Without being hassled by the man, Colorado is now free to get loaded, publicly. One-and-a-quarter-million Coloradans or 54.8 percent of the electorate passed Amendment 64 and finally, after all these years, the counter culture has become the mainstream and mainstream has become the counter culture. Take that, Tim Leary.
The vibe here has already changed. Gone are the stereotypes, the lava lamp lit, shades drawn, hippie emporiums filled with longhaired Jeff Spicoli types and "whimsical tragical" skinny-fingered girls. Nope, over half of Colorado is high. And if I'm not high right now, then that means you are or he or she is. The guy painting my bedroom definitely is and so is that dude stopped at a green light.
Oh sure, there are still a few hurdles to get over but the people have spoken. Give them what they want. Keep Federal hands out of our weed jars. Legalization changes the conversation for good.
We'll get to talk about pot openly and honestly. You can admit to your parents that you smoke and have "for years." It will undoubtedly explain a few things and bring you closer.
A friend of mine just told me that she got a call from her stepdad this week. They are planning to visit Colorado for Thanksgiving. He wanted to know if she could get him some "reefer" for the holiday. Barriers are coming down.
You'll be able to "wake and bake" with your grandmother. You'll share a laugh when she realizes that you didn't mean biscuits and instead meant that you were going to light up first thing in the morning. When you put sugar on her eggs and salt in her coffee, you'll both laugh. She'll shake her head and call you a stoner as she grabs your cheek.
Who knows? Maybe you can get her off Celebrex and on the sticky green buds. You'll explain to her how good it is for arthritis. She'll protest because of the smoke and you'll teach her how to use a vaporizer. Without a little thing like the law to keep her from using marijuana, she'll be free to "pull some tubes", give it a go, and run it up the flagpole. Her first coughing fit will be a bit disconcerting but she will get through that.
Soon, she'll have you out in the backyard digging up the hollyhocks and putting in six cannabis plants. Horticulture classes will sprout up everywhere as people realize that not being able to grow tomatoes is a good indication that they can't grow weed either.
Yet hundreds of thousands of pot farmers will emerge from grow light illuminated basements, from their foil lined walls, and intricate hydro systems into the light of day, freed by legalization to grow in the open air. Electricity use decreases, as does our dependence on foreign oil as growers go solar.
But if criminalization of marijuana was bad, I'm afraid of what legalization might mean.
Once Uncle Samuel gets involved, unintended consequences become inevitable. It's "all-good", as they say, when it's for education, but still.
In the Centennial State, alcohol is marked up 52 percent from the wholesale price to cover the taxes. With schools to fund, banks to prop up, and smart grid cities to rescue, a $400 ounce of Colorado kind bud will soon be going for $700 or more. Ask anyone who can remember $1 packs of cigarettes and $5 quarts of whiskey and they'll corroborate this.
At least your kids will be skilled in mass unit conversion. One ounce equals about 28 grams, you know?
Increased funding for education will produce smarter students. One of which will inevitably invent a roadside test for THC producing more revenue for the state as potheads pay millions in DUI fines, court costs, court ordered counseling, monitored sobriety and meetings with the newly formed MODS (mothers against driving stoned).
This would all be okay but big business will see how much money can be made. Large, industrial growers will get involved in all aspects of the means of production and develop a transgenic cannabis strain, THC-420, genetically modified for fast growth, drought tolerance, insect resistance and reasonably low THC levels.
Environmentalists will take to the street demanding locally grown, fair-trade, free-range weed. Of course, you'll only be able to find it in the organic section of Trader Joe's for $1,500 an ounce.
These huge corporate cannabis conglomerates will hype their products through mega-stars like Snoop Lion with massive advertising campaigns meant to build brand loyalty. I can see him rapping. The camera cuts to him standing in front of a massive audience. He sings. "Smoke two joints in the morning. Smoke two joints at night."
Cut to a party scene poolside. Two bikini clad girls flank the singer. "Smoke two joints in the afternoon, makes everything all right." This time we see the grinning singer with one arm around a peacenik flower child and one arm around a soldier in desert cammo. "I smoke two joints in time of peace and two in time of war."
When we see him again, it's in front of hundreds of thousands of his fans, waving their dope delivery device of choice in the air like they just don't care. "I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints and then I smoke two more." Brand image appears on screen, fade to black, and we hear Phil Sims resuming play by play for the Broncos game.
Jeff McAbee is a former Summit County resident now living on the Front Range. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Jeff_McAbee.