So I live in Colorado. I’ll now pause for the obligatory pot joke. It’ll probably be some variation on “Rocky Mountain High.” At this point, trust me, Coloradoans have heard every possible variation on the “Rocky Mountain High” joke. If we laugh, it’s because we’re basically polite people.
Two years ago, in 2012, Colorado voted decisively to legalize marijuana. It took a year for a legislative committee to work out the regulations that would govern pot sales, and not all cities allow it to be sold. However, in Denver and Boulder (the two cities I’m closest to), pot sales are legal. Out of state people are always asking me how pot has impacted our way of life, and if Colorado has changed now that pot is legal. My answer is the same to both questions: “It hasn’t.”
I should qualify that by admitting that the state has received a fair amount of revenue from marijuana taxes (around six million dollars for June 2014 alone) and that money should produce some results eventually. But immediate effects have been nil.
And the inevitable follow-up questions. But don’t people smoke pot at public events like festivals? Probably, but it’s not obvious and not a problem from my point of view. Aren’t you afraid of being hit by a driver who’s smoked pot? I’m a lot more afraid of being hit by somebody who’s texting his girlfriend, since the statistical chances of that are a lot higher.
We Coloradoans are sort of tired of this topic, to tell you the truth. We understand the novelty of it all, but the jokes are no longer funny and going over the same topics again and again is monotonous. So here are some things we can talk about instead.
- The scenery. The Rockies are just as majestic as ever, and most of us are willing, even eager, to talk about them and give you some ideas for places to visit.
- The weather. It’s gorgeous at this time of year. And even in the winter we have more sunshine than clouds. Even our snow is pretty.
- Sports. Denver is the most sports mad city I’ve ever lived near. There are pro teams for everything from football to lacrosse. Not everybody can talk about sports with equal enthusiasm (I’d run out of things to say pretty quickly, for example), but we can usually sustain at least a short conversation.
- Fitness. Colorado is legendarily one of the fittest states in the union. Ask many of us for advice on running, riding bikes, skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, etc., etc.,etc., and we’ll happily babble on for several minutes.
- Food. The Front Range is foodie heaven. Farmer’s markets everywhere. Great restaurants. Just ask. We’ll tell you all about it.
So you see there are lots of things we can talk about that don’t involve marijuana. It just takes a little thought. And please, I beg you, spare me any jokes about how pot makes thought difficult. We’ve heard all of those too.