For decades, Colorado versus Nebraska was a football rivalry, and the joke around Boulder was that every time someone moved from Colorado to Nebraska, the average IQ of both states went up.

There never has been a comparative statewide intelligence test, but a proxy may have happened since weed legalization, right at the border between the two states.  

On the Colorado side, in the town of  Sedgwick, with legal weed, a business district got revitalized by a new marijuana business that brought nine new jobs to a town of 150. Every sale brought the town a $5 transaction fee.

In the Nebraska county of Deuel, with prohibition, it was a different story. The sheriffs had to work overtime busting potheads, and the town had to raise property taxes to pay for his jail, which now had triple the prisoners.

Now here's the intelligence test: what did Nebraska do? Seeing the tax money pouring into Sedgwick, and flowing out of Deuel? Did they legalize? No. The state's attorney general worked with Oklahoma to sue to the Supreme Court, saying that pot was pouring into their states uncontrollably — and this was a bad thing. They asked the court to declare Colorado's weed experiment illegal.

The Supreme Court wouldn't hear the case.

Now, years have passed. And what should have been apparent in the split between the two sides of the Nebraska-Colorado border is now clear on a world-wide scale.

In legal states — there are 33 now — crime isn't surging. Tax money pours in. There are 40,000 pot jobs in Colorado alone. Whole countries, like Canada, followed Colorado's lead. Mexican drug cartels lost up to 40 percent of their revenue. Wolves chew on our outdoor-grown marijuana plants, realize meat is murder and cuddle up to the deer. Or almost, anyway.

And, now, in Nebraska and Oklahoma, the reversal. The change. The waking up. Evidence that Nebraska's collective IQ, perhaps, isn't as low as the jokes said.
photo illustration - marijuana nebraska

Years after trying to put a stop to Colorado's experiment, Nebraskans are sticking their foot in their mouths and putting their tails between their legs and saying, "Actually, that joint smells pretty good. Can I have a puff?"

In Nebraska, last week, two lawmakers started a petition drive to put a constitutional amendment on medical marijuana on the ballot, and have built up a robust campaign.

Legalization might not succeed in Nebraska. An effort to put it on the ballot in 2018 failed.

But other states who used to think exactly the same way decided that if they couldn't beat Colorado, they would join us, too.

Oklahomans voted to legalize medical pot this summer.

[Art and illustrations from Shutterstock.]