During a recent trip to Washington, D.C. for the Drug Policy Alliance Reform Conference, a friend from Texas was telling us how much he enjoys coming to Colorado these days. He travels here as often as he can, and we’re happy to find some excuse for him to make the trip.
He especially enjoys smoking marijuana while he’s here.
“Weed in Colorado is an entirely different experience,” he told us. “You’re not always looking over your shoulder wondering what if someone sees me rolling this joint or someone smells marijuana on me. It’s really refreshing.”
While I was there, I spoke with a woman from Ohio who was terribly disappointed by the failure of their recent ballot initiative to legalize marijuana. As a prior “offender” in the drug war, all she wanted was that other people wouldn’t be charged, convicted and incarcerated and have to go through what she had. She wanted freedom for the people of Ohio, but she argued that Ohio just isn’t Colorado.
Of course, everyone was curious about what’s happening at ground zero in the marijuana legalization effort. When people discover you’re from Colorado, jokes and inuendos eventually percolate into the conversation. As evidenced by the media and late night talk shows, people just can’t help themselves. But along with the hazing come serious questions about drug convictions, tax revenue, effects on children, driving, testing and more. Enquiring minds want to know.
Back at home, I smile when I overhear words like “marijuana,” “weed,” “edible,” and “bong” in conversations that are occurring in ordinary places like coffee shops, grocery store lines, office corridors and gas stations across the state. The conversations are happening and they are changing.
At the airport, while waiting for our flight from Denver out to Washington, D.C., I overheard two guys across from me introduce themselves. One was on his way from Oregon; the other had recently returned from Jamaica but was headed to D.C. now. I couldn’t help but ask if he had been to Jamaica for the Cannabis Cup the week before. He smiled, we all knowingly smiled back, and a robust conversation ensued.
Where else but Colorado?
It’s easy to take for granted the progress we’ve made. We do live in a bubble, and it’s easy to forget the freedoms we enjoy here. The freedom to legally purchase from a store that is licensed to sell cannabis, and walk out with your purchase in hand and your head held high. The freedom to take that purchase home with you, put it in a pipe and sit on your front porch and smoke it. The freedom to grow your own cannabis if you choose, and share it with your friends and neighbors.
I’ll admit that we haven’t got it all figured out yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and we’re bound to make mistakes along the way. After all, we are only human. And we’re all making it up as we go along. But we’re doing it. Bit by bit, step by step, we’re moving ahead. And brick by brick, we’re dismantling the drug war in the process.
I’m proud of my home state. We have taken upon ourselves the enormous burden of being first. But with that burden comes enormous responsibility. The whole world is indeed watching.
So, today I’d like to give thanks for Colorado and the wise voters who ushered in a new era of freedom.
Thank you, Colorado!
And Happy Thanksgiving to all!
— Rx MaryJane (Teri Robnett)
Cannabis Patients Alliance is working hard for patients by continuing to advocate for legal, safe and affordable access to medical marijuana across Colorado and around the country. Your contribution will go a long way toward keeping our advocacy alive and ensuring patients needs are included in the discourse on public policy and education. We are changing hearts and minds, one conversation at a time. Please DONATE today so our work can continue!