While crossing the street in downtown Longmont one recent Friday night two guys of a hippie-ish mien approached me, wanting to know where they could buy cigarettes.
I had to confess that, so far as I knew, there wasn’t a gas station or convenience or grocery store anywhere nearby. I found myself remembering the days when you could roll into any bar and belly up to a “cigarette machine” — kids, ask grandma or grandpa what that was.
But then the pair got down to business.
“Hey, we’ve never been to a green state before,” said the one from Georgia.
“Yeah, so,” chimed in the one from South Carolina, “where is the weed store?”
Standing on that street corner I felt a twinge of sympathy for them. Not only had they asked precisely the wrong person, but also they were laboring under some misimpressions about what it means to be “green” (the current argot in hippie circles, I suppose, though I’d never heard it).
I explained that while there would eventually be commercial sales of marijuana in Colorado, that hadn’t been worked out just yet. I did a quick rundown of what I understood. Yeah, legal for personal use; no, you can’t buy or sell it yet; you can grow your own; you can buy at a dispensary, but you have to have a “card.” And so on.
“Bummer,” the Georgian said, deflated.
I wondered if they’d made a pilgrimage to the doper’s promised land based on rumors abroad. They sulked. I felt for them.
Ah, pot. I hate the stuff. Hate the smell, fresh or toasted. Hate the high. But I find our myriad gyrations on the way to legalization, regularization and taxation — which I support — mindless and hypocritical.
“Medical marijuana” has all been a ruse.
When was the last time your pharmacy lit up a fancy LED marquee or advertised in your favorite “alternative” publication about the latest “special” on, say, your blood pressure, cholesterol or ADHD meds?
Surely you remember the last time your physician advertised various colorfully named “strains” of antibiotics for you to whiff and sniff and swirl around your olfactory glands like the bouquet of fine wine.
And now we face the annual idiocy that is 4/20 at the University of Colorado Boulder (where I am an employee). Hard to gauge how this will play out this year, as the context for the stoners’ favorite holiday has changed.
First, it’s on Saturday. Campus officials have closed campus that day, so only those with CU IDs are supposed to set foot on campus. They won’t scatter fishy fertilizer on Norlin quad as they did last year, nor spend big bucks on an alternative event that drew almost no one (which was worth a try).
And now that Colorado voters have approved Amendment 64, you can smoke up without fear of arrest, within certain limits — for example, not in public. The “free speech” smokescreen thrown up by past 4/20 revelers is now down to seeds and stems.
Proponents claimed that gathering was a political protest and a demonstration in favor of legalization. But anyone who went anywhere near the cloud knew that argument was pure fish fertilizer. It was a party, plain and simple, with a few sincere political idealists scattered throughout the crowd. But you’d never have known it from the screeching when CU had the audacity to decide it would rather not be nationally known for hosting a smokeout (the majority of whose participants came from outside the campus community, anyway).
The political speech argument was always ridiculous. Imagine if 10,000 underage drinkers marched on Norlin quad armed with frosty kegs, bottles of vodka, tequila and whiskey, even Goldschlager, Jagermeister and other syrupy, kid-stuff monstrosities to demand an end to drinking-age laws. Would you thrust a fist skyward in solidarity with such brave First Amendment martyrs. No?
Seriously, stoners, the battle’s over. Sure, the same foolish legislature whose draconian regulations of the medical marijuana industry were never enforced (though they drove many people out of business) can’t resist meddling, which may keep a black market thriving. But for those who enjoy the stuff, you can now grow your own, bake your own edibles, give it to your buds and get baked yourself in the privacy of your own home. Soon enough there will be weed stores, so visitors from Georgia and other exotic places where they git drunk regular but practically string up hippies for smokin’ can come here, be “green,” pay taxes and enjoy a true Rocky Mountain high.
But no longer can anyone claim that 4/20 has anything to do with free speech or serves any political purpose. So stay home, stoners. Get high if you must. Or go mountain biking. Gear up for Earth Day. Because at this point, smoking up Norlin is nothing more than childish — expensive — flouting of the law.