Look at a map of where weed is legal in this country. It's mostly out West.
On the report card for Americans for Safe Access, a pro-med-weed group, only two states in the Mountain and Pacific time zones got F's — Utah and Wyoming. Meanwhile, the Central and Eastern zones are swimming in F's.
Even when you read stories about the legalization processes going on back East, it's full of headaches and restrictions. Places like Florida and New York are only issuing a dozen of so licenses per state, and only to very rich and well-lawyered companies.
There's a simple reason for this: the West is young and cool, while the East Coast is old, crabby and crotchety.
"On the east coast there are 400 years worth of regulations, cronyism, and established rule-making procedures that ensure those in power remain in power," Jane West, one of the most widely-recognized women in the cannabis industry and maker of a line of bongs and one-hitters, said in an email.
Full of old people who love banging their heads against ancient rules like moths running into porch lights, Easterners love established hierarchies of power and money.
"On the East Coast they are issuing monopoly control over the industry to those who can write the biggest checks and have the most lawyers," West emailed.
Jane's real name is Amy, but she named herself Jane West because she wanted to embody the Western pioneer spirit. And also because, at the beginning of the cannabis revolution, she was trying to avoid getting fired from her main job working for an unnamed corporate event planning company based … guess where … on the East Coast. She did eventually get fired anyway, after vaping on national television.
In the healthier left side of the country, "Colorado was able to create a more accessible, open market and have stakeholders arrive at a reasonable consensus on how to enact new legislation efficiently and effectively (reflected in Amendment 64) because we are a new state, founded in 1876," West said.
We just don't have baggage.
This has allowed us to open more shops and thereby smoke more weed and open our minds even further. Soon, some western locality, probably Denver or Oregon, will legalize shrooms, and thereby pry our minds even wider, perhaps so wide our brains will slide out onto the floor. But so what? We'd rather have opened-up floor brains than East Coast uncrackable tightass oyster brains.
"In prohibition states, legalizers should be fighting for the replication of Amendment 64, the longest standing, widest reaching regulatory system that created a small business revolution in Colorado," West said.
This last part might be hyperbolic, but, listen:
In 1776, America broke away from Britain because the King's rules didn't make sense and broke our human rights.
In the 1800s, Britain caught up to America in terms of human rights and democracy.
In 1996, California broke away from Washington, D.C., on medical weed, because the old rules didn't make sense and took away our human rights.
Today, Washington, D.C. and the rest of the East Coast may be catching up to the West in terms of weed rights.
But, damn, are they moving slow.