gummies, three bars of chocolate, two brownies, one gram of ‘Sour Diesel,’ one gram of ‘Train Wreck’ and one gram of ‘Purple Haze,’ ” he told the cashier.
“Can I get anything else?” he asked the employee with a sheepish grin.
The day ended with the sharing of a joint between family members from different generations and different walks of life. As we sat in the hot tub and gazed out at the late afternoon snow falling on the Rocky Mountains, I smiled and wondered if there’s a marriage on the horizon for marijuana and America.
What You Need to Know About the Laws in Colorado
Marijuana will be one of the most heavily taxed products in Colorado, to the tune of a 25 percent state tax in addition to the usual sales tax of 2.9 percent, plus local sales taxes. These extra levies apply only to recreational stuff – if a doctor prescribes medical marijuana, it doesn’t count.
Visitors from outside of the state of Colorado (that means us) can purchase one quarter ounce at a time in a licensed store. Purchasers, who must be at least 21 years of age, can share with others, as long as no money changes hands.
Smoking pot in public is still illegal, even inside the pot shop. So when you do light up, make sure you do so at home or at a friend’s house.
If you are thinking of driving around Colorado after a toke, think again: A motorist can be ticketed for impaired driving if his or her blood shows more than five nanograms of active THC.
-Sourced from CNN.com.