Dispensing With the Fanfare
Many people have written about marijuana and its legality. There are essays about medical uses, the economics of the industry, taxation, the ramifications of punishment, the effects in relation to mental and physical health, and the means in which people are using it to better themselves and their children. There are also essays decrying the addictive nature of substances, the errors of banning hemp thanks to the paper industry, the idiocy that is reefer madness, and the importance and number of people who have used marijuana recreationally or medicinally.
After all, if Carl Sagan is pro-pot, shouldn’t we all be?
Colorado took an interesting step New Year’s Day, offering, for the first time in US history, sanctioned, legal, recreational marijuana for sale.
While I had hoped to be off skiing in the awesome powder day, I found that my New Year’s Eve plans ended up preventing me from awaking at a reasonable hour. A close friend of mine didn’t make the same mistake, and made his way to Denver at the ass crack of dawn to delve into the long lines for legal marijuana. His reaction: “It wasn’t as big a deal as I expected.”
Most dispensaries boasted block-long lines, waits of over an hour, and a strangely titillating sense of excitement. And yet, it was so low-key, you’d think the clientele were already stoned.
My friend arrived at his chosen first stop at 8 AM sharp, their opening hour, and received a ticket labeling him 140th in line. Not three hours later, he walked away having made his first legal, non-medical pot purchase on its opening day.
Those of us who slept in missed out on the fanfare, of which there was surprisingly little. Unlike last spring’s Cannabis Cup, there were no free samples, no extra swag, no booth girls or wafting scent of post smoke. Cards explaining the laws (no smoking and driving, no distributing to minors, etc) were slipped into each baggie. Edibles weren’t on sale at all due to an inability of manufacturers to comply with the requirements in dosages.
And all in all, very little seemed all that special. Besides the extended wait, of course.
DenCo, a dispensary downtown, whose information wasn’t listed in the local papers, had virtually no line. Every other stop, however, was more than an hour wait. According to my friend, the trend continued day two, with a nearly three-hour wait that was growing steadily longer as people got off work.
Still, the price of pot is lower than its street value a decade ago. The quality is higher as well. And while regulations prevent the really strong stuff outside of the medical arena, it’s safe to say that Colorado has done something which most people are going to blow out of proportion.
In some ways, the lack of spectacle is surprising. So many for so long have fought for this day, and now that it’s arrived, I somewhat expected people to running out and celebrating. The lack of fanfare is actually a good thing. It shows that most Coloradans are treating this as business as usual. Even the supporters and businesses, as excited as they are, want to treat our newly legalized status responsibly and respectfully. And for a future in which marijuana is regulated like alcohol or tobacco, nothing could be more encouraging than simply treating today like any other.
Tomorrow, when I wake up, nothing really will have changed. And for those of us with jobs that might drug test, that means that even having the opportunity to purchase pot legally doesn’t guarantee us the ability to use it.