14 Things Coloradans dislike about legal weed
Two-odd years after weed's exciting legalization in Colorado, the bright glitz of optimism has faded into dull doldrums of indifference. The things that once thrilled us now do nothing more than excite a single synaptic transmission in our cerebellums, as we struggle to get excited about the newly legal drug. And while we love legal weed and always will, we've entered into a new era of jadedness about it that's made us get over the novelty of a few key things.
1. Weed snobs
Ever since weed was legalized, we’ve all been in one of those conversations: “The mental tenacity brought on by the vaporized Maui Wowie really put me into less of a self-realization spiral than the piquant fumes of the Blueberry Kush, although both lead me into a Tzara-esque world of fascist denouncement.” The only rational response to that is a blank, glazed-over stare, but that immediately disqualifies you from the conversation.
Legalizing weed has created the sort of marijuana abundance that's led to weed snobbery, as pot becomes as nerdy as fine wine or craft beer. People are smoking with their pinkies out, full of self-aggrandizing sentiment for their artisanal weed selection and unhealthy body of knowledge around it. And while that's cool, there's only so much pretension we can take. Weed, after all, is just a humble plant that just wants to make you visualize new colors. It’s chill.
At least 18 companies offer bus tours of marijuana facilities in Colorado. There are weed hotels, weed buses, glass-blowing demos and marijuana cooking classes. As such, marijuana tourism agencies have completely sold out their tours, brimming at capacity with out-of-staters who see legal weed as something more revolutionary than a lunar landing. It's more clear than the Clear Eyes you squirt after a good toke that weed tourism is a huge deal in Colorado.
In fact, tourists made up nearly half of recreational marijuana sales in the Denver area in 2014 area — and 90 percent of recreational sales in mountain resort communities. That number was slightly lower last year, at 48 percent.
And while we love that these tourists are sinking money into Colorado's economy, they're also clusterfucking us to bits. Traffic has become insufferable, airport lines are nauseating, and people are coming from far and wide to gawk at us and our really lovely way of life. Next thing you know they'll be a marijuana theme park here and ... wait, that's brilliant.
However most importantly, weed tourists are overflowing our hospitals and ERs. According to Dr. Howard Kim of Denver Health Medical Center, the rate of ER visits possibly related to legal weed have doubled among tourists in the first year of recreational marijuana sales. In the period between 2013 and 2014 alone, the rate went from 85 over-stoned tourists per 10,000 visits in 2013 to 168 the following year.
Meanwhile, we’re over here waiting in the ER with our arm missing just so some tourist can be told it was “just a panic attack.”
3. Conflicting media reports
It seems like every other day, we come across a national news story or 10 about weed in Colorado. We're so inundated with weed reporting within the square boundaries of the state (mostly done by us, LOL) that we've forgotten how taboo weed still is in other parts of the country … and even in pockets of our own state. But since the taboo prevails for many people, a lot of conflicting media reports on zesty bud have been published and we just don’t know what to think anymore.
Legal weed has increased teen use. Legal weed has had no effect on teen use. Marijuana turns your brain to mush if you use it under the age of 25. Marijuana has no effect on developing brains. More people have been involved in fatal pot DUIs. The pot DUI rate has not increased.
Lord have mercy. Which is it, you noobs?
We get that different media outlets like to spin the same story in wildly different angles to bolster their own agendas. That’s just life. But the legalization of weed has amplified this effect enormously, making it impossible to know which information is the truth, and which is a distorted version of it. Every time you try to have an intelligent conversation about the state of weed or its pros and cons with someone, they bring up the same information you do, but with an opposite conclusion. Sigh … things were almost easier when weed wasn’t legal; there was less research available to be mutated by nefarious media interests. Maybe it's just us, but we feel like we've reached our weed journalism intake limit and it's giving us heartburn.
4. People moving here to “work with weed”
Everyone is moving to Colorado. EVERYONE. And they're all looking for marijuana industry jobs. But none of them have jobs yet. Which means the weed job market is flooded. That's a good thing for the economy and the growth of the weed sector, but that also means it's fucking impossible to get a job in the industry. As a consequence, there is an ever-increasing population of new Coloradans just kinda floating until a budtender position opens up at the weed facility of their dreams.
5. How the amazing housing market is terrible
Speaking of everyone moving here, have you noticed how it's made your rent go up like $1,000? Denver's housing market is actually the second-fastest growing in the country, second only to the astronomically San Francisco where one can expect to pay about $4,500 in a central neighborhood. In 2013, Denver rent went up an uncomfortable 9 percent. One time, just to see how desperate people were to live in Colorado, we posted fake Craigslist ads advertising terrible living situations for obscene prices. Unsurprisingly, people want to live here so badly, that they're willing to live in a house with baboons as roommates, rent a place that's currently on fire, and live in a mortician's closet.
We don't know about you, but we can't afford that shit. And since we're not trying to live in Westminster or Aurora, the only option is for the government, who's making bank on legal weed, to pay for half our rents like our moms always used to do.
6. Bye-bye warehouse spaces
At one golden hour in history, warehouse spaces were the homes of mom and pop factories and industrial ventures, as well as DIY punk art collectives who pushed Denver’s culture scene forward (lookin’ at you Rhinoceropolis). But now that one in every 11 warehouse spaces in Denver is occupied by some sort of marijuana grow facility, and that in the past five years, vacancy in the aging warehouses has declined to 2 percent from 7.9 percent (according to commercial real estate firm CBRE), mom and pop are out of business and there’s no affordable place for crust punks who’ll be famous someday to do their mind-expanding art and music and poetry and shit. Instead, warehouses are full of weed and weed people, leading to a much more homogenized, industrialized culture that’s pushed small business and creative culture to the outskirts of town, aka Aurora, aka the end of Earth.
7. Weed conventions
A bunch of people trying to get you to try their dabs and edibles in one giant room used to be kind of cool, kind of revolutionary. But ever since weed started becoming more potent than Everclear, going to those conventions is basically you saying, "I want to go somewhere where I can have a panic attack but all the exits are blocked by people who are too high on shatter to move."
8. Canceling weed conventions
Even though weed conventions can be a clusterfuck to attend … we’d still rather have them than not. Everybody’s gotta let their freak flag fly at least sometimes, and we get that it’s nice to be around a seething herd of like-minded people, sampling new product and seeing all the hottest new bong technology. We don’t mind watching the spectacle from afar as long as we’re not being stampeded, slowly, by high people on their way to the vape pen stand.
So, we’ve been kinda bummed that Colorado’s various municipal governments have been canceling large-scale weed events, or rejecting the permits that would make them happen. At last year’s Denver County Fair, the proposed “Pot Pavilion” was removed from the bill, and permits for this year’s infamous High Times Cannabis Cup were turned down, both on account of problems with public consumption regulation.
9. Problems with public consumption regulation
Speaking of weed conventions … you can’t smoke at them! Or anywhere! Unless you’re hidden from plain sight on your own private property, you’d better put that blunt down, because you’re in blatant violation of law. And don’t even think about letting that sweet smoke waft outside into your neighbor’s pretty azalea garden — you can get ticketed.
Colorado’s legal weed regulations around public consumption make no sense. Sure, you can buy it in public. You can possess it in public. You can fondle the living shit out of it in your pocket while nervously scampering off to a private underground missile silo where it's safe to smoke ... you just can't consume it. Does the irony not just singe the micro-hairs off your skin?
For a state that's worked so hard to legalize marijuana and to both maintain and regulate that legality, this is kind of dumb. Smoking weed shouldn't be a public free-for-all (thought that would be nice), but Coloradans should be allowed at least some degree of freedom when it comes to public consumption. Otherwise, it's not truly a legal substance.
Good thing the Denver Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Denver NORML) has recognized this and is putting up a fight. It's currently in the process of filing an initiative to put a limited social use of marijuana bill on the ballot in Denver in November 2016. Thing is … it’s not November yet.
10. So called “weed girls”
We get it. Girls smoking weed are hot. Girls not currently smoking weed are also hot. Girls are just hot. Moving on.
11. Redman and Method Man
What's that you say? Redman and Method Man are coming to Denver for the 41st time this year? Sound the alarms and call the press! We get it. They were in "How High." They smoke weed.
Nothing against the rappers; we love them as much as the next guy, but we've been going to Red Rocks, and every other concert venue for that matter, to smoke weed in public at a show since the day we learned what weed was. Going to a Method Man or Redman show where everyone is smoking and they're smoking and the red rocks themselves are smoking ... it just doesn't delight like it used to.
12. How every celebrity has a line of weed products
Yes, legal weed is a profitable business. Yes, celebrities are cool and can sell things with the force of their coolness. But with all these celebrities dropping their own weed lines, it’s leading to a shitty, rich-get-richer scenario in which people who don’t even live here are profiting off our state’s progressive legislation. Honestly, we’d rather buy from a local store and support local jobs and economies as opposed to giving Snoop Dogg more money than he already has.
Don’t get us wrong, that Snoop Dogg signature Leafs by Snoop kush is delightful, but only when we don’t have to pick between it, Rihanna’s MaRihanna, Bob Marley’s family’s weed, Willie’s Reserve and Ghostface Killah’s Wu-Goo.
13. Driving in other states with a Colorado plate
If you've ever been frisked by a gaggle of cops and their little dogs too for having Colorado plates, you know what we mean.
14. Taxes make it the most expensive thing we buy
If you hate having money (and don’t we all) legal weed is for you. But unfortunately for most of us, we can’t always afford the scatalogically high price of recreational grass.
Tacked on to every retail weed sale is a nice, fat 2.9 percent retail and medical marijuana sales tax, a 10 percent retail marijuana special sales tax, and a 15 percent marijuana excise tax. Add that to the average recreational sales prices, which Forbes, estimates as $30-25 for an eighth or around $300 for an ounce, and you’re eating ramen until payday.
Thankfully, overcapacity is starting to drive down dispensary prices, but still, given the abundance of legal weed, no one in their right minds should have to drop a Red Lobster dinner’s worth on an eighth … or turn to the black market when we should be able to afford the legal stuff.
*A portion of this article was previously published on TheRooster.com ... but we updated it, so there.